Derek Hudnall announces retirement from Elite Series

Derek Hudnall

Elite Series pro Derek Hudnall of Baton Rouge, La., has informed B.A.S.S. tournament officials that he will retire effectively immediately from Elite Series competition, citing financial reasons.

“This is a very expensive endeavor,” said Hudnall, who recorded one Classic appearance and four top-10 finishes in Elite Series competition during his six years at the highest level of professional fishing. “Here I am nine years into my fishing career and 5 ½ years into the Bassmaster Elite Series and I just cannot do it anymore. I just can’t do it financially.”

Hudnall, 43, said his passion for tournament fishing began when he was nine years old and watched fishing legend Hank Parker hoist the Bassmaster Classic championship trophy in 1989 at the James River in Richmond, Va.

“I would never blame the industry or Bassmaster or anyone but myself for not working hard enough to make sure that I did what I needed to do to stay,” Hudnall said. “I’ve never done this for the money. Money has never been any kind of motivation for this career, but unfortunately when you have no money, you can’t chase this dream.

“I could have never chased this dream without my fan base and people who watch,” Hudnall added. “The outpouring of support in the last 24 hours has been completely overwhelming. I’m so humbled and thankful for the support I’ve received during these hard times. If you’re chasing a dream, don’t let anybody or anything get in the way of making it happen. Even though it’s been an incredible financial struggle, I don’t regret a single minute. Dream big.”