Kevin VanDam is an exceptional professional fisherman from Kalamazoo, Michigan that began his career at B.A.S.S. in 1987. As one of the most successful fishermen of all time, VanDam was inducted in the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame before he was even 50 years old. He has won four Bassmaster Classic Championships, and even won back-to-back years in 2010 and 2011. Additionally, he has earned seven Angler of the Year titles. Holistically, he has 25 first-place victories under B.A.S.S. and has qualified from two Forrest Wood Cups and the Bass Pro Tour. As the leading money winner in fishing history, he has approximately $6.84 million dollars in winnings from his career, as of 2019.
David Dudley has had a very successful career in professional fishing. The talented athlete from Lynchburg, Virginia is the all-time leading prize money winner in the Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) Tour. He won his first B.A.S.S. event on the Virginia's James River when he was 20 years old, and won his second on Smith Mountain Lake about 20 years later. Dudley got first place for the Forrest Wood Cup in 2003 and has received the title of Angler of the Year four times in his career, most recently during the 2019 season. He is currently fishing on the Bass Pro Tour and has the second most winnings of professional fisherman at an estimated $4.09 million dollars.
Aaron Martens, nicknamed "A-Mart," is well known for his fishing talents. He is recognized for mastering many fishing techniques while also developing some of his own. The superb athlete from Leeds, Alabama is best known for his four second place showings at the Bassmaster Classic. He has an elite repertoire of titles, from three Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championships to winning nine B.A.S.S. events of the years to 80 top 10 placements. He also acquired an FLW Tour win in 2003 on Wheeler Lake. Currently, he is a part of the Bass Pro Tour amongst the other greats of the sport. His career winnings from fishing are approximately $3.8 million dollars.
Greg Hackney is one of the most diligent fishermen that is part of the tour. He started as a phenomenal shallow water fishmen but has since developed into a very well-rounded athlete. With B.A.S.S., he has won six tournaments throughout his career and qualified for a total of 15 Bassmaster Classics. He has also received other awards and titles such as 2014 Angler of the Year. At FLW, he won three tour events, including the Forrest Wood Cup at Three Rivers in 2009. This makes him the only bass angler in history who is a World Champion, Forrest Wood Cup champion, and Elite Series Angler of the Year. The Gonzales, Louisiana native is currently a star member of the Bass Pro Tour and has an estimated $3.7 million dollars in total winnings.
Edwin Evers is a versatile fisherman that has seen great success with many different types of angling, flipping, cranking, sight fishing, and drop shotting. Evers is from Talala, Oklahoma and started his fishing career with B.A.S.S. in 1997. He has won eleven Bassmaster tournaments over the years and came from behind to win the Bassmaster Classic title in 2016 in his home state for a whopping $300,000. In 2019, he won the Bass Pro Tour circuit's inaugural Redcrest championship and has been fishing on the Bass Pro Tour ever since. His total winnings is approximately $3.66 million dollars over the course of 23 years.
Rick Clunn is a talented fisherman from Ava, Missouri that has achieved great success throughout his incredibly long career. Clunn is one of two athletes that has won a total of four Bassmaster Classics during the years of 1976, 1977, 1984, and 1990. He has a total of 16 championship titles with B.A.S.S. including winning two Elite Series tournaments in 2016 and 2019. He won Angler of the Year in 1988. As if this wasn't enough, he added three tour wins during 1997 and 2000 with the FLW Tour. Clunn is still fishing today on the Bassmaster Elite Series. At the age of 73, he has collected an estimated $3.48 million dollars in career winnings.
Skeet Reese is an excellent fisherman from Auburn, California that has made waves in the world of fishing. He is a popular face in the sport and is known for his signature of having a yellow boat and giant truck. He has eight B.A.S.S. victories under his belt, with his most notable win coming from the 2009 Bassmaster Classic Championship on the Louisiana Red River, and 50 top 10 placements in his career. In 2007, he won the circuit's Angler of the Year title and was one of the first people to win a tour event outside of the West on a swimbait. Currently, he is a strong competitor in the Bass Pro Tour. His remarkable career has earned him total winnings of approximately $3.44 million dollars.
Mike Iaconelli is a resilient fisherman that has had a whirlwind career. The athlete from Runnemede, New Jersey has had several crowning achievements, one of which was winning the 2003 Bassmaster Classic on the Louisiana Delta. He has also had seven additional victories with B.A.S.S. and won the circuit's Angler of the Year under the Elite Series banner. In 2005, he was successful again as he won the FLW Chevy Open on the Potomac River for a large sum of prize money. He is still fishing on the Bass Pro Tour. His total winnings over the years are approximately $3.18 million dollars and counting.
Alton Jones is a fisherman from Lorena, Texas that has been competing in the B.A.S.S. since 1990. The talented athlete has been a large part of the sport for some time and he has several successes to show for it. His most famous victory was from winning the Bassmaster Classic in 2008 on Lake Hartwell in South Carolina, and he has over 50 top 10 placements from his career. It was here that he was praised for his talent and given the opportunity to later visit President George W. Bush. He has a total of six titles with B.A.S.S. in many different states across the country. Today, he competes on the Bass Pro Tour with his son. His earnings over the years total at approximately $3.02 million dollars.
Scott Martin has had an exemplary career and has only continued to improve over the years. The fisherman is from Clewiston, Florida and is the son of a nine-time Bassmaster Angler of the Year Roland Martin. Scott was the 2015 FLW Angler of the Year and was able to win eight other competitions on that circuit. One of these circuits was the Forrest Wood Cup which he won in 2011. Currently, Scott is making a name for himself by fishing in all of the Bassmaster Opens to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic and the Elite Series. His total winnings throughout his career are estimated to be $2.96 million dollars.
There are several professional tournament series that fishermen can decide to compete in. The most popular and highest paid of these series is the B.A.S.S. Bassmaster series. This series has a grueling schedule consisting of approximately 31 tournaments a year between the months of February and November. All of these competitions vary in both degree of difficulty and level of competition, as well as location.
The richest professional fisherman of all time is Kevin VanDam. He began his career with B.A.S.S. in 1987 and has won many competitions and titles since including the Bassmaster Classic, Angler of the Year, and the Forrest Wood Cup. He has a total of 25 first place finished with B.A.S.S. and is currently a part of the Bass Pro Tour. His total winnings from a long career of success is estimated to be around $6.83 million dollars.
Professional fishermen can make money through their participation in tournaments and endorsements. Typical Bassmaster tournaments at the highest Elite level of competition are paid around $100,000 for a first place victory, $25,000 for second place, and $20,000 for third place. The amount of prize money for other participants continues to diminish. In addition, many of the top 150 Bassmaster participants can earn money through sponsorships and endorsements. These deals can include free equipment or sporadic payments.
The B.A.S.S. Bassmaster series is easily the highest paying tournament series that professional fishermen can compete in. In 2011, the largest B.A.S.S. tournament prize in history was granted to the then seven time champion of the Bassmaster series, Kevin VanDam. This prize money was $500,000 for the Bassmaster Classic. Typically, the first place winner of a Bassmaster tournament will receive $100,000, followed by $25,000 for the second place finisher and $20,000 for the third.