SACRAMENTO, Ca. – It’s only been done once before when Vince Bernal and Scott Stevens went on a 2-year tear that yielded them two FPT Angler of the Year titles – in both regions no less.
And while some thought that to be an anomaly, and something that could never be repeated given the stiff level of FPT competition, Robert Riley and Mike Barnard proved once again that nothing is impossible when it comes to competitive bass fishing, and pulled a “repeat” taking their 2nd consecutive FPT Angler of the Year title- in dominating fashion.
Dubbed the Coors Light – “Cold as Ice” Silver Bullet Award, they will receive the inaugural Coors Light Silver Bullet Trophy, along with a $500 cash bonus for their achievement. In addition, they were also crowned back-to- back Navionics Cup Champions, and will receive a $200 Chevron gas card for their efforts.
Congratulations Robert and Mike on a great achievement!
Northern region takes a mid-year break as AOY race shapes up to be a serious “dog fight”
With each of the 4 northern region events held this year yielding well over 100 teams, it goes without saying that this tour is not for the faint at heart.
Events that took 20 pounds to get into the top 50….anglers such as 2012 Classic champions Ryan Habenich and Robert Thornton that know how to “adjust” and pull 30 pound stringers out of areas overlooked by the entire field… split venues that challenge the field to fish at two different times of the day – at two opposite tides, has brought the inaugural Coors Light – “Cold As Ice” Angler of the Year race to a full boil – and way too close to call.
Leading the pack by a mere 4 points are perennial favorites “Suga” Shane Pierson and Travis Ladner who’s steady performances over four events have kept them on top for most of the season. Shane and Travis do extremely well on lakes and with Lake Berryessa up next on the schedule after the summer break, and the final event being held on deep and clear Lake Oroville, they stand a very good chance of maintaining their position and capturing the prestigious Coors Light Angler of the Year title.
But don’t change the channel just yet.
Look down the list and you will notice just four and five points out of the lead respectively, laying in wait, like lions in the bush, Stacy Gee and Rafael Ortiz (the “Sacramento Bad Boy”), along with Austin Wilson and Jose Juarez who aren’t buying into the “hype” for one minute.
“I’m looking forward to Lake Berryessa”, noted Austin, referring to the nearly 30 pound limit he brought to the scales to win the FPT’s season opener in March of 2012. We’re looking to crush the field at Berryessa and shut the door at the final event on Oroville”, he added.
Stacy Gee and Rafael Ortiz have other ideas however, and have indicated that they will rely on their versatility with both big reaction baits, and finesse baits to overcome the odds of such staunch competition. “Yes..Berryessa has some BIG Bass in it..but ANYBODY can catch them in the early spring”, Stacy noted in a matter-of-fact tone. In the fall, you got to go find them…and we know how to locate big fish in the fall”.
By the sounds of things, this is shaping up to be amateur bass fishing’s version of a WWE “battle royal” as three of the best teams in the west rest up – and then square up, for a “dogfight” that in the end, will leave only one team standing.
But as the saying goes…”It ain’t over till it’s over” and we will soon see who can stay “Cold and Ice” under pressure and win the inaugural Coors Light Angler of the Year title – an accomplishment that they can truly be proud of.
See you all in September!
The Future Pro Tour is presented in part by:
Bass Angler Magazine
Thunder Valley Casino/Resort
Johnson Outdoors – featuring Humminbird /Minn Kota
The Fish Sniffer Magazine
Stockton Convention and Visitors Bureau
Yamamoto Custom Baits
MAACO Auto Painting
Billy Chapman Anglers Inn International at El Salto Mexico
C&C Marine – Citrus Heights/Modesto
Anglers Marine – Anaheim/San Diego
Marine Unlimited – Petaluma
Fisherman’s Warehouse – Sac, Manteca/Fresno/San Jose and now online!
Hook, Line & Sinker – Oakley/Bethel and now online!
Walton’s Pond – San Leandro
Outdoor Pro Shops – Ronhert Park/Oakland and now online!
Comfort Suites of Oakley
Destiny Wine Tours