Another Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year?


James Overstreet

We’re far enough along in the season to start thinking seriously about the Toyota Angler of the Year title, and who’s going to win it. Obviously, it’s something that I’ve been thinking about. To say otherwise would be silly.

It’s interesting. When I won it back in 2014 there wasn’t anything I wanted more. There was a lot of publicity around the race and, in truth, I got caught up in it as much as anybody else. This year is a little different. Winning it again would be something that would be a part of my legacy. And, despite what you hear from time to time we all think about that as we realize the time we have in front of us is shorter than the time we’ve had that’s behind us.

So, this year is different from a mental point of view, and it’s different from a fishing point of view, too. In 2014 the waters we fished were down and mostly clear. I caught a lot of my fish on a spinning rod. The 2016 race sets up more for a power angler.

The waters we’ve fished have been high with a lot of color, and it seems like there’s always lots and lots of flooded bushes around to flip and pitch. I’ve caught a small handful of bass with a spinning rod, but they really didn’t amount to much.

It’s funny, too, the way I’ve fished this year. I haven’t had good practices. I went into several tournaments without a clear idea of where I would fish or what I would do when I got there. And, I haven’t caught a lot of bass. My culling during the day hasn’t amounted to much. I’ve pretty much weighed in whatever I caught.

It’s a strange business. You’d think that if you were having a good year it’d be just the opposite. That’s not the way it’s been for me, though. If things go the way they have been, and if I keep fishing clean, I should be in good shape to make a serious run on the 2016 AOY title. However, the future is an unknown. I don’t want to make any foolish predictions.

I’ve never been to our next lake so it’s a mystery to me. I’ve talked to some of the other guys and they have mixed opinions about it. Some of them say it’s pretty good. Others are unimpressed.

After that, when we move up north, it’ll be anybody’s guess as to what’ll happen when we get to Cayuga Lake. It’s possible that we’ll hit the spawn up there. I don’t know. I’d rather that not be the case, but if it happens I’ll deal with it.

From there we’ll be fishing several rivers and moving water places. They can be good for a power angler but they can also be hard on a power angler. And, at this point there’s no way to predict what the water will look like. It all depends upon the weather.

You just can’t make any predictions in this business. I sure would like to win the AOY but that’s all it is at this point — a like. There are a lot of bass left to catch and a lot of really good anglers right behind me who want the title as bad as I do, and they’ll fish as hard as I will to win it. All I can say right now is that I’ll do my best.