Bassmaster Classic champion and two-time Angler of the Year Larry Nixon will be among the Elite Series field when the 2023 season kicks off on Lake Okeechobee, Fla., on Feb. 16 officials announced today.
“I’ve missed B.A.S.S. for 16 years … B.A.S.S. has always been at the top of my list,” said Nixon, a Quitman, Ark., native. “This is something I’ve wanted to do for the past 2 to 3 years, and I am super-excited to have the opportunity. And I want to make the Classic and hear that roar again.”
The first Bassmaster millionaire, Nixon’s consistency on the trail has been unmatched. For 12 seasons between 1977 and 1988, Nixon never ranked lower than eighth in the Angler of the Year points standings. For nine consecutive years — 1979-1987 — he was in the Top 5, with AOY titles coming in 1980 and 1982. In addition to winning the 1983 Bassmaster Classic on the Ohio River, the 25-time Classic qualifier finished in the Top 10 an astounding eight times.
“Larry is truly an icon in the sport, and we are excited to welcome him to the Elite Series,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Chase Anderson. “Larry’s name is written all over the B.A.S.S. record books — not only with his Classic victory and AOY titles but also Megabucks tournaments and Team Championships. With tournament success across four decades, Larry is why we have the Legends exemption in place, and we’re happy he accepted the invitation to compete in 2023.”
According to Elite Series rules, up to two Legends qualifiers can be added to the Elite field size per season. Classic and AOY winners currently fishing the Elite Series are the first anglers considered for Legends invitations. If two Legends slots are not filled from the Elites, invitations may be extended to anglers with Legends points currently competing in the St. Croix Bassmaster Opens presented by Mossy Oak Fishing. Nixon notched a 21st-place finish at the 2022 Bassmaster Central Open at Sam Rayburn.
Two anglers using Legends exemptions fished the 2022 Elite Series; however, Rick Clunn re-qualified for the 2023 field without using a Legends point, leaving a Legends spot open.
The full 2023 Elite Series field will be announced in mid-November.