MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING

DRAGONFLY - RAYMARINE

FIVE YEARS LATER . . .

Posted by Z3 MEDIA STAFF on 10/27/2017

Story by Matt Pangrac

Moore, OK - Heading into the 2013 season, there was some buzz about the rookie class that was comprised of nine anglers making their debuts on the Elite Series.   

In December of 2012, The BASS ZONE ran a feature story about the 2013 Elite Series rookie class that featured six anglers who had experience on the FLW Tour prior to making their Elite Series debuts.  

To read the original story, CLICK HERE.  

Five seasons later, the majority of the 2013 rookies are making an impact on the Elite Series landscape.  

To put things into perspective, here’s a look at the Elite Series rookie classes from 2011, 2012, and 2014:  

The 2011 Elite Series rookie class was one of the largest in Elite Series history, boasting 15 newcomers including Dean Alexander, Keith Combs, Ott DeFoe, Travis Manson, Andy Montgomery, Brandon Palaniuk, Ben Parker, Russell Parrish, Ryan Said, Craig Schuff, Lee Sisson, James Stricklin, Jonathon VanDam, David Walker, and Nate Wellman.  

Out of those 15 rookies, just six competed on the Elite Series in 2017 (Keith Combs, Ott DeFoe, Andy Montgomery, Brandon Palaniuk, Jonathon VanDam, and Davis Walker).  

The 2012 Elite Series rookie class was comprised of 10 anglers including Kevin Ledoux, Jared Miller, Casey Scanlon, Chris Zaldain, Kyle Fox, Fletcher Shryock, Michael Simonton, Brandon Card, Cliff Prince, and Jamie Horton.  

Four of the 10 rookies (Chris Zaldain, Fletcher Shryock, Brandon Card, and Cliff Prince) competed on the Elite Series in 2017.  

14 anglers made up the 2014 Elite Series rookie class including Tracy Adams, Joel Baker, Glenn Browne, Brett Hite, Mike Kernan, Brandon Lester, Justin Lucas, Chad Morgenthaler, David Mullins, Jacob Powroznik, Trevor Romans, Joe Sancho, Randall Tharp, and Boo Woods.   

Seven of the 14 rookies (Brett Hite, Brandon Lester, Justin Lucas, Chad Morgenthaler, David Mullins, Jacob Powroznik, and Randall Tharp) are still competing on the Elite Series.    

The 2011, 2012, and 2014 Elite Series seasons saw a total of 39 rookies.  By the conclusion of the 2017 season, just 17 of those anglers were still competing on the Elite Series (roughly 43%).

When it comes to qualifying for the 2018 Bassmaster Classic next march on Lake Hartwell, the rookie classes of 2011, 2012, and 2014 have a total of six anglers represented (Brandon Palaniuk, Ott Defoe, Keith Combs, David Walker, Brandon Lester, and Jacob Powroznik) – roughly 15%.  

That brings us to the rookie class of the 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series season, which saw only nine newcomers join the ranks of the Elites including: Hank Cherry, Chad Pipkens, Jason Christie, James Elam, Chip Porche, Kevin Hawk, Kelley Jaye, Josh Bertrand, and Cliff Pirch.  

Seven of the nine anglers from the 2013 rookie class are still competing on the Elite Series (Hank Cherry, Chad Pipkens, Jason Christie, James Elam, Kelley Jaye, Josh Bertrand, and Cliff Pirch).  

Out of those seven still casting for cash at the Elite Series level, five anglers from the 2013 rookie class qualified for the 2018 Bassmaster Classic through the 2017 Toyota Angler Of the Year points: Jason Christie (2nd), Cliff Pirch (19th), James Elam (27th), Josh Bertrand (29th), and Hank Cherry (30th).  

While just 15% of the rookies from 2011, 2012, and 2014 will be fishing in the 2018 Classic, 55% of the rookies from the 2013 rookie class will be looking to lift the Classic trophy in March.