Best of Elites To Meet

Best of Elites To Meet
Top 8, fans' picks face off at Bassmaster All-Star Week in Illinois

Top 8, fans' picks face off at Bassmaster All-Star Week in Illinois

DECATUR, Ill. — As the 2012 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year, Brent Chapman is red-hot in pro bass fishing. But he is going into Toyota Trucks All-Star Week stone-cold.

“As far as not really knowing anything about a couple bodies of water, this is definitely as new as it gets,” he said.

He’s not alone. Few, if any, of the dozen All-Star pros have competed on the two fisheries for this week’s event out of Decatur, Ill. The challenge of the unknown gets even harder: Anglers will be allowed only one day of practice on each lake.

The full field will compete Thursday and Friday on Lake Shelbyville, an 11,100-acre, clear water impoundment that stretches about 20 miles, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the lake, recently rated the largemouth bass fishing on Shelbyville as “excellent.”


There’s at least one thing about Lake Shelbyville that Chapman knows: toothy muskellunge live there.


“Musky tend to steal lures,” he said. “Say you want to use some baits you don’t have a lot of. You might not want to throw those lures. It makes you a bit nervous knowing that musky could be continually cutting your line.”


After two days on Shelbyville, the four pros with the most weight will advance on Saturday to Lake Decatur for the Evan Williams Bourbon All-Star Championship. Lake Decatur, a reservoir within the city of Decatur, will present a completely different set of fishing challenges to the four pros.

Only two will survive Saturday’s round. With weights zeroed, the last two will fish against each other Sunday on Lake Decatur. The angler with the most weight will claim $60,000 of the $100,000 All-Star purse.

Tough fisheries, tough format. Those factors alone will force the All-Star pros to reach deep down into their reservoirs of fishing knowledge. But there’s another layer of competition that each must deal with: the very high caliber of his competition.


The All-Star roster begins with the Top 8 in points from the regular Bassmaster Elite Series season. As the newly crowned Angler of the Year, Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kan., leads that list. The other seven points qualifiers are:

Ott DeFoe, Knoxville, Tenn., who won the All-Star event in 2011; Terry Scroggins, San Mateo, Fla., a five-time Bassmaster winner; Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas, a 2012 regular-season event winner; Randy Howell, Springville, Ala., who led the AOY race at one point in 2012; Matt Herren, Trussville, Ala., who stayed strong and high in the points standings throughout the season; Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., with his seven AOY trophies and four Bassmaster Classic titles; and Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla., six-time Bassmaster tournament champion.

Fans voted at Bassmaster.com to select the final four All-Star competitors. The winners were Michael Iaconelli, Pittsgrove, N.J.; Aaron Martens, Leeds, Ala.; Skeet Reese, Auburn, Calif.; and Gerald Swindle, Warrior, Ala. All four “Fan Favorites” own an Angler of the Year title and are coming off strong seasons.


 “My All-Star competitors are obviously the best of the best,” said Chapman, who is in his first Bassmaster postseason. “As a small field goes, they’re heavy-hitters, and it’s not going to be an easy event.”

Morning Takeoffs: Thursday and Friday, 7:30 a.m. CT at Lake Shelbyville’s Eagle Creek State Park, RR 1, Findley, Ill. On Saturday and Sunday, the pros will be on Lake Decatur. They’ll launch at 8 a.m. CT from Nelson Park, 2203 E. Lakeshore Drive, Decatur, Ill. Fans are invited to watch the takeoffs; there is no admission charge.

Weigh-ins: 5-6 p.m. CT, Thursday-Sunday at Nelson Park, 2203 E. Lakeshore Drive, Decatur, Ill. There is no admission charge to the weigh-ins. 

Recommended for You

Try these tips to improve your wild boar hunting skill set. Hogs

Quick Tips: How to Spot and Stalk a Hog

Ian Nance - May 28, 2019

Try these tips to improve your wild boar hunting skill set.

Adam Heggenstaller takes over after 14 years with NRA Publications. News

Game & Fish Magazine Names New Editorial Director

G&F Online Staff - May 23, 2019

Adam Heggenstaller takes over after 14 years with NRA Publications.

The Pennsylvania man's trophy fish was more than two pounds heavier than the previous record. Records

No Kidding: Angler Smashes Record for Lake Trout

Scott Bernarde - May 21, 2019

The Pennsylvania man's trophy fish was more than two pounds heavier than the previous record.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

MLF Pro Tips: How to Fish a New Lake

MLF Pro Tips: How to Fish a New Lake

Major League Fishing pros Alton Jones, Jeff Sprague, Anthony Gagliardi and James Watson share their thoughts on how to approach fishing a new lake for bass.

New Optimum and Optimum TS Downriggers from Canon

New Optimum and Optimum TS Downriggers from Canon

From rugged reliability to smooth integration of cutting edge technology across several different platforms, OSG's Lynn Burkhead learns that there's much to like about the new Optimum and Optimum TS downriggers from Canon.

Berkley

Berkley's Frittside Crankbaits

World Fishing Network show host Chad LaChance had a chance to visit with legendary crankbait master David Fritts about his new Frittside crankbaits from Berkley. LaChance, host of the Fishful Thinker on WFN, also got a few cranking tips from Fritts, the former Classic and Forrest Wood Cup champion.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews of smelly ingredients often used to catch catfish. Catfish

How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait

Keith Sutton - August 04, 2015

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews...

Unless you live in Antarctica, the only continent they aren't known to inhabit, there is a species Catfish

10 Biggest Catfish World Records of All Time

Jack Vitek - December 08, 2014

Unless you live in Antarctica, the only continent they aren't known to inhabit, there is a...

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options. Catfish

12 Great Catfish Baits

Jeff Samsel

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options.

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.