Like kids anxiously waiting for Christmas, each year California anglers anticipate the end-of-season release of George Kramer's Top-40 and while it is never short on controversy, one thing is for sure - love it or hate it, it definitely gets anglers fired up. That is the intent explained Kramer.
Not a solo endeavor for the Hall of Fame Legendary Communicator, the compilation of the best-of-the best derives from deets considered by his Bass Angler Assessment Team (BAAT).
Unsure of the year of debut for his bass biz rankings, Kramer estimated it had been the talk around fishermen's water coolers since '95. "It isn't a straight touring angler's list," he explained. "If that is what you want, you can find that on a tour website. We look at performance, relative skills and success of anglers and we love every big fish and every guy with a 60-lb limit; but we also look at other proud accomplishments, such as guides with good success and reputations from local stores and their customers."
Kramer explained the formula for the leaderboard was that there wasn't a specific formula. "If there was, there would be no need for George Kramer," he commented.
Although the list is shrouded in controversy, Kramer sees it as a way to "give his fellow anglers a pat on the back" and hopes the take away is a "feel good list" regardless of position. "It just grates on this ol' dog when guys don't see that these 40 names are the .0037 highest percent of bass fishermen that there is - a little sliver of our best anglers, no matter what spot they are in," he said.
Click here for the Kramer Top-40 List for 2013.
The old adage "...you can't please all of the people all of the time" typically holds true, but this year at least, many of the anglers asked about their Kramer inclusion, did seem pleased.
With a few hours live, the List had already made a run through the angler hotline. With a call out to many on the list, here is what some had to say:
Jeff Michels - (Shown on the FLW stage at a Western EverStart stop) It feels pretty good to be at the top of the list of some amazing angers. I've been inchin' my way up slowly. It's tough to stay no. 1; but, I would like to try and stay in the top-5. It would be a huge accomplishment. I would love to go back east and fish. If I don't go while it is right, I may regret it in the future. Thanks to George for ranking me no. 1.
Ish Monroe - (Shown with a pair from the California Delta) Second?... Second?!?!? First loser? I qualified for the Classic. I qualified for the Cup. I was 11th in Elite AOY points and I did it all out of my zip code. Second? You know... nothin' against, Jeff Michels, but what do I have to do to be first?
Chris Zaldain - Sweet! (Chris was out of the Country and the convo was cut short)
Brent Ehrler - Unfortunately, I don't get to fish in California anymore; so, I'm happy to actually make the list. The only time I spend on the water is to fish with Rick Grover from Angler's Marine or Minoru Segawa from Lucky Craft. The other days on the water are driving around Lake Perris to break in my new Ranger/Mercury for the upcoming season. As far as the Open goes, my schedule has been tied up for the last few years and I haven't been able to make it. I either have a tournament on the same week or that's my only off week, which means I get to hang out with my family. With my Ranger and all of my equipment back east, it would be difficult to drive west to fish, then turn around and drive back east again. Winning the Open is still one of my goals. Hopefully the stars will align in the future.
Cody Meyer - It's awesome!!! I was no. 1 last year; so I have some work to do to get back there. I am proud every year just to make the list. There are a ton of good California anglers.
Mark Daniels Jr. - I've moved up and movin' forward is good. There are a lot of good anglers that get overlooked; so to be on his radar is cool. Next year, fishing the Tour, I hope it just gets bigger and better and that I keep movin' forward. I look forward to reading the list every year. I would like to thank George for giving us that spark at the end of the year in the West with the list and I have to say Michels earned that no. 1. It was well placed and well deserved.
Jason Borofka - I am super-excited to get the compliment. I hope to move up higher in the list with more success next year. I would love to be no. 1. Thank you George for all of the work you do promoting the sport. It was cool of you to recognize me and congrats to West Coast Jedi Jeff Michaels for his no. 1 spot. My goal is to beat him!
Bub Tosh - Bub Tosh is back. You better bet on it!
Jimmy Reese - The difference between being ranked no. 1 and no. 2 through 40 is hard work, dedication and execution. I did not execute this past year and deserved to be 20th - lucky to be 20th. Best part about it is, I still have to passion to go do it again. Fish on!
Matt Allen - (Shown with a boatload of Clear Lake giants) The truth is, I look forward to Kramer's list, every year. It is an honor to be included. I wasn't sure I would make the cut this year with my transition from trophy hunting to guiding for trophy fish. I really, really appreciate that Kramer saw the work that was done this past year.
Ken Mah - It is nice to be recognized as one of California's top anglers. I am especially honored that he said "well liked".
Howard Hughes - It is always thrilling. There are some really good sticks out there. Thank you, George.
Andy Cuccia (Cooch) - (Shown with the 16-lb'r that Kramer referenced) He pays attention. He knows who is out there workin' hard. I used to make the list a lot when I was tournament fishing. Since I have strayed away from that and am guiding, it is cool to get recognized for my knowledge of the River and Clear Lake and other places that I guide. It goes to show you that if you stay positive and move forward, things can happen. I have to say thanks to Dan Heath for gettin' me into a Phoenix boat, or there wouldn't be any fishing and to all the help from people on Western Bass for helping me keep my head up.
Bobby Barrack - That is pretty awesome. It is an honor to be part of the List. I wish there was some way to get more guys involved in the water situation of the State. It doesn't just end with the Delta. If I could suggest one thing, it would be to spend 20 minutes a week, finding out for yourself. If you bass fish, cat fish, striper fish - if you fish - it is something you should have an understanding of. Go to RestoretheDelta.org and read it yourself. We will talk more about it, George.
Billy Egan - I'm very humbled and surprised to make George Kramer's Top 40 California anglers list.