There will be 13 newcomers to the Elite Series field, including Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., who qualified by finishing seventh in the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Opens standings. Though he has yet to win a B.A.S.S. event, Ehrler has enjoyed success on the FLW Tour with eight victories, 33 career Top 10 finishes and more than $2.2 million in earnings during a decade-long career.
The field will feature a dozen former Classic winners, including Davis, Rick Clunn of Ava, Mo., Paul Elias of Laurel, Miss.; Davy Hite of Ninety Six, S.C.; Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich.; Michael Iaconelli of Runnemede, N.J.; Takahiro Omori of Emory, Texas; Boyd Duckett of Demopolis, Ala.; Alton Jones of Lorena, Texas; Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif.; Cliff Pace of Petal, Miss.; and 2014 winner Randy Howell of Springville, Ala.
The Elite Series will begin March 19-22 with a trip to the Sabine River in Orange, Texas. The trail will then set a demanding pace for the anglers with trips to Alabama’s Lake Guntersville on April 9-12, California’s Sacramento River on April 30-May 3, Arizona’s Lake Havasu on May 7-10, Tennessee’s Kentucky Lake for BASSfest on June 3-7, New York’s St. Lawrence River on July 30-Aug. 2, Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay on Aug. 13-16, Michigan’s Lake St. Clair on Aug. 27-30 and Wisconsin’s Sturgeon Bay for the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship on Sept. 17-20.
Standard Elite Series events will feature a total purse of $638,000, with $100,000 going to the winner and at least $10,000 going to anyone who finishes 50th or better. BASSfest will offer a total purse of $850,000 with a $100,000 winner’s payout, $60,000 for second place and at least $10,000 for any angler who places 60th or better.
The Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Championship will have a whopping total purse of $1 million, with the winner pocketing $100,000, the second-place angler earning $55,000 and third place paying $45,000. The remainder of the Top 50 pros in the AOY points standings will share in the rest of the championship payout.
Last year’s Elite Series, which featured the first-ever BASSfest in Dayton, Tenn., and the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship in Escanaba, Mich., set a new attendance record by drawing 128,600 fishing fans.
The list of 2015 Bassmaster Elite Series qualifiers is below:
J Todd Tucker
About B.A.S.S. B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series presented by Allstate, Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation events, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series, Bassmaster High School Series presented by Carhartt, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro.