The 110 best boaters and co-anglers from FLW’s grassroots ranks will compete on Lake Hartwell, South Carolina, November 11-13 in the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP. One of the longest-running championships in bass fishing, the All-American is often considered to be the pinnacle of the grassroots level and has launched the careers of anglers like Shaw Grigsby, Jacob Wheeler, Jeremy Lawyer and many more throughout the years.
The field includes a wide array of anglers, from first-timers to Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pros to Jayme Rampey, the preeminent local on Hartwell.
Here’s how the field breaks down, from some potential favorites to how much money the anglers have won on the water.
Where they’re from
This year’s crop of qualifiers is pretty far-flung, with anglers hailing from Maine to California, but it’s oddly concentrated in certain pockets. For instance, Indiana has seven anglers heading to Hartwell and Kentucky has eight. The state with the most anglers competing this week is Missouri, which is sending 10 anglers, all of them hailing from the always incredible Ozark Division. Missouri’s 10 are the following anglers: Dennis Berhorst, Roger Fitzpatrick, Shawn Kowal, Dustin Lippe, Chris Macy, Andy Newcomb, Spencer Clark, Larry Rothweil, Walter Hammond and Shawn Kemper.
In 2019, 15 different states sent just one angler. This year, only nine states have a single representative.
Below are the competitors who are the only angler from their state:
Kerry Harris, California
Sam Heckman, Colorado
Keith Cleary, Connecticut
Bryce Goff, Florida
Mark Myers, Iowa
Loren Torok, Idaho
Jeffrey Perron, Maine
Mel Marchese, Washington
Ryan Davidson, West Virginia
Proximity to the lake
It’s fitting that the local favorite is also the closest to Anderson this week. Conveniently, Jayme Rampey is a short 24-mile jaunt from the playing field.
The six closest competitors are:
Jayme Rampey – 24 miles
Michael Miller – 35 miles
Justin Kimmel – 51 miles
Clabion Johns – 76 miles
Wesley Sandifer – 83 miles
Jeff Rikard – 83 miles
The two competitors from the farthest away are Mel Marchese of Washington and Kerry Harris of California, who are traveling 2,094 and 2,164 miles, respectively.
All ages welcome
With college and high school anglers at the All-American this year, it’s no surprise that there are several anglers in their teens and 20s in the championship. Perhaps more surprising is the fact that one of the two 18-year-olds in the event is co-angler Dalton Steele, who actually won the 2019 Regional on Lake Guntersville and hails from Alabama.
On the upper end of the scale, these are the seven anglers over 60 in the field:
This week, Brian Futch will turn 47 on day two of the event. Happy birthday Brian!
Been there before
On the boater side, Dennis Berhorst is the most experienced angler in the field. Fishing in back-to-back All-Americans, the Missouri pro has been seven times before. Never winning, Berhorst has banked two top 10 finishes.
Behind him are Roger Fitzpatrick (six previous All-Americans), Kip Carter (five), Billy Schroeder (four) and Jayme Rampey (three). Ryan Deal, Bryan Schmitt and Toby Corn have each made the All-American twice before. Frank Ippoliti, Sam Heckman, Clabion Johns, Ryan Davidson, Bryan New and Loren Torok have each made the championship once before.
Jayme Rampey finished second in the 2014 All-American on Wheeler Lake, but he’s the closest anyone in the field has come to winning before.
Winning the All-American won’t make anyone in the field an FLW millionaire (though Bryan Schmitt has earned over $1 million if you count his B.A.S.S. winnings), but there are still some super successful anglers in the field. As you’d expect, Schmitt and Bradford Beavers, who are both pros, have won the most money with FLW. Schmitt has over $870,000 in winnings, with Beavers having earned a tick over $437,000.
Behind them, Bryan New, Dennis Berhorst, Jayme Rampey and Roger Fitzpatrick all have more than $300,000 in winnings.
Top 10s and winners
Dennis Berhorst has the most top 10 finishes of anyone in the field, with 59 to his name across all FLW circuits. The most wins is a dead heat between Rampey and Schmitt, who both have 11 to their credit. In all, 57 anglers in the field have at least one win with FLW, but Dennis Berhorst and Roger Fitzpatrick are the only other anglers with more than six wins, and they each have a whopping 10 to their name.
How good is Jayme Rampey?
Being the tournament favorite doesn’t always work out, but there is rarely a starker favorite in the field than Jayme Rampey on Hartwell. Rampey has fished over 100 tournaments with FLW, including three years on the Pro Circuit (with a pair of top 10 finishes), and he’s been to the All-American before, with notable success in 2014. In FLW competition alone, Rampey has fished Hartwell 33 times with 18 top 10s and five wins. You never know what’s going to happen on derby day, but Rampey sure is primed to put his name in the history books with a bullet.
Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American
November 11-13, 2020
Presented by TINCUP
Hosted by Visit Anderson