Bassmaster Opens Elite Qualifiers Division Has Mix Of Veteran Stars, Young Heavyweights

Published 8:30 am Saturday, December 10, 2022

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For the past several years, the St. Croix Bassmaster Opens have been incredibly popular, as the competition to earn a spot on the Bassmaster Elite Series has become more intense than ever.


Now, the Opens will feature the added intrigue of a trail within the trail — and some of the biggest names in bass fishing will make up that field.


The Opens Elite Qualifiers division will consist of 175 anglers who’ve signed up to fish all nine events on the 2023 schedule. Though Opens tournament winners will still earn a berth into the 2024 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic, only those in the EQs division — the ones who fish all nine events — will be eligible to qualify for one of nine coveted invitations to fish the Elite Series.


Veteran California pro Ish Monroe — one of the giants of the sport who is returning to B.A.S.S. after several years away — hopes to achieve an Elite invitation while swinging nine times for his 11th career Classic berth.


“I’m gonna fish every tournament to try to win,” said Monroe, who has one previous Bassmaster Opens victory in addition to four Elite Series wins. “My dream is to win the Classic, and you can’t win the Classic if you’re not in it. I feel like, if I go out and fish to win every event — even if I don’t win — I’m still going to fall in that check range. If I fall in that check range at every event, I qualify for the Elites.”


Another superstar of professional bass fishing who has joined the Opens EQs field is Florida veteran Bobby Lane, a two-time winner with B.A.S.S., a 12-time Classic qualifier and the reigning Redcrest champion.


Like Monroe, Lane has publicly stated that his goal is to not only requalify for the Elites after several years away but to win a Classic title like his brother, Chris, did in 2012. Lane has four Top 10 Classic finishes, including a second-place showing in the 2015 event at Lake Hartwell.


Tennessee pro Brad Knight, the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup champion, has also entered the EQs fray, along with a string of former Elites, including Destin DeMarionCharlie HartleyDale HightowerHarvey HorneShane LinebergerYusuke MiyazakiKyle MontiJames NiggemeyerGarrett Paquette and Casey Scanlon.


Joining the seasoned veterans will be a long list of talented up-and-comers with true star potential, including former Bassmaster High School All-American and college superstar Logan Parks, former College Classic Bracket winner and High School All-American Trevor McKinney and Louis Monetti, part of this year’s Bassmaster College Team of the Year and winner of the 2022 College Classic Bracket presented by Lew’s.


Monroe said the field will be formidable, but he’s glad to see the Bassmaster Opens make the format switch, requiring anglers to fish all nine events to qualify for the Elites instead of just three in one part of the country.


“It’s an avenue to the Classic; it’s an avenue to the Elites; it’s a lot of different things,” he said. “I’ve got so many mixed, good emotions about the EQs. I love that you have to fish all nine now to qualify because it takes that regional guy who is phenomenal in his region and forces him to travel. It forces him to be good enough to actually be on the Elite Series.


“The Elites [are] the top level of bass fishing. It’s the deal. You have a hundred guys who are good everywhere they go — and to be thrown into that, you have to be better than just good in your region. You have to be good everywhere.”


B.A.S.S. Executive Director of Tournaments Hank Weldon, who oversees the Opens trail, was thrilled with the overwhelming response to the EQs format — the 175 anglers who signed up this year more than double the number who fished all nine events last year.


He says he’s anxious to get started with the new season.


“I was already looking forward to the new year, just because I feel like we have one of the best schedules we’ve had in a long time,” Weldon said. “But now you throw in the format change and all of the people who are so excited to take part in the EQs; I absolutely can’t wait.”


