Predictions for the 2024 Elite Series

Finally, the 2024 Bassmaster Elite Series season is upon us. That means it’s time to envision what the new season may have in store for us. Who will win Progressive Bassmaster Angler of the Year and Dakota Lithium Bassmaster Rookie of the Year? 

Let’s take a look at some predictions for the new season.

Elite Series

Progressive Bassmaster Angler of the Year: After finishing the 2023 season with an Elite Series victory and a third-place showing in AOY race, Patrick Walters has a chance to have his best season yet in 2024. He’s finished top five in points each of the last four seasons, and being a prolific LiveScope user and jerkbait master will no doubt play into his hands to start the season. He’ll also be looking to win the Lake Murray event that he came so close to capturing in 2023. 

Keep an eye on: Jay Przekurat, Drew Cook, Brandon Palaniuk, Joey Cifuentes III. 

Dakota Lithium Bassmaster Rookie of the Year: In a class that is arguably stronger than the 2023 class that won four events, John Garrett has the best chance to take full advantage of the schedule. His best events come when the largemouth are offshore, and depending on the weather, that will account for potentially six of the nine Elite events. It will be close, but Garrett edges out JT Thompkins for the honor.

Keep an eye on: JT Thompkins, Ben Milliken, Tyler Williams … really all of them. This is a special group of rookies.

Comeback angler of the year: Heading into 2023, I think a lot of people assumed John Soukup would have a chance to run away with the Rookie of the Year race. Instead, he finished last and was 100th in AOY points. An offseason to reset mentally will no doubt help Soukup rebound and perform to his expectation in 2024. 

Keep an eye on: Marc Frazier, Buddy Gross, Chris Zaldain, 

Opens (after first two events)

With so many anglers in the St. Croix Bassmaster Opens presented by SEVIIN, it’s hard to predict anything before a couple of events are completed. Now that the dust has settled on two events, here’s a look at how the rest of the season could shake out. 

Angler of the Year: A late addition to the Tackle Warehouse Bassmaster EQ field, Dakota Ebare seems like an obvious answer given how well he’s fished the last several years as an MLF pro. So far, he’s carried his momentum into the 2024 season with a 31st at Okeechobee and a 13th at Lake Ouachita. Don’t expect the Texan to slow down anytime soon. 

The Nine EQ qualifiers: This is an impossible exercise given how many quality anglers are in this field. Ebare, Kyle Austin, Emil Wagner, Cody Meyer, Jack Dice, Tristan McCormick, Ish Monroe, Tucker Smith and Paul Marks.