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Joey Cifuentes III Sees Top Honors: Takes Home The 2023 Elite Series Rookie Of The Year Award

After a competitive finish at the St. Lawrence River and amongst a talented field of rookies, Fin-Nor pro Joey Cifuentes III wins Rookie of the Year.
Joey Cifuentes III

Columbia, SC – The Bassmaster Elite Series saw one of the most competitive rookie classes in recent history with four tournaments being won by rookies and at least six qualifying for next year’s Bassmaster Classic. But Joey Cifuentes III outshone them all, edging out fellow angler Kyoya Fujita to take home the Rookie of the Year trophy and the $10,000 prize. 

The win for Cifuentes III came down to the championship Sunday on the St. Lawrence River where he watched Fujita, who finished third in the tournament, begin to close in on his 15-point lead. Cifuentes III finished 19th but failed to qualify for the final day, allowing Fujita to make up some ground. Ultimately, Cifuentes III maintained his lead by just one point, concluding an impressive debut season for the Arkansas angler.

“I give so much credit to the other rookies on the Elite Series; it was a fight all-season long,” said Cifuentes III. “This is what you work for as a pro and all the long hours and countless casts lead up to an incredible moment like this. I’m so thankful to have my family, friends, fans, and sponsors supporting me through those ups and downs.”

The Rookie of the Year honor is a credit to Cifuentes III’s consistent and continued success throughout the season, notching two victories and four other top-30 finishes over the course of the year. Back in February he held off a tough challenge from Fujita to take home the title at Lake Seminole and just last month had a late surge on the final day to secure a win at Lake St. Clair. 

Throughout the season, Cifuentes III encountered diverse weather conditions and navigated unfamiliar waters. He relied on his Fin-Nor Flybridge sunglasses to spot vegetation and even the next bite. Fin-Nor’s Lateral Line lens technology enhances color without distortion, allowing Cifuentes III to see what’s on and beneath the surface while the 100% polarized lenses block out harmful UV-rays. 

“Just like anything else in my tackle box, it was critical that I had my Fin-Nors with me throughout this entire season,” said Cifuentes III. “I’m tough on my equipment but the lenses performed flawlessly without smudging or scratching and the lightweight frames provided all-day comfort on the water.”

Beyond his rookie success, Cifuentes III demonstrated competitiveness throughout the season and secured a fifth-place standing in the Angler of the Year rankings. His performance in the Elite Series qualifies Cifuentes III for a shot at the Bassmaster Classic next March in Tulsa, Oklahoma, just a short distance from his hometown.  

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