Surprising absence from Top 51

Cherokee Lake is certainly a different fishery to start off the Elite Series season compared to most years. Past seasons the first event is usually on a grassy, southern fishery, but with the diverse fishing on Cherokee has thrown some anglers for a loop as they targeted winter/prespawn fish.

There have been some anglers that are sitting at home which will surprise fans. Some notable anglers that didn't make the Top 51 are as follows:

53. Jacob Powroznik
56. Edwin Evers
62. Kevin VanDam
64. David Walker
68. Brent Ehrler
88. Dave Lefebre
92. Drew Benton
97. Skeet Reese
99. Chad Pipkens
100. Justin Lucas
101. Brett Hite
102. Chris Zaldain
105. Chris Lane
107. Brandon Card

We saw in a graphic on Bassmaster LIVE that only one Angler of the Year champion in the last 10 years has started the season worse than 40th and that was Aaron Martens in 2013. Last season we saw Gerald Swindle start with a 40th on the St. John's River and he never finished worse than that the rest of the 2016 campaign. It can be done as Martens logged a 85th to start on the Sabine River in 2013, so we know it can be done, but there is no room for a another slip up for most of these anglers on the aforementioned list.