Elite Series Looking Good For 2009

The field for the most prestigious fishing tournament circuit in the world is starting to take shape.

The field for the most prestigious fishing tournament circuit in the world is starting to take shape. Eighty-four of the best bass anglers in the world are already signed up to compete in the 2009 Bassmaster Elite Series.

 The current field boasts 11 former Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Anglers of the Year, including current AOY Kevin VanDam, and 11 former Bassmaster Classic champions, including defending champ Alton Jones.

 

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Here's the list of anglers currently committed to fish the Elite Series:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kevin VanDam

 

Todd Faircloth

 

Mike McClelland

 

Skeet Reese

 

Alton Jones

 

Edwin Evers

 

Dean Rojas

 

Randy Howell

 

Terry Scroggins

 

Michael Iaconelli

 

Bill Lowen

 

Mark Davis

 

Aaron Martens

 

Dustin Wilks

 

Bobby Lane

 

Steve Kennedy

 

Kenyon Hill

 

Fred Roumbanis

 

Brian Snowden

 

Timmy Horton

 

Scott Rook

 

Brent Chapman

 

Gary Klein

 

Dave Wolak

 

Kotaro Kiriyama

 

Kevin Wirth

 

Kelly Jordon

 

Shaw Grigsby

 

Ish Monroe

 

Boyd Duckett

 

Bernie Schultz

 

Byron Velvick

 

Greg Hackney

 

Davy Hite

 

Rick Clunn

 

Rick Morris

 

Mark Menendez

 

Derek Remitz

 

Chris Lane

 

Denny Brauer

 

Morizo Shimizu

 

Marty Stone

 

Jason Williamson

 

Jared Lintner

 

Bradley Hallman

 

Jeff Kriet

 

John Murray

 

Jason Quinn

 

Kevin Short

 

Gerald Swindle

 

Matt Reed

 

Jon Bondy

 

Tommy Biffle

 

Cliff Pace

 

Terry Butcher

 

Scott Campbell

 

Britt Myers

 

Matthew Sphar

 

Jeff Connella

 

Jeremy Starks

 

Jeff Reynolds

 

Mark Tucker

 

Takahiro Omori

 

Kevin Langill

 

Russ Lane

 

Mike Wurm

 

John Crews

 

Glenn Delong

 

Grant Goldbeck

 

James Niggemeyer

 

Wade Grooms

 

Jimmy Mize

 

Stephen Browning

 

Paul Elias

 

Brian Clark

 

Mark Tyler

 

Todd Auten

 

Ken Cook

 

Marty Robinson

 

Clark Reehm

 

David Smith

 

Yusuke Miyazaki

 

Elton Luce

 

Charlie Hartley

 

 

Kalamazoo, Mich.

 

Jasper, Texas

 

Bella Vista, Ark.

 

Auburn, Calif.

 

Waco, Texas

 

Talala, Okla.

 

Lake Havasu City, Ariz.

 

Springville, Ala.

 

San Mateo, Fla.

 

Runnemede, N.J.

 

North Bend, Ohio

 

Mount Ida, Ark.

 

Leeds, Ala.

 

Rocky Mount, N.C.

 

Lakeland, Fla.

 

Auburn, Ala.

 

Norman, Okla.

 

Bixby, Okla.

 

Reeds Spring, Mo.

 

Muscle Shoals, Ala.

 

Little Rock, Ark.

 

Lake Quivira, Kan.

 

Weatherford, Texas

 

Wake Forest, N.C.

 

Moody, Ala.

 

Crestwood, Ky.

 

Mineola, Texas

 

Gainesville, Fla.

 

Hughson, Calif.

 

Demopolis, Ala.

 

Gainesville, Fla.

 

Del Rio, Texas

 

Gonzales, La.

 

Ninety Six, S.C.

 

Ava, Mo.

 

Virginia Beach, Va.

 

Paducah, Ky.

 

Grant, Ala.

