The 2018 Bassmaster Elite Series field has been set, and seven anglers from the Carolinas made the cut, including one rookie.
South Carolina has four anglers in the field, and they are all veterans of the Elite Series. Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg is back, as is Casey Ashley of Donalds, Marty Robinson of Lyman, and Jason Williamson of Wagener. All four qualified based on their points standings in the 2017 Elite Series.
The Tarheel State will be represented by Hank Cherry Jr. of Lincolnton, who has fished the Elite Series for several years and qualified through his overall standing in the 2017 season. David Fritts will also fish the series this year after gaining a Legends qualifying spot. Jake Whitaker of Fairview is the only Carolina newcomer to the series, and will compete for Rookie of the Year honors after qualifying through the Bassmaster Opens in 2017.
The 2018 field is made up of 111 anglers, including 99 who fished the series in 2017. Nine anglers who fished the 2017 trail failed to make the cut for 2018.
The Elite season begins in February, and will take a break for the month of March when many of the anglers will compete in the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods at South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell in the middle of the month. The Elite Series picks back up in April and runs through August.
Three Carolina anglers who fished the 2017 Elite Series, Shane Lineberger of Lincolnton, N.C., Britt Myers of Lake Wylie, S.C., and David Williams of Newton, N.C. did not make the 2018 cut, and will compete in the Bassmaster Opens in hopes of reclaiming their spots for the 2019 season.
Other than the Classic on Hartwell, the Elite Series schedule does not have any regular stops on lakes in the Carolinas, but the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship will be held on the North Carolina/Georgia border. Lake Chatuge will host the postseason event Sept. 20 - 23, and will feature the 50 top-ranked anglers in the Elite Series based on points accrued throughout the 2018 season.