Meet The Anglers Fishing The Classic

Anglers from 21 states have qualified to compete in the 2011 Bassmaster Classic, slated for the Louisiana Delta out of New Orleans February 18-20, 2011.


The revered competition will be held on the Louisiana Delta out of New Orleans, La.-the first Classic on those waters since Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The fishery is reportedly in excellent condition, but adapting to the impacts of those events presents additional challenges for the competitors.

Alabama leads all states with 10 residents in the 50-angler field. Oklahoma and Texas each have five, Arkansas four, and Florida and South Carolina each have three.

The complete list of competitors and bios is below, listed by state.


One of the qualifying fishermen is not an American: Morizo Shimizu of Osaka, Japan.

Leading the field is reigning Bassmaster Classic and Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year (AOY) champion Kevin VanDam. The Kalamazoo, Mich., fisherman won his first Bassmaster Classic in 2001 on the Louisiana Delta, and is only the second angler in B.A.S.S. history to hold both the Classic and Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year titles simultaneously. He now owns three Classic and six AOY titles.

Also qualifying for the 2011 Bassmaster Classic:


  • The top 36 anglers in the 2010 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster AOY standings derived from the 2010 Bassmaster Elite Series.
  • The top two anglers in Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series points standings in each of three 2010 Opens Divisions.
  • Six amateur competitors through the 2010 Bassmaster Federation Nation Championship presented by Yamaha and Skeeter Boats.
  • The winner of the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series operated by American Bass Anglers.

The 2011 Bassmaster Classic will feature daily launches Feb. 18-20 at the Bayou Segnette State Park. Daily weigh-ins will take place at the New Orleans Arena, and the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center will host the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo presented by Dick's Sporting Goods.

2011 Bassmaster Classic qualifiers by state

  • Alabama

    George Crain, Cropwell. Trips to Classic: 1. Career earnings: $2,247. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: BFN Southern Division champion. Member of the Shoal Creek Bass Chasers. Has fished B.A.S.S. events for 12 years. Is a retired firefighter. Scored a 4th-place finish in a 2005 Bassmaster Series event on Alabama's Lake Martin.

    Boyd Duckett, Demopolis. Trips to Classic: 5. Career earnings: $1,199,890. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 25th place, AOY. Became first angler ever to win the Classic in his home state in 2007, on Alabama's Lay Lake. Recently started his own fishing product company, Duckett Fishing. Has 13 Top-10 finishes in 79 career B.A.S.S. events. Joined the B.A.S.S. Millionaires Club during 2008 Elite Series season.

    Matt Herren, Trussville. Trips to Classic: 3. Career earnings: $207,210. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 19th place, AOY. Fished his rookie Elite Series season in 2009. Runner-up in 2009 Toyota Tundra Rookie of the Year race. Has finished in the money 24 of 40 career entries.

    Steve Kennedy, Auburn. Trips to Classic: 5. Career earnings: $836,013. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 31st place, AOY. Set the four-day, 5-bass limit weight record with 122 lbs, 14 oz. at Clear Lake, Calif., in 2007. Is the only three-time member of B.A.S.S. Century Club. Finished in the money in 48 of 68 career entries.

    Russ Lane, Prattville. Trips to Classic: 4. Career earnings: $539,238. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 7th place, AOY. Winner of first 2010 postseason event on the Lake Jordan, his only B.A.S.S. win. Finished in the money 51 of 80 career entries. Finished 4th in 2010 Lay Lake, Ala., Classic.

    Aaron Martens, Leeds. Trips to Classic: 12. Career earnings: $1,578,862. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 5th place, AOY. 2005 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year. Runner-up in the 2002, 2004 and 2005 Classics. Finished in the money 109 of 148 career entries. Joined B.A.S.S. Century Club with a 108 lbs.-4 oz. catch at South Carolina's Santee Cooper in 2006.

