It’s amazing how another strong tournament performance – and moving up one spot in the Angler of the Year standings – can alter one’s attitude.
“It’s a great position to be in,” said the new leader for Angler of the Year. “I couldn’t be happier.”
The veteran Tennessee pro, who has won the Angler of the Year title on another circuit but has never been in contention for the BASS honor, finished second in the Tour season-opener at Lake Tohopekaliga. He followed that performance with a 20th-place showing last week on the Harris Chain of Lakes.
“You want to set your goals high every year – like win the Classic … win Angler of the Year … win a tournament,” Walker explained. “Aim high, and if you hit a little low, you’re still happy.
“I don’t ever get my hopes up and expect something like that to happen, either. You can put yourself in a position where you really fall hard.”
Walker was asked if leading or being in contention for the Angler of the Year crown will affect his strategy in future Tour events.
“I don’t think so,” he replied. “It might very well impact it toward the end of the race, if I’m in position to win. It’s a little early to be talking about it now, but as we get closer to the last event, it’s definitely going to be the main concern on my mind.
“Right now, I go into every tournament just trying to catch as many fish as I can. I don’t know what I could do differently.
“I’m really happy with my first two tournaments,” he added. “When you have a season like this, where you’re fishing one tournament right after another, it’s great to start off with this kind of momentum.”
Reigning CITGO Bassmaster Classic champion Takahiro Omori fell to second in the standings, 10 points behind Walker with 520 points. He followed up a win in the season-opener at Toho with a 35th-place finish at the Harris Chain.
Arkansas’ Scott Rook is third with 513 points, followed by California’s Skeet Reese (507) and Toyota Rookie of the Year leader Andre Moore of Arizona (505). Reigning CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year Gerald Swindle dropped to 17th after a disappointing 62nd-place showing at the Harris Chain.
“I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t thinking about Angler of the Year,” Rook said. “It’s a pretty prestigious award with CITGO involved in it. I’ve studied the points that it took last year, and I’ve figured out what I would need to have in each tournament, so, yeah, I’m thinking about it.”
BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail, which includes the Bassmaster Elite 50 series, is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass fishing tournament circuit and continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism and sportsmanship as it has since 1968.
Sponsors of the CITGO Bassmaster Tour include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Toyota, Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops and Cialis (tadalafil).
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (334) 551-2375 or visit www.bassmaster.com.