Though the picture isn’t in full focus, but the 2017 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year championship race is pretty clear after the Advance Auto Parts Bassmaster Elite at St. Clair. Now, two general statements can be made: 1) It’s going to be a two-man race between Brandon Palaniuk and Jason Christie; and 2) Jacob Wheeler is the only other angler with a shot to win. Wheeler is a long shot as he will start at Mille Lacs 33 points behind Palaniuk in a 50-man field. Wheeler would have to finish 34 places higher than Palaniuk and 18 places higher than Christie to win.
Here’s a look at how the top five in the AOY standings looked coming into St. Clair and how they’ll be heading into the AOY Championship at Minnesota’s Lake Mille Lacs on Sept. 14:
|After Lake Champlain||After St. Clair|
|1. Brandon Palaniuk 729||1. Brandon Palaniuk 811 –––|
|2. Jacob Wheeler 689||2. Jason Christie 796 – 15 pts.*|
|3. Casey Ashley 689||3. Jacob Wheeler 778 – 33 pts.|
|4. Jason Christie 686||4. Casey Ashley 747 – 64 pts.|
|5. Greg Hackney 658||5. Ott DeFoe 733 – 78 pts.|