    Derek Remitz, Grant. Trips to Classic: 3. Career earnings: $517,365. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 11th place, AOY. Remitz won his very first Elite Series event, the 2007 contest on Texas' Lake Amistad. He went on to win Rookie of the Year in 2007. Finished in the money 53 of 82 career entries. Remitz is the youngest angler to have competed in both B.A.S.S. postseasons.

    Gerald Swindle, Warrior. Trips to Classic: 11. Career earnings: $1,045,671. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 28th place, AOY. Is only Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year without a B.A.S.S. win. Two Top-10 finishes in 2010 Elite Series season. Finished in the money 105 of 166 career entries. Finished 20th in 2010 Lay Lake, Ala., Classic. Joined B.A.S.S. Millionaires Club during 2010 Elite Series season.

    Randall Tharp, Gardendale. Trips to Classic: 1. Career earnings: $119,212. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 1st place, Southern Opens. Has two B.A.S.S. wins, both in the 2008 Southern Opens tour. Has finished in the money in 15 of 18 career entries. Had two Top-5 finishes in 2010 Southern Opens season.

    Greg Vinson, Wetumpka. Trips to Classic: 1. Career earnings: $143,083. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 30th place, AOY. Has one B.A.S.S. win, on Alabama's Lake Martin in 2006. Has two runner-up finishes. Finished in the money in 26 of 41 career entries. Fished his rookie season in 2009.

  • Arizona

    Dean Rojas, Lake Havasu City. Trips to Classic: 9. Career earnings: $1,263,818. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 32nd place, AOY. Joined B.A.S.S. Millionaires Club during the 2008 Elite Series season. Holds the record for the largest one-day stringer in B.A.S.S. history with 45 lbs.-2 oz. on Florida's Lake Tohopekaliga in 2001. Two Top-15 finishes in 2010 Elite Series season. Has three B.A.S.S. wins.

  • Arkansas

    Stephen Browning, Hot Springs. Trips to Classic: 7. Career earnings: $741,175. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 21st place AOY. Winner of 1998 Alabama Top 150 on Logan Martin Lake. Best Classic finish is 7th (1997, Logan Martin Lake). Was featured in a National Geographic television show about the Mississippi River in 2010.

    Mark Davis, Mt. Ida. Trips to Classic: 15. Career earnings: $1,352,627. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 14th place, AOY. Has five B.A.S.S. wins. In other Classics on the Louisiana Delta, Davis has finished 23rd (2001), 31st (2003) and 21st (1999). Has finished in the money in 141 of 217 career entries. Fished his latest Classic in 2009.

    Mike McClelland, Bella Vista. Trips to Classic: 8. Career earnings: $1,225,231. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 15th place, AOY. Six-time B.A.S.S. winner. Finished in the money in 92 of 159 career events. Winner of the 2008 Sunshine Showdown on Florida's Harris Chain of Lakes. Finished 29th at 2010 Bassmaster Classic on Alabama's Lay Lake.

    Scott Rook, Little Rock. Trips to Classic: 8. Career earnings: $1,115,054. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 17th place, AOY. Three Top-10 finishes in 2010 Elite Series season. Finished in the money in 95 of 146 career entries. Rook has been fishing B.A.S.S. Events since 1997. His lone win came during a 2006 Bassmaster Legends event on the Arkansas River in his hometown of Little Rock.

  • California

    Skeet Reese, Auburn. Trips to Classic: 12. Career earnings: $2,446,553. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 3rd place, AOY. In a repeat of the 2009 Postseason, Reese narrowly lost to Kevin VanDam (and Edwin Evers) for a second time. Six Top-10 finishes in the 2010 Elite Series season. Four Top-10 Classic finishes. Passed $2 million mark in 2009 season. Two-time member of B.A.S.S. Century Club.

  • Delaware

    Brian LaClair, Denton. Trips to Classic: 1. Career earnings: $1,000. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: BFN Mid-Atlantic Division champion. Member of Three Ponds Bassmasters. Works as a driver and salesman for the seafood industry. Calls the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay his home waters. Both Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River are tidal fisheries, much like the Louisiana Delta.

