DECATUR, Ala. — Eight pros earned their way Sunday into the Bassmaster Elite Series postseason, the July 23-31 Toyota Trucks All-Star Week in Alabama.
The list of eight initial qualifiers was topped by Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., newly crowned 2011 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year. The other seven set for the postseason were Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla.; Gerald Swindle, Warrior, Ala.; Ott DeFoe, Knoxville, Tenn.; Steve Kennedy, Auburn, Ala.; Terry Scroggins, San Mateo, Fla.; Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C.; and Davy Hite, Ninety Six, S.C.
The eight were the top finishers in the 2011 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year points race, which reached the finish line Sunday at the Elite Series season finale on Wheeler Lake.
Four more Elite anglers voted in by fans will complete the postseason field of 12.
The voting will begin Tuesday, June 21, at Bassmaster.com and continue through July 10. The winners will be announced by July 13.
The dozen pros will fish under a new postseason format that awards $100,000 to the winner.
The first leg of the competition will be July 23-24 on Alabama’s Lake Jordan with the Ramada All-Star Semi-Final. Weigh-ins will be out of Wetumpka, Ala. Only the top eight will advance July 29 to the nearby Alabama River for the Evan Williams Bourbon All-Star Championship out of Montgomery, Ala.
“I like both fisheries,” said VanDam. “I’ve fished them the last few postseasons, and I like that I might have an advantage over the others — but I know they’re good and it will be a good competition.”
To begin the July 29-31 river round — a bracketed competition — anglers will be seeded by cumulative weights from the Lake Jordan leg. After two days of eliminations, the two anglers left standing will compete against each other for one more day, winner take all.
The Bassmaster fans who cast votes for the four anglers will be entered in the Toyota Trucks All-Star Fan Favorite Sweepstakes. The winners will be 12 fans who will be virtually paired with the 12 All-Star anglers. The fan whose name is matched with the pro who wins will be awarded a Triton 18XS boat with a Mercury 150 OptiMax engine. All 12 fan finalists will win a prize pack from Berkley and Havoc.