After discussing my fishing woes of 2020 last time, now I’m really excited to talk about the 2021 Bassmaster Elite Series and the new crop of anglers joining us. OK, maybe I should say returning anglers for some, and a welcome over for others. At the same time, though, I don’t want to forget the third group — the true rookies.
However you want to say it, we’re getting a heck of a group of anglers in the Elites next year.
Jason Christie and Greg Hackney are coming back. They qualified through the Opens. I qualified for the Tour — before the Elites existed — three years in a row so I know it’s not easy, but I also know it can be done. Jason and Greg are great anglers, fun guys to be around and guys I respect immensely.
Bryan New beat them all. He won the combined points for both Opens divisions. He’s a true rookie. I follow him on social media and really like his passion for the sport and his fun spirit. I know he’ll be a great addition to the Elites.
Matt Robertson, aka “ON ‘EM," is quite the personality and quite the angler. He’s been rocking B.A.S.S. Nation for a few years and has even made a previous Classic. Marc Frazier is Micah’s brother. All I know is that Marc was an outstanding baseball player, a nice guy and that he had an impressive Opens run in 2020. Really, that’s all I need to know.
And by the way, speaking of impressive, Kenta Kimura was always in the hunt this year. Obviously, that makes him a great angler. I love seeing new Japanese anglers because they often bring cutting-edge techniques to play. That helps my fishing and Missile Baits. I guess that’s a little selfish on my part, but hey …
The biggest show on the horizon is Scott Martin. By show, I mean social media wise and tournament accomplishment wise. I’ve known Scott since I was 21 years old. I knew him when he found Jesus. I can tell you that Scott is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever been around in my 20 years of professional bass fishing. He has the fire and the competitive edge, and it doesn’t look like that’s receding.
Others are coming into the Elites that need mentioning, too. Justin Atkins is quite an accomplished angler and nice guy. He’s going to be one to watch. Darold Gleason is friends with a number of Elite anglers already. It only takes a few minutes to see why. He’s a great dude. KJ Queen is a name I know from his success at Bethel University in the college events. I can’t say I know him personally, but anglers as young as he is don’t qualify for the Elites by accident. Those type of anglers have talent.
Pat Schlapper made it from the B.A.S.S. Nation, and it’s a name I’ve seen around for years. He should be fine. I have to admit that I don’t know Justin Hamner or Josh Stracner, but I look forward to doing so. If they’re here it’s because they deserve to be here. Fishing at the top is something you earn.
All these new, or new again, guys are going to add something to the existing Elite field. Our anglers — from all over the world — have evolved into an amazing group of competitive anglers.
I can’t wait to get my new Bass Cat in and get it rigged. I’m super ready to go to battle against the 2021 field.