 

Lakeland, Fla.

 

Camdenton, Mo.

 

Osaka, Japan

 

Fayetteville, N.C.

 

Aiken, S.C.

 

Arroyo Grande, Calif.

 

Norman, Okla.

 

Ardmore, Okla.

 

Phoenix, Ariz.

 

York, S.C.

 

Mayflower, Ark.

 

Warrior, Ala.

 

Madisonville, Texas

 

Windsor, Canada

 

Wagoner, Okla.

 

Petal, Miss.

 

Talala, Okla.

 

Springfield, Mo.

 

Lake Wylie, S.C.

 

Pavilion, N.Y.

 

Bentley, La.

 

Charleston, W.Va.

 

Idabel, Okla.

 

St. Louis, Mo.

 

Emory, Texas

 

Terrell, N.C.

 

Prattville, Ala.

 

Hot Springs, Ark.

 

Salem, Va.

 

Bellville, Ohio

 

Gaithersburg, Md.

 

Van, Texas

 

Bonneau, S.C.

 

Ben Lomond, Ark.

 

Hot Springs, Ark.

 

Laurel, Miss.

 

Haltom City, Texas

 

Vian, Okla.

 

Lake Wylie, S.C.

 

Lawton, Okla.

 

Lyman, S.C.

 

Russellville, Ark.

 

Del City, Okla.

 

Forney, Texas

 

Brookeland, Texas

 

Grove City, Ohio

 


 

At the end of the 2008 Elite Series season, the 84 top ranking pros in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings had earned an invitation to rejoin the field again in 2009. After the conclusion of the 2008 Southern Opens season, another 10 anglers earned the right to join the season, including several who were already qualified through their performance in the Elite Series. This opened the door for more of the Elite pros to rejoin despite a tough 2008.

 

One of the Elite pros who benefited from the double qualifications of his Elite brethren was popular Ohio pro, Charlie Hartley, who had been on the outside looking in and wondering if he would get to fish the Elite Series in 2009.

 

"The 2008 season was a real roller coaster for me," Hartley said. "After such a strong Classic performance (he led the first day and finished 15th), I was disappointed to say the least. I'm very thankful to be given another chance. I promise you I'll do my best to take advantage of it."

 

Ten anglers will earn berths in the 2009 Elite season by way of the Southern Opens and 10 more from the Central Opens. Since the Southern Open season ended after the Lake Guntersville, Ala., tournament earlier this month, that list of qualifiers has started to take shape.

 

Four of the qualifiers will be Elite rookies should they sign up and post their first entry fee deposit: Matt Herren, Greg Pugh and Greg Vinson of Alabama and Luke Gritter of Michigan. These anglers have until Dec. 2 to make up their minds and submit their first payment installments.

 

The other six anglers earning Elite berths through the Southern Opens are Elite veterans. Jim Murray, Zell Rowland and Pat Golden earned berths because Bobby Lane, Terry Scroggins and Aaron Martens double qualified through the Elites and the Southern Opens. Similarly, Preston Clark, Peter Thliveros and Casey Ashley earned berths through both routes and opened up spots for Kurt Dove, Dave Smith and Yusuke Miyazake.

 

Elton Luce and Charlie Hartley rejoined the Elites when Ben Matsubu and Corey Waldrop dropped out of the Series and opened up two more spots.

 

As many as 10 more anglers may earn berths through the Central Opens. That season ends on Nov. 1 at Texas' Lake Texoma.

 

Several Elite Series anglers who are already qualified to fish the Elite Series in 2009 are within striking distance of double qualifying through the Central Opens, including Jami Fralick, Rick Clunn, Bradley Hallman, Terry Butcher, Preston Clark and Clark Reehm. Also in the hunt from the Central Opens is longtime BASS pro Lucy Mize who, with a very strong performance at Texoma, could become the first woman to qualify for the Elite Series and join her husband Jimmy on that Tournament Trail.

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