perfect storm of Bassmaster Elite Series drama at Lake Fork

QUITMAN, Texas,  Three factors have come collectively — one planned, one unpredictable and one unexpected — to create a best storm of Bassmaster Elite Series drama at Lake Fork Nov. 5-8. From Angler of the Year to Rookie of the Year to berths in the 2021 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic, a charming range of eventualities will be in play at the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.

When the 2020 agenda used to be announced, it did not encompass a season-ending Angler of the Year Championship, which when you consider that 2014 had covered solely the Top 50 anglers in AOY points. That Top 50 structure was, inadvertently, a drama-killer. It eradicated the volatility in factors that takes place in all the different full-field events.

In everyday season full-field events, first-place is really worth one hundred factors and every location down the standings is well worth one factor less. With the cutting-edge 85-man field, remaining area is well worth sixteen points, supplied the angler catches at least one bass over two days. No bass, no points.

In most years there may be no way to understand whether or not one angler will have a almost insurmountable lead in AOY factors earlier than the season-ending event. It has passed off in the past. But it truly is now not the case this year. David Mullins, of Mt. Carmel, Tenn., has simply a five-point lead over Elite Series rookie Austin Felix, of Eden Prairie, Minn. The Top 5 anglers — Mullins, Felix, Clark Wendlandt of Leander, Texas, Jake Whitaker of Fairview, N.C. and Kyle Welcher of Opelika, Ala. — are separated via solely 31 points.

As for the Rookie of the Year race, Felix leads Welcher by way of 26 points. Japanese angler Taku Ito is third, sixty three factors in the back of Welcher.

Finally, there may be the unforeseen, specifically the COVID-19 pandemic. The Elite Series time table was once definitely reshuffled after the 2020 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic introduced by using Huk at Lake Guntersville on March 6-8. The season-ending match in the unique agenda was once at Lake St. Clair on Aug. 20-23. The Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest was once scheduled June 5-9, as the sixth in a nine-tournament slate.

Texas Fest has continually blanketed some bonuses larger than the different regular-season events. First area is really worth $125,000 alternatively of $100,000, and the angler with the largest bass of the event receives a Toyota Tundra. But what can be the largest prize for the winner, relying upon his AOY rank, is an automated berth into the Bassmaster Classic. It looks becoming that in this loopy year, there would be a single automated Classic berth on hand to each and every angler, no depend how some distance down the listing he is in AOY points, in this last Elite Series tournament of 2020.

It is not possible to overestimate what it skill for anglers to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic. Qualifying for the Classic indicators a profitable season for the angler, their family, sponsors and future in the sport. The Top 39 anglers in the closing AOY factors listing qualify for the Classic. However, that wide variety grows every season through a various quantity based totally on double-qualifiers.

For instance, as the 2020 Classic champion, Hank Cherry, of Lincolnton, N.C., routinely qualifies for the 2021 Classic. Cherry is presently forty third in AOY points. If he strikes internal the Top 39 Classic reduce at Lake Fork, it would pass the AOY listing down any other spot to 40.

If an angler wins Texas Fest at Lake Fork who is inner the AOY Classic cut, it would cross the Classic qualifiers listing down every other spot to 41.

The Classic double-qualifiers develop additionally from the Bassmaster Opens Series winners. A Classic berth is awarded to every of the eight Opens winners.

Elite Series angler Patrick Walters, of Summerville, S.C., gained September's Bassmaster Eastern Open on Lake Hartwell. He presently ranks eleventh in AOY points. A prerequisite for Classic qualification for an Opens winner is that the angler competes in all 4 tournaments of the division, whether or not Eastern or Central. Walters may not formally be double-qualified till he competes in the last Eastern Open ultimate on the schedule, however it really is a given. So the AOY Classic reduce mark begins at 39, has moved to 40, and, if you remember Walters, it should be forty two after Texas Fest, relying on Cherry's AOY end and whether or not the match winner is Classic-qualified by means of AOY.

There are nevertheless two Opens Series tournaments on the revised time table — Nov. 19-21 at Texas' Lewisville Lake and Dec. 3-5 at Alabama's Lay Lake.

So, no count what occurs at Lake Fork, the computerized qualifiers from the ultimate AOY factors standings might not be recognized till that last Eastern Open in December at Lay Lake.

But, again, with this full-field structure in the remaining event, there will possibly be numerous ups and downs in the AOY factors race round that fortieth location mark. There are countless situations round the Classic reduce line when solely fifty five factors separate thirty fifth vicinity and fiftieth place, as they do now.

Thanks to a best storm of events, there will be extra drama in an Elite Series closing match of the 12 months than there has ever been before.

Bassmaster LIVE will cowl the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Nov. 5-8 on and ESPN3. Championship Sunday will function extra stay insurance on ESPN2. Check nearby listings for details. 

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