By B.A.S.S. Communications Staff
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — After a record-breaking 2022 Elite Series season that awarded eight Century Belts, crowned four first-time champions and garnered over 18.5 million views on FOX and the FOX Sports channels, B.A.S.S. announced the new expanded field for the 2023 Elite Series.
Next year, 104 anglers will compete for an Elite Series purse of over $6.9 million. Joining the ranks are 12 qualifiers from the Bassmaster Opens, the B.A.S.S. Nation champion and legendary Bassmaster Classic champion and two-time Angler of the Year Larry Nixon.
“I can’t wait for the 2023 season to start and think the schedule sets up really well for big catches, big drama and big excitement,” said Elite Series Tournament Director Lisa Talmadge. “The Elite Series field is absolutely stacked, and fans are going to love following their favorite anglers as well as meeting this talented crop of rookies. And the new guys in the field have such broad appeal to those who love bass fishing, from a true icon of the sport in former Classic and AOY champion Larry Nixon to Cole Sands, who won a College Series National Championship just two years ago.”
With the exception of four anglers who retired, the entire 2022 Elite roster is returning next year. This list of returning anglers includes 2022 Bassmaster Classic champion Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., who also claimed a blue trophy on Chickamauga Lake last season. Idaho pro Brandon Palaniuk took Bassmaster Angler of the Year honors – his second time to earn the coveted title – while Jay Przekurat of Stevens Point, Wis., earned a Century Belt with all smallmouth – a feat never before accomplished – to claim a victory on the St. Lawrence River en route to winning Rookie of the Year.
They will be joined by an accomplished rookie class that includes two international anglers – Kyoya Fujita of Japan and Cooper Gallant of Canada – who earned their spots via the Northern and Southern Opens, respectively. Also earning a spot in the Elites via the Northern Opens is Alex Wetherell of Middletown, Conn., who won the 2010 Junior Bassmaster World Championship. Bryant Smith of Roseville, Calif., and Joey Cifuentes III of Clinton, Ark., both qualified through the Southern Opens. Kyle Norsetter of Cottage Grove, Wis., and Logan Latuso of Gonzales, La., who has twice been one spot away from realizing his Elite dream, secured their berths via the Central Opens. David Gaston of Sylacauga, Ala., Sands of Calhoun, Tenn., and two-time NPFL tour winner John Soukup of Sapulpa, Okla., qualified via the overall points standings.
Will Davis Jr. of Sylacauga, Ala., won last week’s B.A.S.S. Nation Championship on Pickwick Lake and has also been extended an Elite Series invitation. Part of his “Nation’s Best” prize package includes the use of a fully rigged boat and $16,000 toward his entry fees.
Along with Nixon, who is joining the field via a Legends exemption, there are also two former Elite Series anglers who requalified for the tour through the Opens Series points standings.
Keith Poche of Pike Road, Ala., won the Bassmaster Opens Angler of the Year title to earn his invitation to rejoin the Elites. He’ll be joined by Central Opens points standings winner Bradley Hallman of Edmond, Okla., who found success with FLW after leaving the Elite Series in 2011.
The 2023 Elite Series season kicks off on Florida’s Lake Okeechobee Feb. 16. From there the tournament trail will wind through seven states as anglers battle for cash and prizes and attempt to qualify for the 2024 Bassmaster Classic.
Each tournament will begin with the full field of anglers on Days 1 and 2 before the field is cut to 50 for the semifinal round on Day 3. Only the Top 10 remaining anglers will fish the final day of each event with a $100,000 first-place prize on the line.
2023 Bassmaster Elite Series Field
Matt Arey, Shelby, N.C.
Justin Atkins, Florence, Ala.
Todd Auten, Lake Wylie, S.C.
Drew Benton, Blakely, Ga.
Stetson Blaylock, Benton, Ark.
Scott Canterbury, Odenville, Ala.
Brandon Card, Salisbury, N.C.
Hank Cherry, Lincolnton, N.C.
Jason Christie, Park Hill, Okla.
Joey Cifuentes III, Clinton, Ark.
Gary Clouse, Winchester, Tenn.
Rick Clunn, Ava, Mo.
Brandon Cobb, Greenwood, S.C.
Keith Combs, Huntington, Texas
Drew Cook, Cairo, Ga.
