Classic qualifications update, with drops

The 2021 Elite season ended in July but there may still be some movement in the list of Elite anglers who qualify for the 2022 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk.

One unique wrinkle this year is that each Elite drops his lowest finish. “The drop” as it has been called, came about early this year when a majority of the Elites requested and voted in the ability to drop their worst tournament if someone were to miss one for a COVID-related illness. That happened when David Fritts fell ill for the first tournament.

The drop doesn’t affect Angler of the Year standings or requalification to the Elites, only Classic berths. Those berths are awarded to the top 39 Elites and move down the standings with each double qualifier.

B.A.S.S. recently sent out an updated AOY point standings with each Elite angler’s worst event excluded. Those standings are below. As you’ll see, four additional Elites have qualified for the Classic because others doubled qualified, or an Opens winner didn’t fish all three tournaments in the series.  

With four Opens remaining, it is mathematically possible more Elites will qualify. There will be drama in those tournaments with Classic qualifications and Elite Series invites on the line. 

1.    Seth Feider
2.    Chris Johnston
3.    Brandon Palaniuk
4.    Patrick Walters
5.    Caleb Sumrall
6.    Lee Livesay
7.    Cory Johnston
8.    Brandon Cobb
9.    Jason Christie
10.  Greg Hackney
11.  Drew Cook
12.  Austin Felix
13.  Wes Logan
14.  Brock Mosley
15.  Luke Palmer
16.  Taku Ito
17.  Gerald Swindle
18.  Hank Cherry Jr.
19.  Shane LeHew
20.  Jeff Gustafson
21.  Kyle Welcher
22.  Brandon Lester
23.  Drew Benton
24.  Chad Pipkens
25.  John Crews Jr.
26.  Bryan Schmitt
27.  Matt Herren
28.  Brandon Card
29.  Joshua Stracner
30.  Steve Kennedy
31.  KJ Queen
32.  Buddy Gross
33.  Bryan New
34.  Hunter Shryock
35.  David Mullins
36.  Justin Hamner
37.  Marc Frazier
38.  Chris Zaldain
39.  Matt Robertson
40.  Matt Arey (Hank Cherry double qualified with Classic win)
41.  Stetson Blaylock (Brandon Palaniuk winning James River Open)
42.  John Cox (Taku Ito win at St. Lawrence Elite, which awarded a Classic berth)
43.  Ray Hanselman Jr. (Bill Perkins won Oneida Open but didn’t fish first Northern Open)

First Four anglers out of the Classic

1.   Scott Martin
2.   Tyler Rivet
3.   Keith Combs
4.   Caleb Kuphall

Remaining Classic spots

  • 3 Current Opens winners- Keith Tuma, Daisuke Aoki and Joey Nania (assuming they fish all three tournaments in their respective series)
  • 4 Opens winners to come, if each fishes all three tournaments in the series
  • 3 Top finishers from the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship
  • 1 College Champion
  • 1 Team Champion