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Bassmaster Elite Series Field Set For 2018


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