A lot of dreams are being fulfilled at the Plano Championship Chase this week. An equal number are dying. You see, professional bass fishing — like poker — is a zero-sum game. For one angler to gain a point or place in the standings, another must lose it.
If you've taken a look at the updated Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings, you've seen the scorecard. It tells you just about everything you might want to know. Add a few calculations, some background and some speculation, and you've got a pretty good drama.
Let's take a look at the AOY race as it draws to a close.
Aaron Martens is in the driver's seat. With a spectacular stretch run that's seen him qualify for four straight (going on five) Elite finals (Top 12), he's overtaken Edwin Evers and seems poised to claim his second AOY title (he also won in 2005). Martens is currently second in the tournament. If he finishes 23rd or better, he'll be AOY. If he's 25th or worse, it'll almost certainly be Edwin Evers.
Evers, of course, is in second place at the moment and led the race for most of the year. He posted his worst finish of the season (54th) right here at Lake St. Clair, and it's usually a very bad omen to have your worst finish at the season finale. For the Oklahoman to win AOY, Martens must finish 25th or worse and Kevin VanDam must finish 15th or lower.
VanDam still has an outside shot at his eighth AOY. For that to happen, Martens need to finish 24th or worse, and KVD needs to climb to 14th or better. It could happen, of course, but don't go calling your bookie. There's a reason he'd give you great odds, and that reason is that the smart money's on Martens.
Bobby Lane's had a great year, and is currently fourth in the AOY race. He cannot win AOY, however, because he's currently got 617 points (through Day 2) and stands to gain only 17 more if he wins this tournament. The math just doesn't work.
I heard some talk on the stage yesterday about Keith Combs' chances of winning AOY this year, and I'm not quite sure why. Combs is a great angler and may win AOY one day, but his chances in 2013 are — and this is not an estimate — absolutely, positively zero. It cannot be done. The most points Combs can tally this year is 617, and that's well short of Evers, who is already in the clubhouse with 640.
There is a great chance that the AOY race will be put to bed on Saturday, and it could work in favor of Martens, Evers or KVD. We'll just have to wait and see.
And that's the AOY race in a nutshell. But as my old law school torts professor used to say, "You know what's inside a nutshell, right?