Posted by Z3 MEDIA STAFF on 11/18/2017

Story by Matt Pangrac

Moore, OK – When the first cast is made on Alabama’s Lake Martin in early February of 2018, it will mark the start of the 13th season for the Bassmaster Elite Series.  

While many familiar faces still remain from the Elite Series’ inaugural season, a lot has changed since Ish Monroe won the first ever Elite Series tournament on Lake Amistad in March of 2006 by breaking the century mark and weighing-in over 104 pounds of largemouth bass.   Out of the Top 30 finishers in that first Elite Series tournament, just 18 anglers were still competing on the Elite Series in 2017.  

That fact led The BASS ZONE to ponder just how impactful an Elite Series win is when it comes to career longevity.  In other words – does a blue trophy solidify a career on the Bassmaster Elite Series?  

Since the inception of the Elite Series there are 14 Elite Series winners who are no longer competing at the Elite Series level.    

Here’s a list of Elite Series champions from 2006-2012 who are no long on the Elite Series:

2006 winners
Preston Clark
Peter Thliveros   
Davy Hite
Denny Brauer  
Dave Wolak

2007 winners
Derek Remitz
Peter Thliveros
Ben Matsubu

2008 winners
Kenyon Hill
Jeremy Starks
Kevin Worth
Kota Kiriyama

2009 winners
Kevin Short
Chad Griffin

2010 winners
Byron Velvick
Kevin Short

2011 winners
Davy Hite
Denny Brauer

2012 winners
Jeremy Starks

The list includes five anglers who won multiple Elite Series tournaments (or Majors) during that time span including Peter Thliveros, Kevin Short, Davy Hite, Denny Brauer, and Jeremy Starks.  

Interestingly, every angler who won an Elite Series tournament from 2013-2016 competed on the Elite Series this past season.  

While there are undoubtedly a variety of reasons for leaving the Elite Series, a number of past Elite Series champions have retired, including Denny Brauer, Davy Hite, Kevin Worth, and Kevin Short.  

Several past Elite Series champions are still active in the bass fishing industry – most notably Davy Hite, who retired in 2016 and began working with B.A.S.S. doing color commentary for BASS Live during the 2017 Elite Series season.  

With two Elite Series trophies to his credit, Kevin Short retired from the Elite Series following the 2015 season and was named the International Sales Representative for Bass Cat and Yar-Craft boats that same year.   

Other Elite Series winners, like Peter Thliveros (who won Majors in back-to-back seasons in 2006 and 2007) have transitioned to the FLW Tour.  Thliveros’ last season on the Elite Series was 2011, and he has competed on the Tour for the past six seasons.  

“It came down to money,” Thliveros told The BASS ZONE in a 2011 interview. “I don’t have enough sponsorship to fish the Elite Series and when I’m paying for it out of my pocket it just comes down to a business decision. It makes more sense to fish with FLW because the entry fees are less and the payouts are better.”

To read the entire story from October, 2011 – CLICK HERE.  

In total, approximately 81% of the anglers who won a tournament on the Elite Series between 2006 and 2012 are still on the Elite Series, while 100% of the anglers who have won an Elite Series tournament in the past five years are still competing on the Elite Series.