History In The Making At The AOY Championship

ESCANABA, Mich. — The 2014 Bassmaster Elite Series season makes its final stop next week in Escanaba, Mich., on the shores of Lake Michigan and Big and Little Bays de Noc. Here the 2014 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year (AOY) will be crowned and dozens of Elite pros will clinch their berths in the 2015 Bassmaster Classic on Lake Hartwell, Feb. 20-22.

AOY is the sport’s most prestigious title, and six anglers still have a chance at the prize. Leading the way is Louisiana’s Greg Hackney, an 11-year veteran of the Bassmaster Tournament Trail and runner-up in the 2004 AOY race as a rookie. Hackney holds a 15-point advantage over defending AOY Aaron Martens and a 17-point edge over Todd Faircloth, the runner-up in 2008.

Further back are Elite rookie Jacob Powroznik, former Elite winner Keith Combs and three-time AOY winner Mark Davis. Though the odds may be against them, these three certainly have the skills to span the points gap and the will to make it happen.

In the 45-year history of the AOY award, only 20 men have won the title, and just three were able to win in consecutive years — Roland Martin (1971-73, 1978-79 and 1984-85), Guido Hibdon (1990-91) and Kevin VanDam (2008-11). Aaron Martens could join this group with another title this year. If Davis wins the award, he will become the oldest AOY winner in history at nearly 51.

The other battle at Bays de Noc will be fought over Bassmaster Classic berths. Nine anglers in the field have already secured spots as either defending Classic champion (Randy Howell), 2014 Elite winners (Brett Hite, Chris Lane, Mike McClelland, Powroznik, Jason Christie, Michael Iaconelli and Hackney) or 2014 Opens winners (Ott DeFoe). The Top 22 anglers in the points race are already mathematically guaranteed a spot in next year’s Classic. The rest of the field will be fighting for another dozen or so berths, including former Classic champs Davy Hite, Alton Jones and Takahiro Omori.

Notably absent from this year’s race is Michigan’s own Kevin VanDam, whose streak of 24 consecutive Classic appearances ended with a disappointing regular season in which he ranked 53rd in the points race, just missing the championship.

Bays de Noc is a world-class smallmouth bass fishery, and anglers are expected to bring hefty catches to the scales each day. With five-bass limits as the norm and an average bass weight between 3 and 4 pounds, competition will be tight and mere ounces may determine not only the AOY race, but also the last few spots in next year’s Classic.

AOY has been decided by a variety of means over the decades, including yearly prize money, pounds and ounces, and a myriad of different points systems and postseason events. This year, the winner of the AOY Championship will earn 100 points, second place gets 99, third place gets 98, etc., down to the 50th and final angler who will earn 51 points. These points will be added to the current tally to determine the AOY final standings.

The full field of 50 anglers will compete on each of the first two days (Thursday and Friday, Sept. 18-19). On Saturday, much of the field will participate in Bassmaster University at Ludington Park where fans can attend seminars and question and answer sessions with many of their favorite pros, including former AOYs Davis, Tim Horton, Iaconelli and Skeet Reese. In the finals on Sunday, the full field will compete again, culminating in the crowning of the 2014 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year and dozens of berths in the 2015 Bassmaster Classic.

Also on Saturday as part of its Bassmaster Fan and Military Appreciation Day, B.A.S.S. will give a special commemorative Bassmaster cap to the first 250 military service members who come to the B.A.S.S. booth with a military identification card. All 50 Elite anglers will be on hand to sign autographs as well.

From watching the first boats takeoff at 7:30 a.m. on Thurs., Sept. 18 and the final weigh-in at Ludington Park on Sunday at 4 p.m., to participating in the family-friendly Bassmaster Elite Series Expo with national vendors, the activities planned throughout the weekend are free and open to the public. Companies like Mercury, Nitro, Skeeter, Triton, and Yamaha will have booths at the expo and will offer demo rides. Toyota, Carhartt, Berkley, Booyah, Humminbird, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Minn Kota, Mustang, Plano, Power-Pole, Shimano, Rigid Industries and Costa Sunglasses, will also exhibit. Prior to the weigh-in on Saturday, Costa Sunglasses will debut the sixth episode in the GEOBASS series, Papau New Guinea.

For a complete Bassmaster University Schedule, visit www.bassmaster.com/attend-toyota-bassmaster-angler-year-championship.

The hosts of this event are Bays de Noc Convention and Visitors Bureau and Pure Michigan.

2014 Bassmaster Elite Series Official Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha

2014 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Booyah, Carhartt, Diet Mountain Dew, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Plano, Power-Pole, Rigid Industries, Shimano

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series presented by Allstate, Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation events, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series, Bassmaster High School Series presented by Carhartt, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro.


Media Contact: Dave Precht, 205-313-0931, [email protected] or Helen Northcutt, 205-313-0944, [email protected].

2014 Toyota Angler of the Year Championship Field
Angler                 Hometown              Points

1 Greg Hackney        Gonzales, LA          664

2 Aaron Martens       Leeds, AL             649

3 Todd Faircloth      Jasper, TX            647

4 Jacob Powroznik     Port Haywood, VA      623

5 Keith Combs         Huntington, TX        623

6 Mark Davis          Mount Ida, AR        618

7 Jared Lintner       Arroyo Grande, CA     612

8 Skeet Reese         Auburn, CA            603

9 Dean Rojas          Lake Havasu City, AZ 576

10 Casey Ashley       Donalds, SC          569

11 Jason Christie     Park Hill, OK        567

12 Matt Herren        Ashville, AL          555

13 Chad Morgenthaler Coulterville, IL      553

14 John Crews         Salem, VA             548

15 Gerald Swindle     Warrior, AL           548

16 Edwin Evers        Talala, OK            548

17 Chris Lane         Guntersville, AL      546

18 Justin Lucas       Guntersville, AL     544

19 Randall Tharp      Port Saint Joe, FL    544

20 Paul Elias         Laurel, MS           539

21 Scott Rook         Little Rock, AR       538

22 Cliff Crochet      Pierre Part, LA       537

23 Morizo Shimizu     Osaka, JAPAN          533

24 Brandon Palaniuk   Hayden, ID           528

25 David Walker       Sevierville, TN       524

26 Randy Howell       Springville, AL      522

27 Bill Lowen         Brookville, IN       516

28 James Niggemeyer   Van, TX               514

29 Mike McClelland    Bella Vista, AR      513

30 Michael Iaconelli  Pitts Grove, NJ      509

31 Bobby Lane         Lakeland, FL          506

32 Ott DeFoe          Knoxville, TN         505

33 Brandon Lester     Fayetteville, TN      493

34 Kevin Short        Mayflower, AR         487

35 Brett Hite         Phoenix, AZ           485

36 Bernie Schultz     Gainesville, FL       485

37 Takahiro Omori     Emory, TX             483

38 Clifford Pirch     Payson, AZ           482

39 Alton Jones        Lorena, TX            475

40 Cliff Prince       Palatka, FL           475

41 Jeff Kriet         Ardmore, OK          471

42 Brian Snowden      Reeds Spring, MO     470

43 Marty Robinson     Lyman, SC             470

44 Tim Horton         Muscle Shoals, AL    470

45 Andy Montgomery    Blacksburg, SC        469

46 Chris Zaldain      San Jose, CA          466

47 Casey Scanlon      Lanexa, KS            465

48 Steve Kennedy      Auburn, AL           464

49 Davy Hite          Ninety Six, SC        459

50 Terry Scroggins    San Mateo, FL         458