It’s still too early for Clark Wendlandt to seriously consider winning another Angler of the Year title, although he said it’s nice to be leading.
“It feels real good. The good thing is that I’ve been fishing well,” he said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to win, but I’ve had a good year so far, so I’m excited about that.”
With three Top-10 finishes in five events, the 54-year-old from Leander, Texas, leads the season-long race with 423 points, just seven ahead of rookie Taku Ito and eight up on Paul Mueller. Wendlandt returned to B.A.S.S. last season after a great two-decade run in FLW, where he won four tournaments and three AOY titles.
“What I’ve learned from that is, you’ve got to do the best you can at every single event,” he said. “It’s going to take really good finishes, even from this point out to win, so I’ve just got to do the best I can.”
There are four more tournaments on the revamped schedule, which resumes Wednesday with the NOCO Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville. It’s the first of back-to-back-to-back events, which include Santee Cooper Lakes and Chickamauga Lake before closing the season with Texas Fest on Lake Fork.
If Wendlandt excels during this grueling stretch, he could become the oldest AOY champion in B.A.S.S. since Gerald Swindle. G-Man was 46 when he won his second AOY title in 2016, eclipsing Roland Martin, who was a year younger for the last of his nine titles in 1985.
“That would be an honor, but I still feel young,” Wendlandt said. “I’m getting older, but I still feel like I can fish and hang with those young kids.”
Several of Wendlandt’s contemporaries have long known his abilities to compete wherever he goes. He’s a fisherman’s fisherman.