The connection between success and popularity is an interesting one and very evident in the world of bass fishing.
In looking at the four anglers who were voted into the field at Toyota Trucks All-Star Week, all four (Mike Iaconelli, Skeet Reese, Gerald Swindle and Aaron Martens) have won a Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year award and two (Iaconelli and Reese) have won Bassmaster Classics. Of the top 10 vote getters (those already mentioned plus Brandon Palaniuk, Denny Brauer, Rick Clunn, Alton Jones, Chris Lane and Greg Hackney), six have won AOYs and six have won Classics. And though Chris Lane had a strong following before 2012, there’s no doubt it’s much, much larger after his Classic win.
On the other hand, Palaniuk finished fifth in the voting and has neither a Classic win nor an AOY. He’s been able to capture the attention of fishing through his success in the 2010 Classic, an Elite win, his Federation Nation connection and a winning personality. He’s accomplished a lot and positioned himself well in just a couple of years on the Tournament Trail.