2007 Bassmaster Classic Champion, Federation Nation National Champion Also Will Have Opportunities t

CELEBRATION, Fla. – On the heels of a successful inaugural Bassmaster Elite Series season, 108 of the world’s best anglers will compete in the 2007 Bassmaster Elite Series, BASS, the worldwide authority on bass fishing announced today. The 108 anglers represent 177 BASS tournament victories, 13 Bassmaster Angler of the Year titles and 11 Bassmaster Classic victories.

The star-studded field will kick off the 2007 Bassmaster Elite Series season in less than three months with the “Battle on the Border presented by Longhorn” on Lake Amistad in Del Rio, Texas, March 8-11. During the course of the season, the Elite field will compete for nearly $7.5 million in cash during the 11-event circuit, while co-anglers will vie for more than $1.2 million in cash and awards.

“We are excited to build on what we all accomplished in our inaugural season of the Elite Series,” said Jim Downs, BASS senior director of events. “The feedback that we have received from anglers who are both qualified and those who are seeking to qualify has been tremendous. This is truly a field of elite anglers.”

The 11 Elite Series events will determine one of the most prestigious awards in bass fishing, the Bassmaster Angler of the Year, which qualifies anglers for the Elite Series and the Classic and will award a $600,000 total prize purse in 2007 including a $125,000 grand prize.

“I have fished a number of different levels and a number of different tournament series all over the world,” said Mike Iaconelli, the reigning Bassmaster Angler of the Year. “You can’t find the prestige and the level of competition associated with the Bassmaster Elite Series anywhere else. This is the highest level of competitive tournament fishing and that really means something to me.”

Although the majority of the field is set, there are two spots to be determined. The 2007 Bassmaster Classic champion and the 2007 Federation Nation National champion will both be eligible for the 2007 Elite Series.

While many 2007 Elite anglers will be familiar faces who competed on the groundbreaking circuit in its initial season, a host of new anglers who qualified through one of two Bassmaster Tours and the season-ending Bassmaster Elite Series Wildcard tournament will participate in 2007. A complete list of 2007 Elite anglers organized in alphabetical order can be found below.

“I have always dreamt of qualifying for the top level of bass fishing and right now, by far and away, that is the Elite Series,” said Texan James Niggemeyer, who qualified for the Bassmaster Elite Series from his first-place finish in the Bassmaster Southern Tour points standings. “This is the only place where you can develop a career financially and remain an asset to your sponsors. This is just a dream come true.”

To download related photos and the Bassmaster Elite Series logo, click here.

BASS is the worldwide authority on bass fishing, sanctioning more than 20,000 events through the BASS Federation Nation 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 sanctions and 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 530,000 members. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.

For more information, contact BASS/ESPN Outdoors Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit