Bassmaster Elite Series Field Set For 2018 - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Bassmaster Elite Series Field Set For 2018

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A star-studded field of 111 professional bass anglers — including a mix of rookies, legends and veterans from other tournament circuits — will make up the 2018 Bassmaster Elite Series field when competition gets underway on Lake Martin, Alabama, in February.
 
The lineup includes 99 anglers who competed in the Elite Series this year. They will be joined by 11 first-time Elite qualifiers and one Elite veteran, Rick Morris of Lake Gaston, Va., who is returning to the prestigious pro circuit after a three-year hiatus.
 
“The Elite field is getting stronger every year,” noted B.A.S.S. Tournament Director Trip Weldon. “Some of the anglers who achieved Elite status in the last few years — including Bassmaster Classic champion Jordan Lee — are already proving they belong in the top tier of this sport. I expect some of the pros qualifying from the Bassmaster Opens will become forces to be reckoned with right away, too.”
 
Weldon said that only three of the 15 qualifiers from the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens declined invitations to compete in the Elite Series.
 
Among those climbing in from the Opens is Hunter Shryock, brother of veteran Elite pro Fletcher Shryock, and at least two standouts from the FLW Tour. Shin Fukae and Wesley Strader have each won about $1.5 million in long careers with FLW. Because of their previous winnings, Fukae and Strader will not be eligible for Bassmaster Rookie of the Year honors next year.
 
Heading the list of anglers requalifying for the 11-event circuit are Brandon Palaniuk of Hayden, Idaho, the reigning Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year, and seven-time AOY winner Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich.
 
Also returning are 17 former Classic winners, including Lee. Three of those, Rick Clunn of Ava, Mo.; David Fritts of Lexington, N.C.; and Paul Elias of Laurel, Miss., narrowly missed requalifying this year but were given special “Legends” exemptions available to past Classic champions and AOY winners.
 
Requalifying through the Elites is based on Angler of the Year points earned the previous season. Newcomers also get a one-year grace period that guarantees them a second season. Should Opens anglers or others decline invitations, those spots are filled from a list based on average rankings in Angler of the Year points over the anglers’ careers.
 
Another nine Elite Series anglers failed to requalify this year and will have to climb back in through the Bassmaster Opens, said Weldon, who noted that they were offered priority entry into the 2018 Opens.
 
After the kickoff Elite tournament in February, the anglers will break for the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods on Lake Hartwell, South Carolina, March 16-18. Eight more regular-season Elites will be held between April and August. As in 2017, the Elite postseason will include the $1 million Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship (to be held next year on Lake Chatuge, Georgia, Sept. 20-23) and the wildly popular, live-streamed Bassmaster Classic Bracket Fish-Off (Oct. 23-26 on Carters Lake, Georgia).

2018 Bassmaster Elite Series Field

Name

Hometown/State

Qualification Route

 Rookie/Newcomer/Elite veteran

Casey Ashley

Donalds, S.C.

Elite Series

Adrian Avena

Vineland, N.J.

Elite Series

Drew Benton

Panama City, Fla.

Elite Series

Josh Bertrand

San Tan Valley, Ariz.

Elite Series

Tommy Biffle

Wagoner, Okla.

Elite Series

Stetson Blaylock

Benton, Ark.

Elite Series

Stephen Browning

Hot Springs, Ark.

Elite Series

Brandon Card

Knoxville, Tenn.

Elite Series

Tyler Carriere

Youngsville, La.

Elite Series

Brent Chapman

Lake Quivira, Kan.

Elite Series

Hank Cherry Jr.

Lincolnton, N.C.

Elite Series

Jason Christie

Park Hill, Okla.

Elite Series

Luke Clausen

Otis Orchards, Wash.

Elite Series

Rick Clunn

Ava, Mo.

Legend

Keith Combs

Huntington, Texas

Elite Series

Dustin Connell

Clanton, Ala.

Elite Series

Brandon Coulter

Knoxville, Tenn.

Elite Series

John Crews Jr.

Salem, Va.

Elite Series

Cliff Crochet

Pierre Part, La.

Elite Series

Mark Daniels Jr.

Tuskegee, Ala.

Elite Series

Mark Davis

Mount Ida, Ark.

Elite Series

Ott DeFoe

Knoxville, Tenn.

Elite Series

Boyd Duckett

Guntersville, Ala.

Elite Series

Brent Ehrler

Redlands, Calif.

Elite Series

James Elam

Tulsa, Okla.

Elite Series

Paul Elias

Laurel, Miss.

Legend

Edwin Evers

Talala, Okla.

Elite Series

Todd Faircloth

Jasper, Texas

Elite Series

Seth Feider

Bloomington, Minn.

Elite Series

Micah Frazier

Newnan, Ga.

Elite Series

David Fritts

Lexington, N.C.

Legend

Shin Fukae

Palestine, Texas

Southern Opens

Newcomer

Shaw Grigsby Jr.

Gainesville, Fla.

Elite Series

Chris Groh

Spring Grove, Ill.

Northern Opens

Rookie

Greg Hackney

Gonzales, La.