2023 Opens Elite Qualifiers Field:



Clayton Barnes, Clanton, AL

Bailey Boutries, Mobile, AL

Jon Canada, Helena, AL

Cody Detweiler, Guntersville, AL

Tom Frink, Southside, AL

Sam George, Athens, AL

Wesley Gore, Clanton, AL

Zeke Gossett, Pell City, AL

Nikki Jo Hatten, Clanton, AL

Logan Johnson, Jasper, AL

Jake Maddux, Birmingham, AL

Joey Nania, Cropwell, AL

Tripp Noojin, Bryant, AL

Logan Parks, Auburn, AL

Griffin Phillips, Mount Olive, AL

J T Russell, McCalla, AL

Caiden Sinclair, Logan, AL

Trey Swindle, Cleveland, AL

Brady Vernon, Sterrett, AL



Phil Killian, Solomon, AZ

Julius Mazy, Phoenix, AZ



Evan Barnes, Dardanelle, AR

Greg Bohannan, Bentonville, AR

Scout Echols, Monticello, AR

Harvey Horne, Bella Vista, AR

Jason Lieblong, Conway, AR


Ish Monroe, Oakdale, CA



Jason Carpenter, Castle Pines, CO

Tyrel Faber, Pagosa Springs, CO



Kurt Mitchell, Milford, DE



Darrell Davis, Dover, FL

Tim Frederick, Leesburg, FL

Josh Hubbard, Dunnellon, FL

Teb Jones, Yalaha, FL

Scott Kerslake, Okeechobee, FL

Chris Kingree, Inverness, FL

Bobby Lane, Lakeland, FL

Brandon McMillan, Clewiston, FL

Jason Meninger, Yulee, FL

Ricardo Mitchell, Naples, FL

Kyle Monti, Okeechobee, FL

Christian Shoda, Crystal River, FL

Blake Smith, Lakeland, FL

Mike Surman, Boca Raton, FL

Daniel Valois Gomez, Coral Springs, FL



Josh Bragg, Fayetteville, GA

Allen Brooks, Canton, GA

Tony Dumitras, Winston, GA

Matt Henry, Milledgeville, GA

Justin Kimmel, Athens, GA

James Meers, Rome, GA

Jesse Millsaps, Jasper, GA

Logan Shaddix, Cummings, GA

Cody Stahl, Barnsville, GA


Kyle Gelles, Pingree, ID



Tyler Lubbat, Wheeling, IL

Trevor McKinney, Benton, IL

Trey McKinney, Carbondale, IL

A.J. Menssen, Bloomington, IL



Billy McDonald, Greenwood, IN



Chancy Walters, West Des Moines, IA



Chris Beaudrie, Princeton, KY

Danger Kelly, Somerset, KY

Bobby Lanham, Eddyville, KY

Lafe Messer, Warfield, KY

Matt Messer, Warfield, KY

Tommy Williams, Shepherdsville, KY



Jim Dillard, West Monroe, LA

Alex Heintze, Denham Springs, LA

Bronk McDaniel, Alexandria, LA

Alex Murray, Lake Charles, LA

Clark Reehm, Elm Grove, LA

Blake Sylvester, Plaquemine, LA

B.J. Usie, Bourg, LA



Tyler Williams, Belgrade, ME



Brian Mullaney, Ijamsville, MD

Reece Tremaglio, Dunkirk, MD



Buck Mallory, Lawton, MI

Garrett Paquette, Canton, MI

Paul Tabisz, Whitmore Lake, MI

Bo Thomas, Edwardsburg, MI



Denny Fiedler, Wabasha, MN

Chad Grigsby, Maple Grove, MN

Brad Leuthner, Independence, MN

Keith Tuma, Brainerd, MN



Keith Brumfield, Vicksburg, MS

Jerry Riddle Jr., Summit, MS



Casey Scanlon, Eldon, MO



Brock Belik, Orchard, NE


New York                   

Zach Goutremout, Chaumont, NY

Kyle Patrick, Cooperstown, NY


North Carolina                       

Logan Anderson, Catawba, NC

Jeremy Bogard, Wilkesboro, NC

Craig Chambers, Midland, NC

Shane Lineberger, Lincolnton, NC

Louis Monetti, Charlotte, NC

Brayden Rakes, Winston Salem, NC



Willy Dennison, Willoughby Hills, OH

Charlie Hartley, Grove City, OH



Sterling Bougher, Mannford, OK

Austin Cranford, Norman, OK

