Joey Cifuentes Wins Second Bassmaster Elite Series Stop on Lake Seminole
Congratulations to Grundéns Ambassador, Joey Cifuentes, for winning his first Bassmaster Elite Series event this past weekend on Lake Seminole! Twenty fish with a total weight of 85-pounds, 2-ounces during the Bainbridge, Georgia event propelled Cifuentes to his first blue trophy and a cash prize of $100,000. Additionally, fellow Grundéns Ambassador, Shane LeHew, finished ninth.
The Bassmaster Elite Series is the pinnacle of the B.A.S.S. Tournament Trails. Established in 1967, B.A.S.S. has established the foundation for professional bass fishing with its 500-million-plus membership network, iconic print publications in Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times, and, of course, the annually-hosted “Super Bowl of Bass Fishing” – the Bassmaster Classic.
To qualify for the Elite Series, an angler must first rise through the ranks of the Bassmaster Open or B.A.S.S. Nation tournament trails, where they will then compete against 100+ fellow-qualifying Elite Series anglers (104 in 2023 to be exact) in a nine-part event series. The pro anglers compete all season for the opportunity to win points toward the Bassmaster Angler of the Year award and to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic championship event.
An Elite Series event is an intense four day period where all qualifying professionals compete to secure the heaviest five-fish-per-day limit. All fish are kept alive on boat in specially designed “livewells” that create optimum aerated conditions for the fish before they are released, then weighed-in at the end of each day in front of a raucous crowd. Each fish is carefully released back into the lake, river, or body of water they came from. After day two, the 100+ angler field is chopped to the top 50; and, on Championship Sunday, only the top 10 earn the right to fish for the coveted Bassmaster blue trophy.
Sitting in sixth place after day one with 19-13 (pounds-ounces), Cifuentes skyrocketed to the top spot during day two with a tournament-heaviest, 5-fish limit of 26-1. The Clinton, Arkansas rookie then added 20-13 on Saturday to enter Championship Sunday with a 4-1 lead over seasoned pro, Tyler Rivet of Raceland, Louisiana.
Kyoya Fujita of Minamitsuru (Yamanashi, Japan), who caught 19-15 during the Sunday finale, put some serious pressure on Cifuentes, but ultimately finished second with 76-6 as Joey was able to hold off his fellow rookie angler to earn the first Elite Series championship title of his young professional career. Cifuentes was elated in front of an electric crowd as he held his first blue trophy over his iconic cowboy hat.
“I can’t believe this,” a relieved Cifuentes said (via bassanglermag.com). “Today was so wild; you have to expect pressure when you have (professionals like) Tyler Rivet behind you.
“I knew I had a cushion, but I didn’t think it was going to take that much weight to do it.”
Sporting his Deck Boss Sandals throughout the event and the GORE-TEX Gambler Jacket during spurts of inclement weather, we’re proud to have Joey Cifuentes represent Grundéns on one of professional bass fishing’s highest stages.
Congrats again to Joey, and if you’re venturing to the upcoming 2023 Bassmaster Classic in Knoxville, Tennessee, be sure to swing by our booth (#5320 – Knoxville Convention Center) March 24-26 and get an autographed poster from the 2023 Bassmaster Elite Series at Lake Seminole Champion!