Highlights of 2013 Tour Season

Category: Tournament

 Dec 31st, 2013 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Dec 31st, 2013 at 12:00 AM

One more year is about to be entered into the dust bin of time, so why not look back at some of the highlights of the pro bass fishing season? Oh, this will not be some crazy 20 best-of list, nope, just three tidbits to chew on as we await the dawn of a new fishing season when the pros venture forth again in February 2014.

The Tharp-inator

FWC Champ Randall Tharp(Joel Shangle)

Evinrude pro Randall Tharp has been cashing checks for a while on the FLW Tour. This year he went in and captured the big prize in the FLW, the Forrest Wood Cup and a cool half million bucks. While the excitement over that win was still lingering like the scent of the bacon you fried earlier in the day, Tharp wins a B.A.S.S. Open event qualifying him to fish the 2014 Bassmaster Classic, the grand-pappy of all pro bass championships. In one little blip in time of our planet, Tharp is now one of the Elite anglers. He will be fishing the Elite Series next year along with the FLW Tour. Tear ’em up.

Palaniuk Nation

Rapala pro Brandon Palaniuk is probably the hottest commodity in pro fishing right now. Ever wonder why? Well, he is a master at self-promotion. His FaceBook page gets plenty of visits. His imagery and his GoPro videos are excellent, but 2013 was about his fishing. Palaniuk’s season started with a little excitement finishing second at the Bassmaster Classic. He made it to the Classic in 2013 thanks to winning an event on the Elite Series the previous year. Palaniuk planned to make it to the Classic in 2014 by not only winning an event, but by placing high enough in Angler of the Year points as well.

Um, yeah, not so much. By the time June rolled around and the Elites were heading to the Mississippi River out of LaCrosse, Wisconsin Palaniuk knew his chances to get to the Classic again were over, unless he won an event.

Then it started. He was crushing them. Leading the event and pulling away after two days. On the third day, he was clearly going to destroy the competition. Then he screws up and gets disqualified. No worries, Palaniuk simply starts over again in New York and dominates the best that B.A.S.S. has to offer once again for four days to win and get in to fish the Classic. Palaniuk was so dominant over that span, it was amazing.

Elite Angler of the Year

Bassmaster Elite Series AOY Martens (Joel Shangle)

The 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year race was epic for sure. When the Elite anglers were heading to the event in Waddington, New York, the race was tight. This event and one more on Lake St. Clair in Michigan would decide the winner. Bass Pro Shops star Edwin Evers was in the lead. Hot on his heels was former Angler of the Year Trokar pro Skeet Reese. Also lurking were former winners Strike King pro Kevin VanDam and Megabass man Aaron Martens.

Skeet tanked at New York and was out of the race. Kevin was pretty much a long shot heading into Michigan, but that is as close to home waters as you can get for him. Evers remained the leader, but Martens made a move.

Evers was on fish in St. Clair, but so were Martens and VanDam. When the tournament started, Evers’ fish seemingly disappeared, VanDam did okay, but Martens made an epic run into Lake Erie. After battling for the lead, Martens eliminated the competition for one heck of an Angler of the Year victory. Add to that, on the last day Martens could have won the event as well, but had issues with his engine coming loose thanks to the brutal runs he’d been making. Classic case of giving it everything you’ve got and coming out on top.

Let’s see if 2014 can compete.

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