Lucas One Step Away From Raising Coveted Bassmaster AOY Championship Trophy

HIAWASSEE, Ga. — Justin Lucas needed two things this week to ensure an easy path to winning the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship.

First, he needed to catch enough bass to simply maintain the first-place lead he brought with him in the regular-season AOY standings. He’s done that easily with 10 bass that weighed 27 pounds, 2 ounces the first two rounds, including a catch of 13-12 on Friday.

Lucas also needed Josh Bertrand, his good friend and closest competition in the AOY standings, to struggle. That’s happened as well, with Bertrand landing only two fish the first round and now resting in 43rd place in the weekly standings with a two-day weight of 15-13.

It’s never over until it’s over. But as Lucas now holds a gigantic 47-point lead in the standings with only one day left to fish, the race is certainly creeping in that direction.

“We have one more day, and I need to go out and catch maybe 8 pounds to lock it up,” said Lucas, who admits he’s been losing sleep over the idea of winning the AOY trophy and the $100,000 bonus that goes with it. “It may not even take 8 pounds, but I haven’t reached the point where I feel like I can let up.”

Lucas said he caught his bass in completely different areas Friday.

“Stuff that I hit yesterday, I don’t know if the timing was off or what, but those places just weren’t good today,” he said. “So I just mixed up the timing a little today, and things worked out fine.

“The key for me was getting away from all of the boat traffic. When I’m in a calm area, I can catch a fish because I have an exact cast I need to make to catch a bass.”

Though the tournament won’t conclude until Sunday, Lucas was very open about the bait he’s using. It’s a Berkley Cane Walker, one of several new topwater baits recently unveiled by the company.

“It just came out this week,” he said. “It’s all chrome, and that’s just a really good color when it’s sunny and calm. It has a lot of flash to it. I can cast it a mile, and it comes with great hooks right out of the box.

“It’s loud and it spits a lot of water. On a long cast, all of that stuff works together.”

While Lucas was tightening his hold on the AOY Championship, James Elam was putting himself in position for a wire-to-wire victory in this week’s tournament. After taking the individual lead on Day 1 with 16-10, the Oklahoma pro remained consistent with 16-14 and now leads with a two-day total of 33-8.

His closest competitor is Tennessee pro Jacob Wheeler, who is second with 31-5 after catching 16-5 on Day 2. The heaviest three-day weight this week will earn $25,000 and one of the coveted blue trophies that is awarded to every Elite Series winner.

The anglers will take Saturday away from the lake for the Elite Expo at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds. The Expo, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday, will include demo rides, the latest from Toyota, the Berkley Experience trailer with its live aquarium and more.

All 50 of the Bassmaster Elite Series AOY contenders will attend the Expo before heading back to Lake Chatuge Sunday to decide the AOY season champion and the tournament winner.

Sunday’s takeoff will be at 7:10 a.m. ET from Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, with the final weigh-in back at the Fairgrounds at 3:30 p.m.

2018 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2018 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha, Abu Garcia, Berkley, Huk, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota

2018 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: T-H Marine, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Carhartt, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Phoenix Boats

2018 Bassmaster Elite Series Elite Partner: Black Velvet

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2018 Points Report
as of 21-Sep-2018

Angler Points Lbs-Oz
1 Justin Lucas Guntersville, AL 822 261- 2
2 Josh Bertrand San Tan Valley, AZ 775 260-10
3 Bradley Roy Lancaster, KY 755 256- 7
4 Ott DeFoe Blaine, TN 724 238- 1
5 Brent Chapman Lake Quivira, KS 724 237- 4
6 Aaron Martens Leeds, AL 715 243- 3
7 Jacob Powroznik North Prince George, VA 704 253- 4
8 Jacob Wheeler Harrison, TN 691 264- 5
9 Brandon Palaniuk Hayden, ID 691 242-10
10 Bobby Lane Jr. Lakeland, FL 681 244-10
11 Dean Rojas Lake Havasu City, AZ 680 232- 7
12 Gerald Spohrer Gonzales, LA 670 239- 2
13 Mark Daniels Jr. Tuskegee, AL 667 244- 5
14 Kevin VanDam Kalamazoo, MI 660 243- 3
15 Michael Iaconelli Pitts Grove, NJ 658 241- 2
16 Todd Faircloth Jasper, TX 650 223-11
17 Casey Ashley Donalds, SC 648 233- 8
18 Seth Feider Bloomington, MN 645 235-11
19 Alton Jones Jr. Waco, TX 641 232-10
20 Andy Montgomery Blacksburg, SC 639 235- 4
21 James Elam Tulsa, OK 637 247-13
22 Brent Ehrler Redlands, CA 633 244-10
23 Brett Hite Phoenix, AZ 633 225- 5
24 Cliff Pace Petal, MS 629 232- 1
25 Jesse Wiggins Cullman, AL 623 242- 8
26 Jake Whitaker Fairview, NC 623 229- 8
27 Clifford Pirch Payson, AZ 617 217- 6
28 Skeet Reese Auburn, CA 612 238- 4
29 Chris Zaldain Laughlin, NV 609 224- 2
30 Micah Frazier Newnan, GA 606 218-14
31 Edwin Evers Talala, OK 603 242- 7
32 Randall Tharp Port St. Joe, FL 603 233-12
33 Keith Poche Pike Road, AL 603 227- 8
34 Jason Christie Park Hill, OK 603 224- 4
35 Wesley Strader Spring City, TN 602 221-15
36 Bill Lowen Brookville, IN 597 227-13
37 Roy Hawk Lk Havasu Cty, AZ 595 221- 6
38 Chris Lane Guntersville, AL 593 231- 3
39 Chad Pipkens Lansing, MI 588 230-13
40 Greg Hackney Gonzales, LA 588 228- 7
41 Greg Vinson Wetumpka, AL 583 209- 2
42 Jared Lintner Arroyo Grande, CA 582 222-12
43 Gerald Swindle Guntersville, AL 578 223- 9
44 Shin Fukae Palestine, TX 576 227- 0
45 Scott Rook Little Rock, AR 569 216-11
46 Keith Combs Huntington, TX 565 216-11
47 Adrian Avena Vineland, NJ 558 219-12
48 Dustin Connell Clanton, AL 552 214- 1
49 Takahiro Omori Emory, TX 551 210-13
50 Jordan Lee Grant, AL 550 241-10

Note: For a complete list of today’s standings in the 2018 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship, visit

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