Updated: Jan 9, 2019
Heading into the 2013 season, there was some buzz about the rookie class that was comprised of nine anglers making their debuts on the Elite Series. In December of 2012, The BASS ZONE ran a feature story about the 2013 Elite Series rookie class that featured six anglers who had experience on the FLW Tour prior to making their Elite Series debuts.
In December of 2012, The BASS ZONE ran a feature story about the 2013 Elite Series rookie class that featured six anglers who had experience on the FLW
Tour prior to making their Elite Series debuts.
Six seasons later, the majority of the 2013 rookies are making an impact on the professional bass fishing landscape.
To put things into perspective, here’s a look at the Elite Series rookie classes from 2011, 2012, and 2014:
The 2011 Elite Series rookie class was one of the largest in Elite Series history, boasting 15 newcomers including Dean Alexander, Keith Combs, Ott DeFoe, Travis Manson, Andy Montgomery, Brandon Palaniuk, Ben Parker, Russell Parrish, Ryan Said, Craig Schuff, Lee Sisson, James Stricklin, Jonathon VanDam, David Walker, and Nate Wellman.
Out of those 15 rookies, just six competed on the Elite Series in 2018 (Keith Combs, Ott DeFoe, Andy Montgomery, Brandon Palaniuk, Jonathon VanDam, and Davis Walker).
The 2012 Elite Series rookie class was comprised of 10 anglers including Kevin Ledoux, Jared Miller, Casey Scanlon, Chris Zaldain, Kyle Fox, Fletcher Shryock, Michael Simonton, Brandon Card, Cliff Prince, and Jamie Horton.
Four of the 10 rookies (Chris Zaldain, Fletcher Shryock, Brandon Card, and Cliff Prince) competed on the Elite Series in 2018.
14 anglers made up the 2014 Elite Series rookie class including Tracy Adams, Joel Baker, Glenn Browne, Brett Hite, Mike Kernan, Brandon Lester, Justin Lucas, Chad Morgenthaler, David Mullins, Jacob Powroznik, Trevor Romans, Joe Sancho, Randall Tharp, and Boo Woods.
Six of the 14 rookies (Brett Hite, Brandon Lester, Justin Lucas, David Mullins, Jacob Powroznik, and Randall Tharp) competed on the Elite Series in 2018.
The 2011, 2012, and 2014 Elite Series seasons saw a total of 39 rookies. By the conclusion of the 2018 season, just 16 of those anglers were still competing on the Elite Series (roughly 40%).
That brings us to the rookie class of the 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series season, which saw only nine newcomers join the ranks of the Elites including: Hank Cherry, Chad Pipkens, Jason Christie, James Elam, Chip Porche, Kevin Hawk, Kelley Jaye, Josh Bertrand, and Cliff Pirch.
Seven of the nine anglers from the 2013 rookie class are still competing at the professional level on either the Bassmaster Elite Series or the Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour.
Out of those seven still casting for cash, Four anglers from the 2013 rookie class qualified for the 2019 Bassmaster Classic through the 2018 Toyota Angler Of the Year points (Jason Christie, Cliff Pirch, James Elam, and Josh Bertrand).
Josh Bertrand finished in 2nd place in the TAOY standings in 2018 and also recorded an Elite Series win on the St. Lawrence River. He was the only angler in the field who cashed a check in all nine Elite Series tournaments this past season.
James Elam finished in 19th in the 2018 TAOY standings and won his first blue trophy at the TAOY Championship on Chatuge in Georgia. Cliff Pirch finished in 28th in the TAOY standings and Jason Christie finished in 34th.
While Christie, Elam, and Bertrand will be fishing the BPT this upcoming season, Cherry, Pipkens, Jaye, and Pirch will be returning to the Elite Series. Six years after the anglers of the 2013 Elite Series rookie class made their debuts, the majority of them are still making waves at the professional level.