Sep 18th, 2014 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Sep 18th, 2014 at 12:00 AM
Chilly morning temperatures in the 30s didn’t cool off the bass bite for competitors fishing the Bassmaster Angler of the Year (AOY) Championship out of Escanaba, MI. Sure, cold air in the early morning never feels very good when you’re blasting across the water at 70 mph, but most of the anglers heated up pretty darn quick thanks to cooperative smallmouth bass living in the Bays de Noc on Lake Michigan.
The big bag of Day 1 went to Ranger Boats pro Brett Hite weighing 24 pounds, 6 ounces.
Phoenix Boats pro Brandon Lester is in second with 24-2.
The real deal here is the hunt for the coveted Bassmaster AOY. Three anglers are the odds-on favorites to take the title. Coming into the event Strike King pro Greg Hackney was leading the AOY. In second was Megabass pro Aaron Martens and Yamaha pro Todd Faircloth was in third.
A slight flip-flop happened today. Hackney maintained his lead in the AOY standings. Todd Faircloth is now in second with Aaron Martens in third.
Hackney caught enough to stay on top
“I caught a lot of fish today,” said Hackney. “I didn’t get any big fish. I zigged when I should’ve zagged. It didn’t start right for me this morning, but I’ll take it.
“I don’t feel the AOY pressure when I am fishing, but I did feel it coming into weigh-in. When I started catching them this morning and getting into the groove the pressure went away and I didn’t think about it. I have a couple of days left to try and win it.”
Faircloth in control
“Winning the AOY would be life changing for me,” said Faircloth. “The Classic and the AOY are the most prestigious titles. I’ve been close several times.
“I can’t do anything about what Hackney or Aaron do, but I can kind of control what I do. I’ll put it into the hands of the Lord and what happens happens.”
Big fish eluded Martens
“I had a good practice,” said Martens. “I had a couple of 24-pound days. I caught a couple 7-pounders. I just didn’t get them today. I weighed a couple of 2-pounders. I’m fishing areas where there are a lot of other guys fishing.
“We’ll see how the wind effects the fishing tomorrow. Not sure if we will be able to get out. We’ll see. Maybe I can catch them. I don’t know.”