Lee a Darkhorse (Blackfish?) for AOY
With the 2016 Bassmaster Elite season in the books, it’s time to look ahead to 2017. The race for
Angler of the Year (AOY) will, as always, be hotly contested right out of the gate. Aaron Mertens,
Greg Hackney, and Gerald Swindle (the reigning champ) are the early favorites, while Edwin
Evers and Skeet Reese are near the top, as well.
The living legend Kevin VanDam gets a nod, too, based on his past resume, one presumes, more
than his recent results.
While those guys are all deserving of a spot near the top of the list for one reason or another, I
see a few anglers who could surprise in 2017. If you look back at the Angler of the Year
winners-list, you’ll see that repeat winners are more common than first-timers. But the sport is
more wide-open than ever these days and there is so much talent in every neck of the woods �
and a lot of that talent is young; I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if a first-timer takes home the
coveted title in 2017.
One man I like, in particular, is Jordan Lee. The Cullman, Alabama, native finished sixth in the
AOY standings last year, thanks in large part to his runner-up finish at Cayuga Lake and
fourth-place at Mississippi River. He had another three top-15s and only finished outside of the
top-30 four times in 11 Bassmaster Elite tournaments.
Long story short, the Auburn grad was one of the most consistent anglers, week in and week out.
If you’re going to win AOY, you have to be consistent, snagging points at every opportunity.
A couple years ago (2014 season), a 23-year-old Lee was the youngest angler on the Elite tour.
Now 25 years old, Lee is still on the rise and it’s only a matter of time before he gets his first Elite