Bama proud! And no, I am not talking football this time. This year, 2017, on the Bassmaster circuit saw Alabama anglers excelling at an unbelievable rate. You could say starting with Jordan Lee taking the Classic, but it started in January with Jesse Wiggins taking the first Southern Open on Florida’s Harris Chain of Lakes followed by Tim Horton winning the Okeechobee Elite several weeks later. Then along comes Jordan’s Classic victory in Houston followed shortly by Dustin Connell winning a storm delayed/extended Ross Barnett Elite tournament. Steve Kennedy roared from behind with a game changer 6-pounder on the final day to win the Lake Dardanelle Elite. Then the Elite comeback of comebacks with California transplant Aaron Martens winning Champlain.All of this bookended with Jesse Wiggins' victory in the final Southern Open on his home Smith Lake in late September. In addition, Connell claimed the 2017 Bassmaster Elite Rookie of the Year by one point over rookie sensation Jamie Hartman who had an unbelievable 2017 season too.
Through the history of B.A.S.S. competition one thing that always stood out to me were the great champion anglers from Arkansas and Texas and their success in our competitions. Arkansas, like Alabama, offers a wide variety of lakes that set up different from each other. Texas, by its sheer size combined with the great management efforts of Texas Parks and Wildlife, shapes and molds tough tournament competitors.
Having competed against Alabamians on this list and knowing the skillset of the younger ones it is not surprising to me to see this Bama success.What state will shine in 2018?
B.A.S.S. asked contributors, staff and anglers to reflect on their favorite moments of 2017. You can read more of them here.