With the Professional Anglers Association Angler of the Year race over, Toyota Texas Bass Classic tournament officials are proud to release the final field. The final group of qualifiers comes from the 2012 Bass Pro Shops PAA Tournament Series Presented by Carrot Stix Angler of the Year race, along with four sponsor exemptions. Notable contenders include Angler of the Year Gary Clouse and 2010 TTTBC champion Brian Snowden. The Toyota Texas Bass Classic will take place Sept. 28-30 at the Lone Star Convention & Expo in Conroe.
“We have a strong mix of former champions, fishing legends and up-and-comers,” tournament director Lenny Francoeur said. “It’s going to be a very exciting world championship. In addition, we’re providing fans with a weekend full of free family entertainment, and it’ll be a great time.”
PAA Angler of the Year Gary Clouse competed in all four tournaments in the Bass Pro Shops Tournament Series this year, with his best finish at the PAA Tour Team Challenge at Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Fla., coming in second place. Brian Snowden, the 2010 TTBC Champion, is looking for his first victory of the season, with his highest finish of the year seventh at the PAA Tour Team Challenge.
Toyota angler Mike Iaconelli declined the sponsor exemption, with his wife due to give birth soon. Takahiro Omori will take his place. The other sponsor exemptions are Gerald Swindle, Kelly Jordon and Rick Clunn. Clunn grew up in Texas and spent a large amount of time around Lake Conroe, also serving as a guide on Lake Conroe. He is a Legends member of the PAA and has won four Bassmaster Classic titles throughout his storied career.
Swindle, a Toyota angler; Omori and Jordon are TTBC veterans. Omori, who has competed at every Toyota Texas Bass Classic, saw his best finish in 2010, when he finished third. Toyota Pro Team member, Swindle finished tied for 21st last year and 25th in 2010. In 2008, Jordon’s team won the TTBC, and he finished ninth in 2009.
Other field updates: Jay Yelas, the 2002 and 2007 FLW Angler of the Year, 2003 Bassmaster Angler of the Year and 2002 Bassmaster Classic champion will replace Andy Morgan. Brandon Card, the 2012 Bassmaster Elite Series Rookie of the Year, will replace Dean Rojas. In his rookie season, Card finished 22nd in the Angler of the Year Race and bested the next rookie by 20 points.
Steve Kennedy, Mark Rose, Greg Vinson, Mike McClelland, Gary Yamamoto, Matt Reed, Russ Lane, Mark Menendez, David Hendrick, Keith Caka, Guy Eaker, Sr., Harold Allen and Fred Roumbanis are the remaining qualifiers from the PAA Tournament Series.
Image courtesy Texas Parks & Wildlife