BASS will host the elite anglers when the Bassmaster Elite Series kicks off in less than two months with the “Battle on the Border” on Lake Amistad in Del Rio, Texas, March 9-12. Elite pros will compete for nearly $7.5 million in cash during the 11-event groundbreaking circuit, while co-anglers vie for more than $1.2 million in cash and awards.
Because of the fervent interest from qualified anglers who wanted to join the Elite Series and because 2006 is a transition year, there are more than 100 Elite pros. In 2007 and beyond, the Elite field will be limited to 100 pros who qualify through the CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year point standings and the CITGO Bassmaster Northern and Southern Tours.
“We knew we had something truly special when we created the Elite Series,” said Don Rucks, BASS vice president and general manager. “But the feedback and the positive response we received from anglers exceeded even our expectations. This is truly an elite field of anglers and we look forward to the world’s best and brightest competing on some fantastic lakes.”
BASS is announcing the complete list of Elite pros through its new Bassmaster Elite Series Power Index, a system that ranks an angler by his average weight caught during his last 12 qualifying tournaments in the last two years.
The Power Index is based on the total weight an Elite pro angler catches at Elite Series tournaments, the Bassmaster Majors and CITGO Bassmaster Classic.
To create the Power Index baseline, BASS used an angler’s last 12 appearances in the 2004 and 2005 Bassmaster Classic, Bassmaster Tour and Elite 50s. Each time an Elite pro completes an Elite Series tournament, Bassmaster Major or Bassmaster Classic, his oldest tournament weight will drop off.
Elite pros who have not previously fished 12 qualifying tournaments will not be ranked until they complete the minimum number of tournaments in 2006.
The Bassmaster Elite Series Power Index tracks an angler’s total weight caught as well as his average weight per tournament. A Power Index score is assigned to each Elite pro and it is based on a percentage of the top angler’s total weight.
Currently, Elite pro and CITGO Bassmaster Classic reigning champion Kevin VanDam of Michigan leads the Power Index, having caught an average of 30 pounds, 14 ounces per tournament. His Power Index score is 100. Aaron Martens of Alabama, the 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year, trails VanDam with an average of 28 pounds per tournament and a 90.69 power index score.
Rounding out the top five are Michael Iaconelli of New Jersey, who averages 27-13 and has a 90.08 Power Index score, Terry Scroggins of Florida, who averages 26-9 and has an 86.03 Power Index score, and Greg Hackney of Louisiana with a 26-4 average and 85.02 Power Index score.
“The Bassmaster Elite Series Power Index is another extension of BASS’ commitment to put anglers on the best lakes at the best time of year to catch the biggest fish,” said Trip Weldon, BASS tournament director.
Though BASS is introducing the Power Index, the organization will continue to celebrate the CITGO Bassmaster Angler of Year program, which qualifies anglers for the Elite Series and awards a $600,000 total prize purse in 2006.
“While the CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year program is our premier, season-long performance award, the Power Index is being introduced as yet another indicator to rank the world’s best anglers based on pounds and ounces caught,” Rucks said.
The 110 Elite pros, listed on the Power Index, are below.
BASS is the worldwide authority on bass fishing, sanctioning more than 20,000 events through the BASS Federation annually. Guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans, BASS sets the standard for credibility, professionalism, sportsmanship and conservation, as it has for nearly 40 years.
BASS stages bass fishing tournaments for every skill level and culminates with the CITGO Bassmaster Classic. Through its clubs, youth programs, aquatic resource advocacy, magazine publishing and multimedia platforms, BASS offers the industry’s widest array of services and support to its nearly 550,000 members. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit www.bassmaster.com.