Meet the Bass Brackets Elite Eight

By Bass Brackets


Bobby Lane
Bobby Lane is probably one of the most surprising members of the “Elite 8” due to a combination of tough matchups and new fisheries. Entering the season as a 12 seed, Lane pulled off the 12 vs 5 upset which has become a trendy selection in NCAA basketball pools in recent years. While 12 over 5 upsets aren’t too rare any longer, it was an impressive win against Bassfan’s current #1 angler and Guntersville local, Justin Lucas. Perhaps more impressive, Lane held his own on the west coast swing knocking off Brandon Palaniuk on the CA Delta and Greg Hackney at Lake Havasu to remain alive in this now 8 man field of anglers.

Kentucky Lake History:
Having an Elite Series victory on Kentucky Lake already on his ledger, Bobby Lane is certainly an angler to watch at the Bassfest event. Interestingly enough, this year’s Bassfest event falls almost exactly 6 years to the day of his win on the same body of water. Can Lane find some of those big schools concentrated on deep ledges this time around?

B.A.S.S. Statistics 

  • 1st Place Finishes: 1
  • Top 10 Finishes: 26
  • Classic Wins: 0
  • B.A.S.S. Earnings: $1,002,865.07
  • Hometown: Lakeland, FL
  • Birthdate: March 06, 1974
  • Hobbies: Golf, cards




Dean Rojas
The angler best known for his love of Kermit, his pet name for his Spro Bronzeye Frog, Dean Rojas is no one trick pony. Currently sitting in 1st in the Bassmaster AOY standings, Rojas is off to a great start this season. While the west coast swing may have given him a slight advantage over his competitors, Rojas has had to earn each victory. An 11th, 3rd and 6th – his last three tournament placings are finishes deserving of advancing in this competition. He faced some tough matchups to reach this point including Chris Lane on his home water at Lake Guntersville in the first round and Timmy Horton’s top 10 finish on the CA Delta in the second round.

Kentucky Lake History:
For all Rojas accomplishments, he does not have a very impressive ledger at Ketucky Lake events with his best finish of 26th place having come nearly a decade ago. His last two Bassmaster tournaments on Kentucky Lake have both registered 71st place finishes; both anomalies when considering Rojas consistency since becoming a professional angler. Prior poor finishes aside, Rojas’ carries a great deal of momentum into this event and at this level, where every angler is elite, any advantage over the field makes a difference.

B.A.S.S. Statistics

  • 1st Place Finishes: 4
  • Top 10 Finishes: 40
  • Classic Wins: 0
  • B.A.S.S. Earnings: $1,816,868.81
  • Hometown: Lake Havasu, AZ
  • Birthdate: July 31, 1971
  • Hobbies: Fishing, off-roading





Brent Ehrler
Ehrler, the only #1 seed remaining, is for all intents and purposes the ideal angler for the Bass Brackets format. Not only is Ehrler inconceivably consistent, he also knows how to put the hammer down and win tournaments as evidenced by his most recent triumph on Lake Fork during the Toyota Texas Bass Classic. Ehrler can do it all. He’s comfortable in any conditions, fishing anywhere in the country from gin clear water to muddy swamps, he fishes with confidence that leads to better results.

Kentucky Lake History:

While the Bassmaster Elite series hasn’t visited Kentucky Lake in 5 years, Ehrler’s long career on the FLW Tour saw him visiting the lake nearly every season. His first encounter with Kentucky Lake back in 2006 resulted in an awful finish of 117th, but since then he has become comfortable with fishing ledges and steadily improved his finishes. The smaller field size of the Elite series compared to that of the FLW Tour has undoubtedly been a big adjustment for Ehrler. We expect the ledge events to play into Ehrler’s hands as he has always been able to find winning bags of fish with his graph, with less competition for the best spots, Ehrler will get his chance to run and gun from waypoint to waypoint without having to guard sweet spots.

B.A.S.S. Statistics

  • 1st Place Finishes: 0
  • Top 10 Finishes: 3
  • Classic Wins: 0
  • B.A.S.S. Earnings: $87,639.00
  • Hometown: Redlands, CA
  • Birthdate: February 03, 1977
  • Hobbies: Snow skiing, golf







Mark Davis
One of bass fishing’s most recognizable names, Davis has accomplished the trifecta during his career winning an Angler of the Year title, Bassmaster Classic and Elite Series event over the span of his 30 year career. His run in the Bass Brackets competition doesn’t come as any real surprise to those who have followed his career as Davis is one of the more versatile anglers on tour, equally comfortable with a casting or spinning rod. All that considered, Davis has made the Elite 8 due in large part to the poor performances of his competitors. Davis has yet to finish within the top 50 in any of the three Bass Brackets events. Will his luck continue?

Kentucky Lake History:
While Davis has fished a number of events on Kentucky Lake during his career with both Bassmaster and FLW, he hasn’t done too well in tournaments as of late. Over his last four Kentucky Lake finishes, his 44th place showing back in 2006 registers as his best result. Having the wealth of knowledge Davis has acquired over his career, it would be foolish to write him off, but he will almost certainly need to eclipse that 44th place finish if he hopes to stand any chance against Brent Ehrler.

