B.A.S.S. today announced the field for the 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series will be 102 anglers, its largest roster since 2008.
Twenty-five states will be represented and the group includes 11 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Anglers of the Year (21 total titles), 11 Bassmaster Classic champions (17 Classic wins) and more than 200 B.A.S.S. tournament victories.
“We’re excited about the lineup for the upcoming season,” said Bruce Akin, CEO of B.A.S.S. “The Elite Series represents the highest level of competition our sport has to offer, and nowhere is that more evident than in the field of anglers who will be competing next year. They tell our members and fans that ‘Elite’ is not just a name – it’s a level of performance and of commitment.”
Of the 25 states represented, Alabama leads the way with 16 anglers, followed by 13 from Texas and 12 from Oklahoma, site of the 2013 Bassmaster Classic on Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees out of Tulsa on Feb. 22-24.
Nine rookies who qualified through the Bassmaster Opens will grace the 2013 Elite Series roster: Hank Cherry of North Carolina; Chad Pipkens of Michigan; Jason Christie, James Elam and Chip Porche of Oklahoma; Kevin Hawk and Kelley Jaye of Alabama: and Josh Bertrand and Clifford Pirch of Arizona.
Also returning to the Elites next season are Kurt Dove (Texas), Byron Haseotes (Massachusetts) and Dennis Tietje (Louisiana). Dove, who last participated in 2008, requalified through the Opens, while Haseotes and Tietje are returning from hardship exemptions.
Nine anglers who competed in 2012 won’t be back in 2013. They are: Denny Brauer, Terry Butcher, Kyle Fox, Chad Griffin, Pat Golden, Travis Manson, Mark Menendez, Russell Parrish and Dustin Wilks.
Brauer retired following the 2012 season, while Butcher, Griffin and Golden opted out for family reasons. Menendez is taking a medical hardship exemption to care for his wife, who is ill. Parrish is opting to fish the FLW Tour. Fox was suspended for the 2013 Elite Series season after an incident at the Lake Michigan event this past season.
Wilks confirmed to BassFan he is out and will provide additional information shortly. Manson could not be reached for comment.
The eight-tournament schedule gets underway at the Sabine River in Orange, Texas, on March 14-17, 2013.
Here are the 2013 Elite Series anglers (italics denotes 2013 rookie):
> Casey Ashley – Donalds, S.C.
> Scott Ashmore – Broken Arrow, Okla.
> Josh Bertrand – Gilbert, Ariz.
> Tommy Biffle – Wagoner, Okla.
> Brent Broderick – Oregonia, Ohio
> Stephen Browning – Hot Springs, Ark.
> Brandon Card – Knoxville, Tenn.
> Brent Chapman – Lake Quivira, Kan.
> Hank Cherry – Maiden, N.C.
> Jason Christie – Park Hill, Okla.
> Rick Clunn – Ava, Mo.
> Keith Combs – Huntington, Texas
> John Crews – Salem, Va.
> Cliff Crochet – Pierre Part, La.
> Mark Davis – Mount Ida, Ark.
> Ott DeFoe – Knoxville, Tenn.
> Kurt Dove – Del Rio, Texas
> Boyd Duckett – Demopolis, Ala.
> James Elam – Tulsa, Okla.
> Paul Elias – Laurel, Miss.
> Edwin Evers – Talala, Okla.
> Todd Faircloth – Jasper, Texas
> Jami Fralick – Martin, S.D.
> Grant Goldbeck – Boerne, Texas
> Matt Greenblatt – Port St. Lucie, Fla.
> Shaw Grigsby – Gainesville, Fla.
> Greg Hackney – Gonzales, La.
> Charlie Hartley – Grove City, Ohio
> BJ Haseotes – Centerville, Mass.
> Kevin Hawk – Guntersville, Ala.
> Matt Herren – Trussville, Ala.
> Kenyon Hill – Norman, Okla.
> Davy Hite – Ninety Six, S.C.
> Jamie Horton – Centreville, Ala.
> Timmy Horton – Muscle Shoals, Ala.
> Randy Howell – Springville, Ala.
> Michael Iaconelli – Pittsgrove, N.J.
> Kelley Jaye – Dadeville, Ala.
> Alton Jones – Lorena, Texas
> Kelly Jordon – Palestine, Texas
> Steve Kennedy – Auburn, Ala.
> Kotaro Kiriyama – Moody, Ala.
> Gary Klein – Weatherford, Texas
> Jeff Kriet – Ardmore, Okla.
> Bobby Lane – Lakeland, Fla.
> Chris Lane – Guntersville, Ala.
> Russ Lane – Prattville, Ala.
> Kevin Ledoux – Choctaw, Okla.
> Jared Lintner – Arroyo Grande, Calif.
> Bill Lowen – Brookville, Ind.
> Aaron Martens – Leeds, Ala.
> Billy McCaghren – Mayflower, Ark.
> Mike McClelland – Bella Vista, Ark.
> Jared Miller – Norman, Okla.
> Yusuke Miyazaki – Forney, Texas
> Ish Monroe – Hughson, Calif.
> Andy Montgomery – Blacksburg, S.C.
> Rick Morris – Virginia Beach, Va.
> John Murray – Phoenix, Ariz.
> Britt Myers – Lake Wylie, S.C.
> James Niggemeyer – Van, Texas
> Takahiro Omori – Emory, Texas
> Cliff Pace – Petal, Miss.
> Brandon Palaniuk – Rathdrum, Idaho
> Chad Pipkens – Holt, Mich.
> Clifford Pirch – Payson, Ariz.
> Keith Poche – Pike Road, Ala.
> Pete Ponds – Madison, Miss.
> Chip Porche – Bixby, Okla.
> Cliff Prince – Palatka, Fla.
> Jason Quinn – Lake Wylie, S.C.
> Matt Reed – Madisonville, Texas
> Clark Reehm – Shreveport, La.
> Skeet Reese – Auburn, Calif.
> Derek Remitz – Grant, Ala.
> Marty Robinson – Lyman, S.C.
> Dean Rojas – Lake Havasu City, Ariz.
> Scott Rook – Little Rock, Ariz.
> Fred Roumbanis – Bixby, Okla.
> Zell Rowland – Montgomery, Texas
> Bradley Roy – Lancaster, Ky.
> Casey Scanlon – Lenexa, Kan.
> Bernie Schultz – Gainesville, Fla.
> Terry Scroggins – San Mateo, Fla.
> Morizo Shimizu – Osaka, Japan
> Kevin Short – Mayflower, Ark.
> Fletcher Shryock – Newcomerstown, Ohio
> Michael Simonton – Fremont, Ohio
> David Smith – Del City, Okla.
> Brian Snowden – Reeds Spring, Mo.
> Jeremy Starks – Scott Depot, W.V.
> Gerald Swindle – Warrior, Ala.
> Dennis Tietje – Roanoke, La.
> J Todd Tucker – Moultrie, Ga.
> Jonathon VanDam – Kalamazoo, Mich.
> Kevin VanDam – Kalamazoo, Mich.
> Byron Velvick – Boerne, Texas
> Greg Vinson – Wetumpka, Ala.
> David Walker – Sevierville, Tenn.
> Nate Wellman – Newaygo, Mich.
> Jason Williamson – Aiken, S.C.
> Chris Zaldain – San Jose, Calif.