So just how many Elite anglers are going to earn berths in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic? It's actually hard to say. Twenty-eight spots are guaranteed to the Top 28 finishers in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year points race. Then there's the defending Classic champ, Chris Lane, who gets an automatic bid. Each of the eight Elite tournament winners is in, too. Plus, there are three Elite anglers who won Opens this year and will earn a Classic berth that way. Let's take a closer look and really figure this out.
Chris Lane was in before the season started and before he won the Classic by virtue of his victory at the first Southern Open on the Harris Chain in Florida (assuming he fishes all three Southern Opens this year). He's also qualified by virtue of being in the Top 28 of the points standings (14th as of yesterday). That makes him triple qualified, but I think it only opens up one more place in the AOY standings, bringing us down to the Top 29 in points.
Brent Chapman was in before the Elite season started because he won the Central Open on Lewisville Lake in Texas (again, assuming he fishes all three Central Opens). He's also number one in AOY points. That opens up one more place in the AOY standings, bringing us down to the Top 30 in points.
The third Elite angler who won an Open this year was Casey Scanlon, who beat the competition at the Central Open on Table Rock in Missouri. He's way down the list in AOY points, so his Opens berth is not going to create another opportunity for an Elite angler.
Now we have the Elite tournament winners and their Classic spots. Alton Jones, Ish Monroe, Brandon Palanuik, Jeremy Starks, Chapman, Todd Faircloth and Jonathon VanDam are all in by virtue of Elite wins. Only Chapman and Faircloth are in the Top 28 of the standings. The rest needed the wins to get in.
That opens the Classic door to places 31 and 32.
Of the anglers fishing today, seven are already in the Top 28 of the AOY standings: Chapman, Ott DeFoe, Terry Scroggins, Randy Howell, Nate Wellman, John Crews and Takahiro Omori. If one of them wins, that will open up place number 33 in the AOY rankings. If it's one of the other five, it will not.
But wait! Jason Quinn is currently 30th in AOY and that spot is already in by virtue of some double qualifiers, so the odds of spot number 33 getting in is a little better.
Then there are the three remaining Opens. If an Elite angler who is otherwise qualified wins one of those and has fished the previous two Opens, each such win opens up one more spot in the AOY rankings.
So, right now the Top 32 ranking anglers in the AOY race are in, plus five other Elite event winners and Casey Scanlon. As many as three other Elites could get in if the "right" guys win the Opens.
Right now, if BASSTrakk is right, Boyd Duckett is on "the bubble" with Scott Rook right behind. If Rook continues to struggle, he could fall behind Rick Clunn.