John Cox, DeBary, Fla.
John Crews, Salem, Va.
Clent Davis, Montevallo, Ala.
Will Davis Jr., Sylacauga, Ala.
Greg DiPalma, Millville, N.J.
Josh Douglas, Isle, Minn.
Bob Downey, Detroit Lakes, Minn.
Seth Feider, New Market, Minn.
Austin Felix, Eden Prairie, Minn.
Jacob Foutz, Charleston, Tenn.
Marc Frazier, Newnan, Ga.
Micah Frazier, Newnan, Ga.
David Fritts, Lexington, N.C.
Kyoya Fujita, Minamitsuru, Yamanashi, Japan
Cooper Gallant, Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
David Gaston, Sylacauga, Ala.
Darold Gleason, Many, La.
Buddy Gross, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Jeff Gustafson, Keewatin, Ontario, Canada
Greg Hackney, Gonzales, La.
Bradley Hallman, Edmond, Okla.
Skylar Hamilton, Dandridge, Tenn.
Justin Hamner, Northport, Ala.
Ray Hanselman, Del Rio, Texas
Jamie Hartman, Newport, N.Y.
Matt Herren, Ashville, Ala.
Derek Hudnall, Zachary, La.
Cody Huff, Ava, Mo.
Mike Huff, Corbin, Ky.
Mike Iaconelli, Pittsgrove, N.J.
Taku Ito, Chiba, Japan
Carl Jocumsen, Toowoomba, Australia
Chris Johnston, Otonabee, Ontario, Canada
Cory Johnston, Cavan, Ontario, Canada
Jonathan Kelley, Old Forge, Pa.
Steve Kennedy, Auburn, Ala.
Kenta Kimura, Hirakata, Osaka, Japan
Koby Kreiger, Alva, Fla.
Caleb Kuphall, Mukwonago, Wis.
Logan Latuso, Gonzales, La.
Shane LeHew, Catawba, N.C.
Brandon Lester, Fayetteville, Tenn.
Lee Livesay, Longview, Texas
Wes Logan, Springville, Ala.
Ed Loughran III, Richmond, Va.
Bill Lowen, Brookville, Ind.
Scott Martin, Clewiston, Fla.
Masayuki Matsushita, Tokoname-Shi, Japan
Mark Menendez, Paducah, Ky.
Brock Mosley, Collinsville, Miss.
Paul Mueller, Naugatuck, Conn.
David Mullins, Mt. Carmel, Tenn.
Bryan New, Saluda, S.C.
Larry Nixon, Quitman, Ark.
Kyle Norsetter, Cottage Grove, Wis.
Brandon Palaniuk, Rathdrum, Idaho
Luke Palmer, Coalgate, Okla.
Chad Pipkens, DeWitt, Mich.
Clifford Pirch, Payson, Ariz.
Keith Poche, Pike Road, Ala.
Jacob Powroznik, North Prince George, Va.
Cliff Prince, Palatka, Fla.
Jay Przekurat, Stevens Point, Wis.
KJ Queen, Catawba, N.C.
Alex Redwine, Blue Ash, Ohio
Tyler Rivet, Raceland, La.
Matt Robertson, Kuttawa, Ky.
Cole Sands, Calhoun, Tenn.
Pat Schlapper, Eleva, Wis.
Bryan Schmitt, Deale, Md.
Bernie Schultz, Gainesville, Fla.
Hunter Shryock, Ooltewah, Tenn.
Bryant Smith, Roseville, Calif.
John Soukup, Sapulpa, Okla.
Josh Stracner, Vandiver, Ala.
Caleb Sumrall, New Iberia, La.
Gerald Swindle, Guntersville, Ala.
Frank Talley, Temple, Texas
Patrick Walters, Summerville, S.C.
Joseph Webster, Hamilton, Ala.
Kyle Welcher, Opelika, Ala.
Clark Wendlandt, Leander, Texas
Alex Wetherell, Middletown, Conn.
Brad Whatley, Bivins, Texas
Jake Whitaker, Hendersonville, N.C.
David Williams, Newton, N.C.
Jason Williamson, Aiken, S.C.
Matty Wong, Honolulu, Hawaii
Chris Zaldain, Fort Worth, Texas