  • Florida

    Shaw Grigsby, Gainesville. Trips to Classic: 13. Career earnings: $1,720,023. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 24th place, AOY. Eight-time B.A.S.S. winner. Finished in the money in 153 of 268 career entries. Has finished in the Top 10 in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race nine times and in the Top-5 five times.

    Bobby Lane, Lakeland. Trips to Classic: 4. Career earnings: $474,658. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 26th place, AOY. 2008 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Rookie of the Year. Finished in the money in 33 of 44 career events. Winner of 2009 SpongeTech Tennessee Triumph at Kentucky Lake, Ky.

    Terry Scroggins, San Mateo. Trips to Classic: 8. Career earnings: $1,266,998. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 36th place, AOY. Joined the B.A.S.S. Millionaires Club during 2008 Elite Series season. Has finished in the money in 83 of 121 career events. Five-time B.A.S.S. winner. Nearly beat one-day catch record with 44 lbs.-4 oz. on Falcon Lake during the 2008 Elite Series season.

  • Idaho

    Brandon Palaniuk, Rathdrum. Trips to Classic: 1. Career earnings: $60,000. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: FNC overall champion. Member of the Panhandle Bassmasters in Idaho. Works as a heavy-equipment operator. Will fish the 2011 Elite Series as a rookie. Teamed up with fellow Idahoan Bill Golightly for practice on the Red River in the FNC.

  • Indiana

    Bill Lowen, Brookville. Trips to Classic: 3. Career earnings: $451,995. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 20th place, AOY. Two Top-10 finishes in 2010 Elite Series season. Finished in the money in 37 of his 58 career entries. Finished 23rd at 2009 Bassmaster Classic on Louisiana's Red River.

    David Watson, Sullivan. Trips to Classic: 1. Career earnings: $250. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: FNC Northern Division champion. Has been fishing BFN qualifiers since the early 90s. Works as a pipefitter. Member of the Strip Pit Bassers. The thing he's most looking forward to about his first Classic? "Winning it," he said.

  • Japan

    Morizo Shimizu, Osaka. Trips to Classic: 1. Career earnings: $437,749. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 18th place, AOY. Shimizu lays claim to one B.A.S.S. win: a 2006 Elite Series event on Kentucky Lake in Kentucky. Has finished in the money in 34 of 80 career entries. Had two Top-20 finishes in 2010 Elite Series season.

  • Kansas

    Brent Chapman, Lake Quivira. Trips to Classic: 10. Career earnings: $1,076,193. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 33rd place AOY. Was 5th at 2010 Bassmaster Classic on Alabama's Lay Lake. Finished in the money in 114 of 180 career events. Surpassed $1 million in winnings during 2009 Elite Series season.

  • Kentucky

    Kevin Wirth, Crestwood. Trips to Classic: 12. Career earnings: $1,066,494. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 34th place, AOY. Rode Mythical Ruler in the 1981 Kentucky Derby, finishing 17th. Until his win at Old Hickory during the 2008 Elite Series season, Wirth was winless in B.A.S.S. competition for 14 years. Finished in the money in 114 of 198 career events.

  • Louisiana

    Greg Hackney, Gonzales. Trips to Classic: 9. Career earnings: $1,221,203. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 8th place, AOY. Has finished in the money in 78 of 99 career events. Three-time B.A.S.S. winner. 2004 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Rookie of the Year. Had two Top-10 finishes in the 2010 Elite Series season and two Top-10 finishes in the 2010 postseason.

  • Michigan

    Ryan Said, Wixom. Trips to Classic: 1. Career earnings: $37,673. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 1st place, Northern Opens. Said is an engineer for Chrysler. Said has only competed in five B.A.S.S. events, three of which are the past Northern Opens season that qualified him for the 2011 Classic. Fellow Michigander Kevin VanDam is Said's hero.

    Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo. Defending Bassmaster Classic champion. Trips to Classic: 21. Career earnings: $4,578,976. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 2010 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year. Three-time Classic winner (2001, 2005, 2010). Six-time Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year (1992, 1996, 1999, 2008, 2009 and 2010). B.A.S.S.'s all-time leading money winner. Longest active Classic streak with 21. First and only B.A.S.S. angler to top $4 million in career earnings.

  • Mississippi

    Paul Elias, Laurel. Trips to Classic: 15. Career earnings: $862, 045. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 37th place, AOY. Won 1982 Classic by his now famous "kneeling and reeling" technique, which he used to win in 2008 Elite Series event on Texas' Falcon Lake, where he set the all-time 4-day, 5-bass limit of 132 lbs.-8 oz. Has six B.A.S.S. wins.

    Cliff Pace, Petal. Trips to Classic: 4. Career earnings: $592,270. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 6th place, AOY. Two-time B.A.S.S. winner. Runner-up at 2008 Bassmaster Classic on Lake Hartwell. Three Top-10 finishes in 2010 Elite Series season. Placed 7th and 5th in two 2010 postseason events.

  • Missouri

    Brian Snowden, Reeds Spring. Trips to Classic: 5. Career earnings: $619,945. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 13th place, AOY. Snowden has yet to win a B.A.S.S. event, but has four runner-up finishes. Four Top-15 finishes in 2010 Elite Series season. Best Classic finish is 3rd in 2009 on Louisiana's Red River.

  • New Jersey

    Michael Iaconelli, Pittsgrove. Trips to Classic: 12. Career earnings: $1,715,121. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 22nd place, AOY. Bassmaster Angler of the Year in 2006. Bassmaster Classic champion in 2003. Runner-up at 2009 Bassmaster Classic. Only angler to win Federation Nation Championship, Bassmaster Classic and Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year.

  • North Carolina

    Tracy Adams, Wilkesboro. Trips to Classic: 1. Career earnings: $21,360. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 2nd place Northern Opens. The 2010 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Opens were Adams' first three B.A.S.S. events. In the three events, he placed 3rd, 33rd, and 6th.

    Dave Wolak, Wake Forest. Trips to Classic: 5. Career earnings: $871,634. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 23rd place, AOY. Wolak has two B.A.S.S. wins, his first in 2006 and his most recent during the 2010 Northern Open event on Lake Champlain. Has finished in the money in 62 of 92 career entries.

  • Oklahoma

    Tommy Biffle, Wagoner. Trips to Classic: 17. Career earnings: $1,719,440. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 9th place, AOY. Of all 2010 competitors, Biffle has the third most Classic qualifications. Winner of 2010 Elite Series event on Ft. Gibson lake, which he lives near. During the pre-fish period for the Ft. Gibson event, Biffle felt he knew the water well enough that he could mow his yard rather than pre-fish, which he did.

    Terry Butcher, Talala. Trips to Classic: 2. Career earnings: $513,892. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 4th place AOY. Winner of two Central Opens (2005, Lake Sam Rayburn; 2008, Lake Texoma). Is brother-in-law to Elite Series pro Edwin Evers. Finished in the money in 42 of 76 career entries. Had three Top-10 finishes in 2010 Elite Series season.

    Edwin Evers, Talala. Trips to Classic: 10. Career earnings: $1,479,052. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 2nd place, AOY. Evers is brother-in-law to fellow Elite Series pro Terry Butcher. By virtue of his 2nd- and 9th-place finishes in 2010 Postseason events, Evers slipped past Skeet Reese for the runner-up spot in the 2010 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race, his best AOY finish to date.

    Dale Hightower, Terlton. Trips to Classic: 1. Career earnings: $400. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: BFN Central Division champion. Besides regional qualifiers and the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Championship in Shreveport, La., in 2010, Hightower has only entered one B.A.S.S. event: a Bassmaster Central Open in 2007. Is a member of the MOB (Mid-Oklahoma Bassmasters). Works as a refrigeration contractor.

