AOY scrambled at ‘The Rez’

No matter what happens today, there will be a new leader in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year race. Jason Christie has edged previous leader Ott DeFoe as a result of his 27th-place finish and DeFoe’s 51st-place showing in the Academy + Sports Bassmaster Elite at Ross Barnett Reservoir.

The current AOY point totals won’t become official until the standings of the Top 12 are determined today. But for everyone else on the Elite Series, the points after four tournaments are final. And it’s apparent that Ross Barnett scrambled the standings. For instance, among the top 10 going into this event, only four made the Day 2 Top 51 cut.

Christie now has 359 points and a four-point lead over DeFoe. There’s a gap of 20-plus points between those two and 3rd-place Greg Hackney, who finished 42nd at Ross Barnett and moved up from 6th place. There will probably be three new anglers in the top 10 this week, Kevin VanDam, Dave Lefebre and Dustin Connell. But that won’t be determined until today’s weigh-in.

There’s a logjam between 4th and 10th place, separated by only 7 points. A point is earned for each place in the final standings of a tournament. Based on a 110-angler field, first place is worth 110 points, second is 109 and so forth. VanDam was in 27th place entering this event. While the AOY standings now show KVD in 4th place, that’s based on him being 3rd in the Ross Barnett event. If VanDam falls to, for instance, 8th today, he’d finish with 321 points and drop to 10th when the points become official.

Again, just to be clear, AOY points aren’t determined until an angler’s place in each tournament is final. As another example, Dustin Connell is 7th in the current “mythical” AOY standings listed on this site. But he’d officially be credited with 11 fewer points if he fell all the way to 12th place today. That’s highly unlikely, but it serves to illustrate the point – nothing is official until the angler’s final place in the tournament has been determined.

There remains a lot of room for movement in the AOY standings approaching the halfway point of the season. That’s illustrated by Brent Chapman and Ish Monroe potentially jumping 30 places in the AOY race as a result of Top 12 finishes at Ross Barnett. On the other hand, Jason Williamson was 2nd in AOY points after three tournaments, and he’ll remain in the top 10 despite a 73rd-place finish here.

It’s still too early to make a whole lot out of these AOY fluctuations. But it’s certainly time to make note of them.