2011 Bassmaster Classic field set, Hackney lone Louisiana angler

The 2011 Bassmaster Classic field of 51 anglers was finalized Saturday (Nov. 6) when South Carolina’s Ryan McMurtury won the Bassmaster Weekend Series Championship to score the final Classic berth. Joining him will be a single Louisiana angler: Gonzales’ Greg Hackney.

Hackney earned his Classic berth through the Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year race, in which he ended the 2010 season in eight place. This is Hackney’s ninth opportunity to win the most-prestigious title in bass fishing.

He already has won the FLW Championship once, pocketing $500,000 for that event in 2009.

The 41st Classic will be held Feb. 18-20 on the Louisiana Delta out of New Orleans. The field is highlighted by reigning Bassmaster Classic and Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year Champion Kevin VanDam.

VanDam, who won his first Bassmaster Classic in 2001 on the Louisiana Delta, is only the second angler in BASS 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 were the top 36 anglers in the 2010 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings derived from the 20010 Bassmaster Elite Series; the top two anglers in the Bassmaster Open points standings in each of three 2010 Opens Divisions; and six amateur competitors through the 2010 Bassmaster Federation Nation Championship.

Qualifying for the Classic title through the Bassmaster Elite Series were:

Kevin Van Dam (Michigan)
• Edwin Evers (Oklahoma)
• Skeet Reese (California)
• Terry Butcher (Oklahoma)
• Aaron Martens (Alabama)
• Cliff Pace (Mississippi)
• Russ Lane (Alabama)
• Greg Hackney (Louisiana)
• Tommy Biffle (Oklahoma)
• Gary Klein (Texas)
• Derek Remitz (Alabama)
• John Crews (Virginia)
• Brian Snowden (Missouri)
• Mark Davis (Arkansas)
• Mike McClelland (Arkansas)
• Todd Faircloth (Texas)
• Scott Rook (Scott Rook)
• Morizo Shimizu (Japan)
• Matt Herren (Alabama)
• Bill Lowen (Ohio)
• Stephen Browning (Arkansas)
• Michael Iaconelli (New Jersey)
• Dave Wolak (North Carolina)
• Shaw Grigsby (Florida)
• Boyd Duckett (Alabama)
• Bobby Lane (Florida)
• Jeff Kriet (Oklahoma)
• Gerald Swindle (Alabama)
• Jason Williamson (South Carolina)
• Greg Vinson (Alabama)
• Steve Kennedy (Alabama)
• Dean Rojas (Arizona)
• Brent Chapman (Kansas)
• Kevin Wirth (Kentucky)
• Kelly Jordon (Texas)
• Terry Scroggins (Florida)
• Paul Elias (Mississippi)

Qualifying through the Opens were:

• Randall Tharp (Alabama)
• Andy Montgomery (South Carolina)
• Keith Combs (Texas)
• Clark Reehm (Texas)
• Ryan Said (Michigan)
• Tracy Adams (North Carolina)

Federation Nation anglers competing in the championship will be:

• Sean Alvarez (Vermont)
• George Crain (Alabama)
• Dale Hightower (Oklahoma)
• Brian LaClair (Delaware)
• Brandon Palaniuk (Idaho)
• David Watson (Indiana)

Joining these 50 anglers will be South Carolina’s McMurtury, who qualified through the Weekend Series.

The Louisiana Delta will become off-limits to Bassmaster Classic participants beginning Dec. 13. Anglers will get another crack at scouting the fishery during the official practice period, set for Feb. 11-13, with a final look on February 16.

The competition will feature daily launches February 18-20 at Bayou Segnette State Park. Daily weigh-ins will take place at the New Orleans Arena, and the New Orleans Convention Center will play host to the Bassmaster Classic Outdoor Expo.