    Jeff Kriet, Ardmore. Trips to Classic: 7. Career earnings: $799,783. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 27th place, AOY. Three Top-20 finishes in 2010 Elite Series season. Winner of 1998 Oklahoma Invitational on Lake Texoma. Finished 2nd in 2010 Bassmaster Classic on Alabama's Lay Lake.

  • South Carolina

    Ryan McMurtury, Abbeville. Trips to Classic: 1. Career earnings: $100,000. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 2010 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series champion. Won the Weekend Series Championship despite his boat breaking down in practice. The Classic will be his first full-fledged B.A.S.S. event. McMurtury has tried his hand at everything from coaching football to police work to art. He's also a certified surgical technician.

    Andy Montgomery, Blacksburg. Trips to Classic: 1. Career earnings: $52,941. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 2nd place, Southern Opens. Never finished outside the Top-15 during 2010 Southern Opens season, including a win on Alabama's Smith Lake. Has finished in the money in four of six career entries. Fished as a non-boater during the 2006 B.A.S.S. event on the Potomac River, Md.

    Jason Williamson, Aiken. Trips to Classic: 1. Career earnings: $521,711. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 29th place, AOY. Has two B.A.S.S. victories, both at the Elite level (2009 and 2010). Finished in the money in 33 of 58 career entries. Has three runner-up finishes, two in 2006 and one in 2010.

  • Texas

    Keith Combs, Del Rio. Trips to Classic: 1. Career earnings: $31,785. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 1st place, Central Opens. Of the three Opens circuit winners in 2010, Combs had the widest margin of victory: 58 points. In each of his four B.A.S.S. entries, Combs has placed in the Top-15. His worst finish is 12th during a 2008 Central Open on Lake Texoma. Placed 3rd in the 2010 Lake Texoma event.

    Todd Faircloth, Jasper. Trips to Classic: 9. Career earnings: $1,217,225. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 16th place, AOY. Finished in the money in 103 of 143 career events. Runner-up in 2008 AOY race. Joined the B.A.S.S. Millionaires Club during 2009 season. Joined B.A.S.S. Century Club with a 100 lbs.-5 oz. catch at Lake Amistad, Texas, in 2007.

    Kelly Jordon, Palestine. Trips to Classic: 9. Career earnings: $1,294,724. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 35th place, AOY. Two-time member of B.A.S.S. Century Club with 100-plus-pound catches at South Carolina's Santee Cooper in 2006 and California's Clear Lake in 2007. Has finished in the money in 93 of 137 career events. Four-time B.A.S.S. winner.

    Gary Klein, Weatherford. Trips to Classic: 29. Career earnings: $1,875,942. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 10th place, AOY. Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year (1989 and 1993). Seven Top-10 Classic finishes, including 2nd in 2003. Holds the record for most Classics fished without a win. Third in all-time B.A.S.S. events fished with 328, and has earned a check in 227 of those.

    Clark Reehm, Lufkin. Trips to Classic: 2. Career earnings: $220,756. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 2nd place, Central Opens. Had a runner-up finish in his rookie Elite Series season (2008) on Texas' Lake Amistad. Finished in the money in 30 of 57 career entries. Finished 8th in 2008 Classic on Lake Hartwell in Greenville, S.C.

  • Vermont

    Sean Alvarez, Rutland. Trips to Classic: 1. Career earnings: $2,007. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: BFN Eastern Division champion. Besides the 2010 BFNC, Alvarez has only competed in six B.A.S.S. events. Of those six events, Alvarez has finished in the money twice, once in 2005 and again in 2009.

  • Virginia

    John Crews, Salem. Trips to Classic: 5. Career earnings: $619,977. Qualified for 2011 Classic as: 12th place, AOY. Notched first B.A.S.S. victory during 2010 Elite Series event on the California Delta. Highest Classic finish is 16th at 2008 event on Lake Hartwell in Greenville, S.C. Finished in the money in 58 of 102 career entries. Claims to be one of the fittest anglers on tour.

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