Last year on the St. Lawrence River, Chris Johnston became the first Canadian to win an Elite Series tournament. That honor probably should have gone to his older brother Cory two years ago. And Cory undoubtedly should be the first Canadian to win a Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year title.
Here’s what happened on August 15, 2019, on the St. Lawrence River: Despite a long day of mechanical failures that ended with him fishing in a boat borrowed from a local friend, Johnston caught a five-bass limit weighing 22 pounds, 5 ounces. He had plenty of time to make his check-in time. What he didn’t realize was the electronics on the borrowed boat hadn’t been reset for Daylight Savings Time. When he did recognize it, he frantically scrambled, but arrived 7 minutes late. The late penalty is one pound per minute. His official weight that day was 15-5, which left him in 60th place.
The Day 2 cut that season was to the top 35 anglers. Johnston weighed 21-7 the next day and missed the cut by two ounces. Instead of being in 9th place with 43-12 and two days left to fish the St. Lawrence River, Johnston was in 36th place and done. There were only three tournaments left in the season. Johnston placed 7th, 3rd and 8th and finished 8 points behind Scott Canterbury for the 2019 Angler of the Year title.
“That cost me Angler of the Year, and there’s an extremely good chance I would have won that tournament,” Johnston said. “I was on really good fish. Maybe we’ll get a little redemption this week. We’ll see.”