Bassmaster Elite Series field set for 2018

Category: press release

 Dec 12th, 2017 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Dec 12th, 2017 at 12:00 AM

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

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