BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The top bass fishery in the nation according to Bassmaster’s 100 Best Bass Lakes list will get a chance to prove just why it earned that top spot as the 2015 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship will head to Sturgeon Bay, Door County, Wisconsin, for the first time in Elite Series history Sept. 17-20.
Open only to the Top 50 Bassmaster Elite Series anglers at the end of the 2015 regular season, the AOY Championship will pay out $1 million, an increase from $900,000 this year, said Bruce Akin, B.A.S.S. CEO.
“The $1 million prize purse will undoubtedly heat up the competition,” Akin said. “Each angler will have a lot at stake, including at least 36 Bassmaster Classic berths on the line, and $100,000 for the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title. It’s sure to be one of the most exciting events of the season.”
“We are proud to partner with B.A.S.S. in showcasing the talents of the Bassmaster Elite Series anglers,” said Jim Baudino, engagement marketing manager for Toyota. “The Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship celebrates the achievements of the year’s most successful fisherman, and it’s a great format for involving fishing fans and their families in this sport.”
To qualify for the championship, an Elite Series pro must be No. 50 or higher in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points standings after the eight events of the 2015 regular season, including BASSfest. Points are earned by pros based on their finishes at each of those eight events.
“We are delighted and honored to partner with and welcome Bassmaster to Sturgeon Bay, Door County, Wisconsin,” said Todd Trimberger, Bassmaster event coordinator for the Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center. “We have a fantastic destination to share with Bassmaster fans, competitors and their families. Door County is an incredibly scenic place with kind people and the best bass fishing in the country. We are excited to show the world!”
“It seems only appropriate that the 2015 Angler of the Year Championship will be crowned on the best bass fishery in the country,” said James Hall, editor of Bassmaster Magazine. “Sturgeon Bay was ranked No. 1 on Bassmaster Magazine’s 100 Best Bass Lakes list this year for two reasons.
“One, the population of smallmouth in Sturgeon Bay is second to none. But perhaps more importantly, the average size of the smallies here is world class. Place the world’s best bass anglers on a fishery that produces so many giant bass, and you have the potential for a history-making event.”
Fans will be able to enjoy the Sturgeon Bay competition during Toyota Bassmaster AOY Championship Week, which features a full schedule of activities, including daily takeoffs and weigh-ins, the Bassmaster Elite Series Expo and a special fan appreciation day.
Local hosts for the event are the Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center, the City of Sturgeon Bay, the Door County Visitor Bureau and Door County.