Dale Hightower, Mannford, OK

Allan Nail, Sand Springs, OK

Matt Pangrac, Bixby, OK

Steve Tennison, Lexington, OK

Chad Warren, Sand Springs, OK



Destin DeMarion, Harborcreek, PA

Jonathan Dietz, Corry, PA

Joe Labarbera, Montrose, PA


South Carolina           

Kyle Austin, Ridgeville, SC

Chris Blanchette, Charleston, SC

Cole Drummond, Effingham, SC

Derek Lehtonen, Woodruff, SC

Matt Mollohan, Batesburg, SC

Lance Owen, Greer, SC

Jacob Thompkins, Myrtle Beach, SC

JT Thompkins, Myrtle Beach, SC

Timmy Thompkins, Myrtle Beach, SC


South Dakota              

Kenny Mittelstaedt, Sturgis, SD



Jason Abram, Piney Flats, TN

Miles Burghoff, Dayton, TN

John Garrett, Union City, TN

Robert Gee, Knoxville, TN

Chris Keeble, Lenoir City, TN

Brad Knight, Lancing, TN

Jason Lambert, Savannah, TN

Jacob Pyles, Nolensville, TN

Hunter Sales, Blaine, TN

Jaxon Sullivan, Reagan, TN

Jimmy Washam, Stantonville, TN

Taylor Watkins, Clinton, TN

David Wootton, Collierville, TN

Kenji Yamada, Hixson, TN



Paul Browning, Pecos, TX

Shaine Campbell, Brookeland, TX

Brett Cannon, Willis, TX

Richard Cathey, San Antonio, TX

Hugh Cosculluela, Spring, TX

Joey Hanna, Corsicana, TX

Andrew Hargrove, Moody, TX

Andrew Harp, Linden, TX

Scott Isaacs, Ladonia, TX

Terry Luedtke, Burton, TX

Mike Mayo, Athens, TX

Ben Milliken, New Caney, TX

Yusuke Miyazaki, Forney, TX

James Niggemeyer, Van, TX

Danny Ramsey, Trinidad, TX

Marc Schilling, Carrollton, TX

Steve Sennikoff, Edgewood, TX

Bart Stanisz, Wichita Falls, TX

Jimmy Steed, Zapata, TX

Jack Tindel, Orange, TX

Andrew Upshaw, Hemphill, TX

Jack York, Emory, TX



Steve Morella, Townshend, VT



Chase Clarke, Virginia Beach, VA

Jack Dice, Lynchburg, VA

David Perdue, Wirtz, VA

Jason Tibbetts, Centreville, VA


West Virginia             

Wil Dieffenbauch, Morgantown, WV

Brandon Tallhamer, Parkersburg, WV



Jacob Bigelow, Cecil, WI

Kyle Goltz, Cornell, WI

Brian Post, Janesville, WI

Adam Rasmussen, Sturgeon Bay, WI



Paul Bouvier, Kingston, Ontario

Jamie Bruce, Kenora, Ontario

Ryan Clark, Whitby, Ontario

Evan Kung, Pickering, Ontario

Danny McGarry, Newcastle, Ontario



Seiji Kato, Otsu, Shiga

Kenta Kimura, Hirakata, Osaka

Daisuke Kita, Otsu, Shiga

Takayuki Koike, Otsu, Shiga


About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S., which encompasses the Bassmaster tournament leagues, events and media platforms, is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 515,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (, TV show, radio show, social media programs and events. For more than 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, St. Croix Bassmaster Opens Series presented by Mossy Oak Fishing, TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Strike King Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Abu Garcia Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Team Championship, Yamaha Rightwaters Bassmaster Kayak Series powered by TourneyX, Yamaha Bassmaster Redfish Cup Championship presented by Skeeter and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic.