AOY headed back to Michigan for 2014

Category: article

 Feb 19th, 2014 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Feb 19th, 2014 at 12:00 AM

ESCANABA, Mich – Kick off the season in the South, finish it in Michigan.

That seems to be the mantra of the schedule-makers at B.A.S.S. the past two years as the organization announced recently that the top 50 anglers in the 2014 Elite Series will find themselves on the waters of northern Lake Michigan – Little Bay de Noc/Big Bay de Noc on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, to be precise – for the 2014 Angler of the Year Championship, to be held Sept. 18-21.

Michigan native Chad Pipkens with a chunky Great Lakes smallie, the likes of which will be in abundance at the AOY Championship. (Joel Shangle)

The Elite Series culminated in 2013 with the All-Star Championship on Muskegon Lake in Michigan. B.A.S.S. has a rich history in the Great Lake states, with frequent Opens on Lake Oneida, Lake Erie, the Detroit River, etc., but the Elite Series has historically been only a semi-regular visitor to Michigan, New York, Wisconsin, etc.

Those Great Lakes fisheries, though, have produced some of the most interesting moments on the Elite schedule in recent years. For example:

-Brandon Palaniuk’s ”do or die” win in 2013 on the St. Lawrence River/Lake Ontario in Waddington, NY.

-Aaron Martens’ come-from-behind ransacking of the 2013 Angler of the Year title from Edwin Evers at the Lake St. Clair event in St. Clair, MI.

-Palaniuk’s accidental/illegal culling of fish on the Mississippi River in 2013, his subsequent disqualification of that day’s bag, and Tommy Biffle’s windfall win at that tournament in LaCrosse, WI.

-Jonathon VanDam’s first career win, at the 2013 Green Bay event in Green Bay, WI.
The AOY Championship will not be run as a traditional Elite Series tournament in the payout structure. Anglers will not be awarded cash based on their finish in the championship proper, but can improve their payout for the overall AOY schedule – in other words, there’s no $100,000 payday for the winner, but a potential boost in the competitors’ overall winnings based on a bitter finish in the AOY Championship.

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