By John Johnson
BassFan Senior Editor

Two of Major League Fishing's angler/owners were among five competitors cut from the Bass Pro Tour roster as the organization announced the 2023 BPT field on Wednesday.

Veterans Shaw Grigsby and Mike McClelland, two of the dozen anglers who invested financially in MLF's launch about a decade ago, were among the relegations, along with Paul Elias, Clabion Johns and Jason Lambert.

Grigsby said he'll compete in the MLF Invitationals (the replacement for the disbanded Pro Circuit) next year. McClelland said he hasn't determined his '23 plans and opted not to comment.

"I had an extremely bad year and got booted out," Grigsby said. "Now it's time to go on to the next deal."

Matt Becker, Josh Butler, Mitch Crane, John Hunter, Nick LeBrun, Spencer Shuffield and Jacob Wall qualified for the 2023 BPT by virtue of Top-10 finishes on the Pro Circuit points list. Two-time Pro Circuit Angler of the Year Michael Neal, runner-up Justin Lucas and 9th-place finisher Dakota Ebare were already BPT competitors in good standing, which allowed three lower-finishing anglers from the '22 roster to retain their spots.

Bobby Lane, the reigning REDCREST champion, and Ish Monroe have left the BPT voluntarily and will compete in next year's Bassmaster Opens in an attempt to return to the Elite Series. Keith Poche qualified for next year's Elite Series by winning this year's Opens AOY title and has announced he'll fish both circuits.



MLF/Josh Gassmann
Photo: MLF/Josh Gassmann

Mike McClelland ended up 79th on this year's Bass Pro Tour points list.

Anglers who finish among the Top 65 of the previous season's BPT standings are safe for the following year. Those in the 66th through 70th positions are evaluated for the remaining spots using either last year's results or a career rolling average – whichever is more beneficial for them.

Grigsby ended up 77th on this year's points list and McClelland was 79th. Johns was 70th, Elias 71st and Lambert 80th.

Here's a look at the 2023 BPT roster:

· Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C.

· Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J.

· *Matt Becker, Finleyville, Pa.

· Josh Bertrand, Queen Creek, Ariz.

· Tommy Biffle, Wagoner, Okla.

· Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla.

· Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark.

· *Josh Butler, Hayden, Ala.

· Brent Chapman, Lake Quivira, Kan.

· Luke Clausen, Spokane, Wash.

· Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala.

· Brandon Coulter, Knoxville, Tenn.

· *Mitch Crane, Columbus, Miss.

· Cliff Crochet, Pierre Part, La.

· Mark Daniels, Jr., Tuskegee, Ala.

· Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark.

· Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn.

· Boyd Duckett, Guntersville, Ala.

· David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va.

· Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas

· Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif.

· James Elam, Tulsa, Okla.

· Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla.

· Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas

· Cole Floyd, Leesburg, Ohio

· Shinichi Fukae, Osaka, Japan

· Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C.

· Roy Hawk, Lake Havasu City, Ariz.

· Dylan Hays, Hot Springs, Ark.

· Brett Hite, Phoenix, Ariz.

· Timmy Horton, Muscle Shoals, Ala.

· Randy Howell, Guntersville, Ala.

· *John Hunter, Shelbyville, Ky.

· Alton Jones, Lorena, Texas

· Alton Jones, Jr., Waco, Texas

· Kelly Jordon, Flint, Texas

· Gary Klein, Mingus, Texas

· Jeff Kriet, Ardmore, Okla.

· Chris Lane, Guntersville, Fla.

· Russ Lane, Prattville, Ala.

· Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo.

· *Nick LeBrun, Bossier City, La.

· Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala.

· Matt Lee, Cullman, Ala.

· Dave Lefebre, Erie, Pa.

· Jared Lintner, Arroyo Grande, Calif.

· Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala.

· Cody Meyer, Star, Idaho

· Andy Montgomery, Blacksburg, S.C.

· Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn.

· John Murray, Spring City, Tenn.

· Britt Myers, Lake Wylie, S.C.

· Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn.

· Takahiro Omori, Tokyo, Japan

· Cliff Pace, Petal, Miss.

· Keith Poche, Pike Road, Ala.

· Skeet Reese, Auburn, Calif.

· Marty Robinson, Lyman, S.C.

· Dean Rojas, Lake Havasu City, Ariz.

· Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark.

· Fred Roumbanis, Russellville, Ark.

· Bradley Roy, Lancaster, Ky.

· Ryan Salzman, Huntsville, Ala.

· Terry Scroggins, San Mateo, Fla.

· Fletcher Shryock, Guntersville, Ala.

· *Spencer Shuffield, Hot Springs, Ark.

· Gerald Spohrer, Gonzales, La.

· Jeff Sprague, Wills Point, Texas

· Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn.

· Scott Suggs, Alexander, Ark.

· Randall Tharp, Port St. Joe, Fla.

· Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C.

· Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich.

· Jonathan VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich.

· Greg Vinson, Wetumpka, Ala.

· David Walker, Sevierville, Tenn.

· *Jacob Wall, New Hope, Ala.

· James Watson, Lampe, Mo.

· Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn.

· Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala.

* Denotes 2023 Bass Pro Tour Rookie