Elite Series

Skylar Hamilton

Dandridge, Tenn.

Elite Series

Ray Hanselman Jr.

Del Rio, Texas

Central Opens

Rookie

Jamie Hartman

Newport, N.Y.

Elite Series

Roy Hawk

Lake Havasu, Ariz.

Central Opens

Rookie

Matt Herren

Ashville, Ala.

Elite Series

Brett Hite

Phoenix, Ariz.

Elite Series

Timmy Horton

Muscle Shoals, Ala.

Elite Series

Randy Howell

Guntersville, Ala.

Elite Series

Michael Iaconelli

Pittsgrove, N.J.

Elite Series

Kelley Jaye

Dadeville, Ala.

Elite Series

Alton Jones Jr.

Lorena, Texas

Elite Series

Alton Jones

Lorena, Texas

Elite Series

Kelly Jordon

Flint, Texas

Elite Series

Steve Kennedy

Auburn, Ala.

Elite Series

Gary Klein

Mingus, Texas

Elite Series

Jeff Kriet

Ardmore, Okla.

Elite Series

Chris Lane

Guntersville, Ala.

Elite Series

Bobby Lane

Lakeland, Fla.

Elite Series

Russ Lane

Prattville, Ala.

Elite Series

Robbie Latuso

Gonzales, La.

Elite Series

Jordan Lee

Guntersville, Ala.

Elite Series

Matt Lee

Guntersville, Ala.

Elite Series

Dave Lefebre

Erie, Pa.

Elite Series

Brandon Lester

Fayetteville, Tenn.

Elite Series

Jared Lintner

Arroyo Grande, Calif.

Elite Series

Bill Lowen

Brookeville, Ind.

Elite Series

Justin Lucas

Guntersville, Ala.

Elite Series

Aaron Martens

Leeds, Ala.

Elite Series

Mike McClelland

Bella Vista, Ark.

Elite Series

Mark Menendez

Paducah, Ky.

Elite Series

Ish Monroe

Hughson, Calif.

Elite Series

Andy Montgomery

Blacksburg, S.C.

Elite Series

Kyle Monti

Okeechobee, Fla.

Southern Opens

Rookie

Rick Morris

Lake Gaston, Va.

Southern Opens

Elite veteran

Brock Mosley

Collinsville, Miss.

Elite Series

Paul Mueller

Naugatuck, Conn.

Elite Series

David Mullins

Mt. Carmel, Tenn.

Elite Series

John Murray

Spring City, Tenn.

Elite Series

Darrell Ocamica

New Plymouth, Idaho

Elite Series

Takahiro Omori

Emory, Texas

Elite Series

Cliff Pace

Petal, Miss.

Elite Series

Brandon Palaniuk

Hayden, Idaho

Elite Series

Chad Pipkens

Lansing, Mich.

Northern Opens

Elite veteran

Clifford Pirch

Payson, Ariz.

Elite Series

Keith Poche

Pike Road, Ala.

Elite Series

Jacob Powroznik

N. Prince George, Va.

Elite Series

Cliff Prince

Palatka, Fla.

Elite Series

Skeet Reese

Auburn, Calif.

Elite Series

Marty Robinson

Lyman, S.C.

Elite Series

Dean Rojas

Lake Havasu City, Ariz.

Elite Series

Scott Rook

Little Rock, Ark.

Elite Series

Fred Roumbanis

Russellville, Ark.

Elite Series

Bradley Roy

Lancaster, Ky.

Elite Series

Bernie Schultz

Gainesville, Fla.

Elite Series

Terry Scroggins

San Mateo, Fla.

Elite Series

Morizo Shimizu

Osaka, Japan

Elite Series

Fletcher Shryock

Dennison, Ohio

Elite Series

Hunter Shryock

Newcomerstown, Ohio

Southern Opens

Rookie

Brian Snowden

Reeds Spring, Mo.

Elite Series

Gerald Spohrer

Gonzales, La.

Elite Series

Wesley Strader

Spring City, Tenn.

Northern Opens

Newcomer

Randy Sullivan

Breckenridge, Texas

Central Opens

Rookie

Caleb Sumrall

New Iberia, La.

B.A.S.S. Nation

Rookie

Gerald Swindle

Guntersville, Ala.

Elite Series

Jesse Tacoronte

Orlando, Fla.

Elite Series

Randall Tharp

Port St. Joe, Fla.

Elite Series

Jonathon VanDam

Kalamazoo, Mich.

Elite Series

Kevin VanDam

Kalamazoo, Mich.

Elite Series

Greg Vinson

Wetumpka, Ala.

Elite Series

David Walker

Sevierville, Tenn.

Elite Series

Bill Weidler

Helena, Ala.

Southern Opens

Rookie

Jacob Wheeler

Harrison, Tenn.

Elite Series

Jake Whitaker

Fairview, N.C.

Northern Opens

Rookie

Jesse Wiggins

Cullman, Ala.

Elite Series

Jason Williamson

Wagener, S.C.

Elite Series

Chris Zaldain

Laughlin, Nev.

Elite Series

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