The 2013 Bassmaster Classic at Grand Lake O' the Cherokees will feature 53 of the best bass anglers in the world. The field ties the second-highest number of anglers ever to qualify for the event.
The 53rd angler will be the winner of the 2012 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series National Championship in Texas this week.
Of the 52 anglers already qualified for the Super Bowl of bass fishing, six earned their spots through the BASS Federation Nation, eight qualified through the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens, seven took their slots by winning Bassmaster Elite Series tournaments, and the rest got in through their position in the Bassmaster Elite Series Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year points standings.
Chris Lane, the 2012 Classic champion, triple-qualified for the upcoming Classic; he was already qualified to compete as the defending champion, but also won an Open and finished 14th in the AOY race. Likewise, 2012 Angler of the Year Brent Chapman earned his way to the Classic three times over as AOY and through wins in the Opens and the Elite Series.
Three Oklahoma anglers made the cut. Oklahoma Elite anglers Edwin Evers of Talala and Tommy Biffle of Wagoner qualified for the tournament on points. Park Hill angler Jason Christie made it in by winning a Northern Open.
Four-time Classic winner Kevin VanDam also will be in the field as the most experienced of the lot. He will be competing in his 23rd consecutive championship, marking the second-longest Classic qualification streak in history. Rick Clunn holds the record of 28, qualifying every year between 1974 and 2001.
Original Print Headline: Classic field nearly set
2013 BASSMASTER CLASSIC
When: Feb. 22-24
Where: Grand Lake
Qualifiers and their qualification routes
Defending Bassmaster Classic Champion: Chris Lane of Guntersville, Ala.
Bassmaster Elite Series Champions: Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kan.; Boyd Duckett of Demopolis, Ala.; Todd Faircloth of Jasper, Texas; Alton Jones of Waco, Texas; Ish Monroe of Hughson, Calif.; Brandon Palaniuk of Rathdrum, Idaho; Jeremy Starks of Scott Depot, W.Va.; Jonathon VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich.
Bassmaster Opens Series Champions: Tracy Adams of Wilkesboro, N.C.; Hank Cherry of Maiden, N.C.; Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla.; Pete Gluszek of Mt. Laurel, N.J.; Josh Wagy of Dewitt, Va.; Casey Scanlon of Lenexa, Kan.
Bassmaster Federation Nation Champions: Andy Bravence of Globe, Ariz. (Western Division); Jonathan Carter of South Portland, Maine (Eastern Division); Mark Dove of North Vernon, Ind. (Northern Division); Gerry Jooste of Harare, Zimbabwe (Mid-Atlantic Division); Jared Knuth of Wahoo, Neb. (Central Division); Mark Pierce of Clarksville, Tenn. (Southern Division)
Bassmaster College Champion: Matt Lee of Auburn, Ala.
Bassmaster Angler of the Year points rank: Tommy Biffle of Wagoner, Okla.; Brandon Card of Caryville, Tenn.; John Crews of Salem, Va.; Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Ark.; Ott DeFoe of Knoxville, Tenn.; Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla.; Shaw Grigsby of Gainesville, Fla.; Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La.; Matt Herren of Trussville, Ala.; Randy Howell of Springville, Ala.; Michael Iaconelli of Pittsgrove, N.J.; Bobby Lane of Lakeland, Fla.; Russ Lane of Prattville, Ala.; Jared Lintner of Arroyo Grande, Calif.; Bill Lowen of Brookville, Ind.; Aaron Martens of Leeds, Ala.; Mike McClelland of Bella Vista, Ark.; Yusuke Miyazaki of Forney, Texas; Takahiro Omori of Emory, Texas; Cliff Pace of Petal, Miss.; Cliff Prince of Palatka, Fla.; Jason Quinn of Lake Wylie, S.C.; Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif.; Marty Robinson of Lyman, S.C.; Dean Rojas of Lake Havasu City, Ariz.; Terry Scroggins of San Mateo, Fla.; Gerald Swindle of Warrior, Ala.; Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich.; David Walker of Sevierville, Tenn.; Nate Wellman of Newaygo, Mich.