B.A.S.S. Statistics

  • 1st Place Finishes: 5
  • Top 10 Finishes: 52
  • Classic Wins: 1
  • B.A.S.S. Earnings: $1,747,052.30
  • Hometown: Mt. Ida, AR
  • Birthdate: October 11, 1963
  • Hobbies: Hunting, coaching pee wee football 


Michael Iaconelli
Ike, a #4 Seed in the Daiwa region, survived the group of death with the likes of Kevin VanDam, Gerald Swindle, and Brett Hite - who figured to do well with the Western swing of events.  After ousting James Niggemeyer on Lake Guntersville, he went on to beat Gerald Swindle on the Sacramento River and finally Brett Hite in his home state of Arizona. Once again Ike matches up with a local Ott Defoe on Kentucky Lake. Ott hails from Knoxville Tennessee just a few hours drive from Kentucky Lake. 


Kentucky Lake History:  Ike has fished four Elite Series events on Kentucky lake since 2006. With two top 40 finishes, including a 14th in 2009 and a 39th in 2006, he has had moderate success. In 2010, Ike finished in 58th place and in 2008 in 63rd place, so even when he struggles he finds a way to finish near the cut line.  

B.A.S.S. Statistics

  • TOP 10 FINISHES: 60
  • B.A.S.S. EARNINGS: $2,281,930.00
  • HOMETOWN: Pittsgrove, NJ
  • BIRTHDATE: June 17, 1972





Ott Defoe
Coming into the event as a 6th seed, Defoe, like Iaconelli, has advanced through arguably the most difficult region. Pitted against Paul Elias on Lake Guntersville, a body of water that many will remember as the stage where Elias first introduced the Alabama Rig to the world en route to his victory at the 2013 FLW Tour event. Next up for Defoe was one the Elite Series’ most consistent anglers Edwin Evers. Finishing the event in a respectable 37th place that bested Evers 55th place showing and sent “E Squared” packing. In his most recent match, Defoe faced Skeet Reese an angler with substantial experience on their playing field for the week, Lake Havasu. Despite his tough opponent, Defoe had another strong showing with a 17th place finish moving him to the Elite Eight and a head to head matchup with Iaconelli for a trip to the final four. 


Kentucky Lake History:Defoe has yet to fish on Kentucky Lake in an Elite Series event, but in 2009 in an FLW Tour event he finished in 8th place. As a lifelong Tennessee resident, Defoe’s knowledge of ledge fishing is almost a given. With Ft. Loudon and Tellico and Lake Chickamauga, both Tennessee Valley Authority lakes, within his home state, Defoe has experience with the ebbs and flows of power generating lakes and how to deal with varying states of current. Expect Defoe to have a strong outing on Kentucky Lake.

 B.A.S.S. Statistics

  • TOP 10 FINISHES: 17
  • B.A.S.S. EARNINGS: $725,206,56
  • HOMETOWN: Knoxville, TN
  • BIRTHDATE: September 17, 1985







Jacob Powroznik
Powroznik, in his second season on the Elite Series Tour, has already made a name for himself among his contemporaries and fans of the sport. In his rookie season Powroznik captured two victories: Toledo Bend and Bays de Noc, accomplishing a feat reserved for only those on top of their game.  Powroznik came into the challenge as a #4 seed meeting up with Boyd Duckett who owns a house literally on the lake. Despite his competitors local knowledge, Powroznik knocked him out and advanced on the strength of a 19th place finish.  Powroznik continued his run besting Randall Tharp on the California Delta and bass fishing legend Gary Klein at Lake Havasu. With finishes of 19th, 16th, and 31st respectively, Powroznik has breezed his way into the Elite Eight and is a serious threat to take down the title. 

Kentucky Lake History: Like Defoe, Powroznik hasn't had much tournament experience on Kentucky Lake. We have to look back to 2009 on the FLW Tour where Powroznik finished in 26th place in his only tour level event on Kentucky Lake.  Powroznik is a strong off-shore angler so we expect he will do well, but in a ledge fishing event luck certainly plays a role in finding the right fish, hitting them at the right time and most importantly, hoping everyone else hasn’t found them as well. 

B.A.S.S. Statistics

  • TOP 10 FINISHES: 7
  • B.A.S.S. EARNINGS: $280,537.00
  • HOMETOWN: Port Haywood, VA
  • BIRTHDATE: September 10, 1978






Mike McClelland
McClelland kicked off the year with a strong second place finish on the Sabine River. While not part of the challenge, it was a momentum builder for McClelland who now finds himself in the group of eight. On his way to the Elite Eight, McClelland, a #7 seed, ousted Clifford Pirch on Lake Guntersville, Todd Faircloth on the Sacramento River and Keith Combs on Lake Havasu - all three very strong and accomplished anglers. The interesting thing is he hasn't done it with outstanding finishes. McClelland has finished 39th, 79th and 78th to advance to the Elite Eight. This is one of the things that makes the challenge unlike any of the other fantasy fishing games;  an angler needs to only beat one other angler to advance, regardless of what place he finishes. McClelland may have taken advantage of some lackluster performances by his competitors, but have no doubt he can fish with the best of them. Expect McClelland to bounce back from his last two performances and have a top 40 finish on Kentucky Lake. The question is, will it be enough? 

Kentucky Lake History: With three events in 2008, 2009 and 2010 on Kentucky Lake during Elite Series competitions Mike McClelland has had mixed success. In 2008, he finished inside the top 10 in 4th place. In 2009, he slid down the leader board to 74th place. In 2010, he bounced back and finished in 36th place. McClelland is a streaky angler and while his finishes aren't always as consistent as others, he always has the skills and talent to win any given event.  He's not going to give the Final Four spot to Powroznik, and the winner of this matchup will be a serious threat to win it all. 

B.A.S.S. Statistics

  • TOP 10 FINISHES: 27
  • B.A.S.S. EARNINGS: $1,611,545.00
  • HOMETOWN: Bella Vista, AR
  • BIRTHDATE: December 29, 1967