With this two-man race taking shape for the 2017 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title, it’s worth taking a look back at the seasons posted by Brandon Palaniuk and Jason Christie. It been mentioned numerous times that if Palaniuk takes the title, he’ll have the record for worst finish during the season by an AOY champion. His 105th place finish at Lake Okeechobee would “surpass” Aaron Martens’ 85th place finish at the Sabine River in his 2015 AOY title year.
"I’m still pissed off about Okeechobee,” Palaniuk said last month while he was posting a third-place finish at the St. Lawrence River. “I’m going to stay pissed off until the last day at Mille Lacs or for the rest of my life.”
In other words, only the AOY title will wipe out the memory of his bomb in Florida.
Jason Christie met his Waterloo/Okeechobee at Lake Dardanelle this season, where he finished 72nd. When it was noted that 72nd is a lot better than Palaniuk’s 105th, Christie said, “Yeah, but Brandon and Florida, that’s understandable. Dardanelle is a place where I’ve won.”
Christie won the Elite Series event at Lake Dardanelle in 2014, and he’s usually strong on anything associated with the Arkansas River, just downstream from his eastern Oklahoma home.
Since Christie won the St. Clair tournament, he is only 15 points behind Palaniuk entering the AOY Championship at Mille Lacs.
|1. Cherokee Lake||12th||14th|
|2. Lake Okeechobee||105th||42nd|
|3. Toledo Bend||5th||2nd|
|4. Ross Barnett||18th||27th|
|5. Sam Rayburn||1st||7th|
|6. Lake Dardanelle||12th||72nd|
|7. St. Lawrence||3rd||19th|
|8. Lake Champlain||3rd||19th|
|9. Lake St. Clair||29th||1st|