Fishing & Boating News

Bassmaster Elite Series Field Set For 2018

by: JamieDay Matthews,

(Dec 20, 2017 - )

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
 

2017 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2017 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Berkley, Huk, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Shell Rotella, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha

2017 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Academy Sports + Outdoors, Advance Auto Parts, Carhartt, Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Phoenix Boats, Shimano, T-H Marine

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines, Bassmaster website, television show (The Bassmasters), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.
 
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation presented by Magellan Outdoors, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Costa Bassmaster High School Series presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.