The field for the 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series is set. With 102 top professional anglers from 25 states and Japan, the lineup is the strongest ever and the largest since 2008.

The group contains 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.

These anglers will vie for millions in prize money over the course of eight events in seven states covering four rivers, three reservoirs and one natural lake. The season begins on March 14 at the Sabine River Challenge Presented by STARK Cultural Venues in Orange, Texas, and ends in August at the Lake St. Clair Championship out of Detroit, Mich., where the 2013 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year will be crowned and nearly 30 berths in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic on Alabama’s Lake Guntersville will be determined.

“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.”

“Star-studded” might be the best way to describe the 2013 Elite field. It’s led by seven-time Angler of the Year and four-time Classic champion Kevin VanDam. He returns along with the legendary Rick Clunn (the only other four-time Classic champ), Skeet Reese, Michael Iaconelli, Aaron Martens, 2012 Classic winner Chris Lane and last season’s Angler of the Year, Brent Chapman.

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, Feb. 22-24.

New to the Elite field for 2013 are nine rookies who qualified via the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens: 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. One of them will earn the title of 2013 Bassmaster Rookie of the Year.

“Making the leap from the Bassmaster Opens to the Elite Series is one of the biggest and most challenging transitions in all of sport,” said B.A.S.S. Tournament Director Trip Weldon. “Our 2013 rookies are an extremely talented group, and they have been winners on just about every other tournament circuit in the country. I think they’re going to challenge our Elite veterans and make for some great competition.”

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 Bassmaster Opens, while Haseotes and Tietje come back from hardship exemptions.

Invitations to compete in the Bassmaster Elite Series are earned by performance in the previous year’s Elite circuit and the Bassmaster Opens.

Competing this year are:

  • 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.
  • 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.

Image courtesy Bassmaster

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