Chris Bowes is tournament director for the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series. Here are some of his favorite moments of 2017.
- The James River giving long-time winless B.A.S.S. pros their first victory. First, in 2016, it was Charlie Hartley getting the big win after 218 B.A.S.S. events. Then, in 2017 it was Rick Morris after 239 B.A.S.S. tournaments. I’m a big, big fan of Bernie Shultz and will insist he competes the next time we visit the James River.
- The Hartley and Morris wins are a real testament to the incredible performance of Jesse Wiggins in the Bass Pro Shops Bassmater Opens. Three wins over two seasons, including the bookend events in the 2017 Southern Opens series, is incredible. I have only seen a few others achieve this feat in my short career. Terry Scroggins and Randall Tharp are the two that come to mind. Obviously two established Bassmaster Elite Series heavyweights. I’d say Jesse is in pretty good company.
- Unfortunately, the tournament team lost a couple of long time members this year. The tragic death of everyone’s friend Max Leatherwood. We missed him dearly this season and will continue to feel the void he has left. Fortunately, we have many fond memories to make us smile. Seldom a day goes by that he doesn’t come up in conversation. That’s impact.
- And Mike “Wally” Wall hung up the Toyota keys after 13 seasons traveling with the B.A.S.S. tournament crew. Mike cut his teeth working events with the Bassmaster Weekend Series. Following its transition to the ABA, he stuck around at B.A.S.S. for another decade plus helping with Elite, Opens, College, High School and of course the B.A.S.S. Nation that is so near and dear to his heart. Now Mike will actually get to go fishing. Enjoy!
I look forward to what the 2018 season will bring and the memories it will leave.
B.A.S.S. asked contributors, staff and anglers to reflect on their favorite moments of 2017. You can read more of them here.