GROVE, Okla. — Michael Iaconelli will compete in his 17th consecutive world championship, thanks to the win by James Elam at the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open on Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees.
Iaconelli is the last Bassmaster Elite Series angler to qualify for the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods. Elam, also an Elite Series pro, double qualified for the Classic by his ranking in points for Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year.
The veteran New Jersey pro twice missed the Classic cut. He missed it through AOY points, and then again after being eliminated at the Bassmaster Classic Bracket tournament.
What evolved on Grand Lake also happened last week at the final Southern Open. Elite Series pro Jesse Wiggins won at Lewis Smith Lake in Alabama.
Wiggins triple qualified for the Classic through AOY points and also by winning the first Southern Open of the season. That gave the next berth to Steve Kennedy, at the time the first Elite Series pro outside the Classic cut.
The Classic is March 16-18, on Lake Hartwell, South Carolina.