A couple of years ago — when I ran the numbers and checked which Elite angler had the greatest penchant for catching big bass — I learned pretty quickly that it was Kelly Jordon. KJ had an impressive record for putting big bass in the boat, and it translated into numerous daily and tournament big fish awards.
He jump started his career in the Elite Series by catching the biggest bass of the tournament in two of the first four Elite events and the biggest daily bass on four of the first 13 competition days. That's simply unprecedented. No one before or since has had that kind of streak.
But that research was a few years ago. There have been a lot of tournaments since then and a lot of big bass prizes have been paid. Where is KJ now? Is he still king of the Elite lunker hunters?
Not exactly, but he's still up there.
With more than 250 daily lunkers to tally, it's not surprising to learn that the great majority of Elite anglers who have fished more than a season or two have caught at least one. One hundred seventy-eight anglers have competed in the Elite Series since its inception in 2006, and 107 of them have caught at least one daily big bass.
One angler has 10!
Of those 178 Elite anglers, 56 of them have fished the series from the very beginning. All but three of those have caught at least one daily big bass. The three anglers who are not yet on the board are Charlie Hartley, Yusuke Miyazaki and Jason Quinn.
As for the anglers who are catching big bass, Jordon still has a share of the lead when it comes to catching the biggest bass of an entire tournament. Three Elites have done it three times: Jordon, Greg Hackney and Takahiro Omori. Fourteen others have caught the big bass of a tournament two times.
Here's the list of anglers who have caught the most daily big bass in Elite competition. At the top of that list is the angler I think deserves the title of best big bass angler in the Elite Series.
10 Todd Faircloth
9 Kelly Jordon
8 Greg Hackney
7 Brent Chapman
6 Ish Monroe
5 tie between 8 anglers
Not only has Faircloth caught the biggest daily bass 10 times, he's caught the biggest bass of a tournament twice — just once less than Jordon, Hackney and Omori. But it's not just the number that's impressive. It's all the other factors supporting them that puts Faircloth on top of Lunker Mountain.
His big fish have come from as far south as Florida, as far north as New York and as far west as Texas. They've been both largemouths and smallmouths, have come from reservoirs, rivers and natural lakes and have been taken in every season of the year the Elites have fished. Two of his daily big bass came from Lake Amistad (where he excels), but the other eight have come from eight different fisheries.
What's more, Faircloth has been remarkably consistent in his big bass catches. He had one in 2006, one in 2007, four in 2008, two in 2010 and two in 2012.
So if you're wondering who the best big bass angler in the Elite Series is, it's Todd Faircloth. He's the guy to bet on when it comes to catching a kicker.
If you want to learn about his methods for upgrading his tournament catch, check out this story.