DOOR COUNTY, Wis. (Sept. 20) — Cabela’s/GEICO For Your Boat pro angler David Walker closed the Bassmaster Elite Series season in spectacular fashion, charging to a second-place finish in the Toyota Angler of the Year event on Sunday on Sturgeon Bay.
Walker landed a monster bag Sunday, catching five fish weighing 20 pounds, 10 ounces, the highest total on the day. He climbed from ninth place to finish less than 3 pounds out of the lead.
“It went awesome today,” Walker said. “I went back out there with a boatful of confidence, and it showed. It was just one of those things that when you get that confidence flowing, you feel good about what you’re doing, and it normally comes with some good results.
“The fish were bigger than I thought. I was thinking I’d have 19 pounds, and I had almost 21. Having a little bit more than what you thought is a good problem to have. It was fun.”
It was so much fun that Walker came within 2 pounds, 9 ounces of tying winner Chris Zaldain.
“To be honest, I really didn’t think winning it was a possibility,” Walker said. “I came into the weigh-in, and I was kinda wrong because there was a flood of people coming around me, shaking my hand, and taking pictures. I’m thinking, ‘Boy, this must be good.’
“What a great way to end the season. To just slam the door on a season that had a whole lot of ups and downs and finish it off on a high note like that it was the best-case scenario.”
Walker finished 23rd in the Toyota Angler of the Year points standings and clinched a spot in the 2016 GEICO Bassmaster Classic. That alone made his 2015 season a successful one.
“When you go to the first event, No. 1 on your checklist of goals is to qualify for the Classic,” Walker said. “That’s our focus because obviously you can’t win the Classic if you’re not in the Classic. Winning the Classic is a career-changer. That solidifies you and validates you. That is the tournament to win.
“For me to know that I’m in there, now I can start focusing on that. I’ll take a little bit of time off, regroup, and get ready for the GEICO Bassmaster Classic. That is the premier event.”
The way Walker closed the Elite Series season, with three top-25 finishes in the final four events, one would think he’d like the season to continue, but the AOY tournament took a lot out of many professional anglers, including Walker.
“I’ve got all this momentum going, so let’s fish another one,” Walker said. “But honestly, this tournament has been a tough one. We’re dealing with these Great Lakes, and I was on a long run. It took me over an hour to get back, and that was an hour of constant beating because the waves were rolling four-foot waves that were pounding.
“I don’t even want to look inside my boat to see what is pulverized because I know as sore as I am that the boat is beat up, too. I’m kinda glad it’s over with, to be honest.
“It’s one of those bittersweet deals where everything is going well but it’s the end of the season. We’ll see you in six months.”