Paris, TN – This week marks the final stop for the FLW Tour regular season on Kentucky Lake. When the tournament commences on Thursday Andy Morgan and Cody Meyer will be separated by a mere 8 points. Together they are 46 points ahead of the angler sitting in third. Barring a seemingly inconceivable collapse by both anglers in the final event, either Morgan or Meyer will be crowned FLW Angler of the Year and quite likely cap off the greatest statistical season in FLW history.
Reining FLW Angler of the Year, Andy Morgan, has been the model of consistency over his 19 year career highlighted by his current streak of seven straight seasons finishing within the top ten in AOY standings dating back to 2007. En route to his first title in 2013, Morgan placed 10th or better in five of the six FLW Tour events outpacing his nearest competitor by nearly 50 points. This season, however, heading into the final event this week at Kentucky Lake, a far different scenario has unfolded. Despite a nearly identical ledger of quality finishes, Morgan finds himself with company atop the leaderboard and is faced with the very real possibility he may amass the highest points total in FLW history only to be eclipsed by Cody Meyer, who currently sits in 2nd with a mere 8 points to overcome.
In only his fifth season on the FLW Tour, Cody Meyer has already established himself among the most consistent players in the game accomplishing three consecutive years within the top 15 of the points standings. To date, his best overall season came in 2012 where he finished 5th overall. Although a tough task lay ahead, there may be no angler better suited to take it on. Earlier this season Meyer set the FLW record for consecutive limits weighed in competition at 50; a streak that spanned over 3 years of competition.
When asked about what it takes to win the Angler of the Year, it’s no surprise what Meyer pinpointed as the key, opining, “Winning the Angler of the Year is all about consistency, it’s what makes Andy so great. I have worked hard at being consistent and I think it’s starting to pay off. ”
While consistency is certainly of value in the year end points race, with only a single tournament remaining it begs the question, does Meyer alter his strategy in hopes of making up the eight points? When asked if he’d considered such a thing, Meyer replied. “I won’t change how I have been fishing, but I know it’s going to take an incredible tournament to beat Andy by eight or nine spots.” Despite his realistic viewpoint, Meyer is still confident in his ability, stating, “Beating Andy by even one spot is tough. It’s a big challenge, but I like challenges.”
Although it wasn’t until 2011 that FLW began awarding a cash prize for the Angler of the Year, the title has always held an unparalleled prestige especially among the anglers themselves. It not only recognizes a tremendous season-long accomplishment, it also positions the angler among the greats of the sport, an achievement that is for lack of a better word: priceless. When asked what the title would mean to either angler their responses were indicative of the type of competitors they are.
Meyer explains, “I am trying not to think about the A.O.Y. title, but if I should win it, it would be huge for me. To come out here and compete with these guys has always been an honor and to win an award, amongst this level of competition from over 150 phenomenal anglers, well, that would be unreal. Honestly, I’m not too sure what I would do should I win, but I’ll figure that out if or when it happens.”
Morgan, known for his gunslinger style, appropriately said, “I just go fishing and bring my best five bass to the scales. I’ve never set out to do anything other than catch the biggest five fish I can each day. It’s worked out for me over the years, and I think I’ll do the same thing this week. Will it be enough to win the A.O.Y., you never know, but I hope so.”
After taking a moment to reflect on the possibility of hoisting the trophy for the second consecutive year, Morgan deflected the attention back to the quality of his competition saying, “It’d be nice to win a second angler of the year title, but Cody is going to make it a challenge. I’m certain of it. He might be in his fifth year, but he fishes like a veteran. With his talent, he’s going to be a regular contender for the Angler of the Year title for many years to come.”
At the conclusion of the Kentucky Lake event it is highly likely that whichever angler prevails, he would also break the FLW record for total points in a season. To break the record, currently held by Kevin VanDam in 2001 (1105 points), Morgan would only need to finish in the top 40 in this event. Morgan has finished in the top 40 in eleven of twelve events over the past two seasons. For Meyer to break the record, he would first need to finish at least eight places ahead of Morgan and also finish in 32nd or above overall. Meyer has finished in 32nd or above in nine of his last eleven FLW Tour events.
Andy Morgan is sponsored by Livingston Lures, Bullet Boats, Evinrude, Typhoon Optics, New Breed Archery, Zoom Baits, Sheffield Financial, and War Eagle baits.
Cody Meyer is sponsored by Repel, Shimano, Jackall, Typhoon Optics, Evinrude, Ranger Boats, Hi’s Tackle Box, Top This, and Power-Pole.