Angler of the 2000s


Crowning an angler of the century right now would be like naming a winner to a marathon after the first mile. There is still plenty of fishing to be done.

However, with Bass Rankings recently expanding its database to include every Major- and Minor-level event since the turn of the century – pushing the site’s total to more than 26,000 anglers – we figured can at least now crown an angler of the first decade.

Using a Custom Search, we looked from Jan. 1, 2000 through Dec. 31, 2009, with a 15-tournament minimum (we expanded the minimum since the time-frame was expanded). Here are the results for the Majors:

1. Kevin VanDam                801.379

2. Brent Ehrler                    774.610

3. Clark Wendlandt            731.788

4. Bryan Thrift                     726.668

5. Shinichi Fukae                713.588

6. Skeet Reese                     713.056

7. Andy Morgan                  705.858

8. David Dudley                  704.931

9. Greg Hackney                 701.266

10. Dave Lefebre                 694.586

We doubt many of you were surprised by the man at the top, because we sure weren’t. VanDam is clearly one of the best anglers the sport has ever seen, and he definitely was the best Major-level angler in the 2000s. His best season was 2005, when he scored an 852.272, while in his worst season (2003) he still beat 71.1 percent of the field.

Something you may notice is the disparity between BASS pros and FLW pros on this list. However, just as with our current World Rankings, the increased number of FLW pros compared to BASS pros means the odds favor more FLW pros will make a top-10 list. In other words, in any given tournament there are roughly 150 FLW pros and 100 BASS pros.  That’s a 3-to-2 ratio, which means, statistically, that for every two BASS pros in a top 10 there will be three FLW pros. That doesn’t mean there couldn’t be more BASS pros than FLW pros in a top 10, but the probability speaks otherwise.

Getting back to the rankings, we also looked back at the Minors level. This was a tough one, as Minor-level anglers routinely work their way into the Majors, while Major-level pros dip into the Minors. With that in mind we decided to show you the top 20 Minor-level anglers, not excluding Major-level pros, with a 15-tournament minimum.

1. Skeet Reese                    931.065

2. Edwin Evers                  907.691

3. Greg Hackney               863.194

4. Michael Iaconelli          862.163

5. Todd Faircloth              860.000

6. Brent Ehrler                  841.757

7. Rufus Johnson              835.686

8. Terry Scroggins            833.702

9. Aaron Martens              832.374

10. Troy Eakins                 831.410

11. Clark Wendlandt         822.431

12. Michael Trombly        821.557

13. Scott Rook                    820.332

14. Keith Combs                 819.831

15. Rick Clunn                    816.353

16. Jimmy Reese                815.297

17. Stacey King                   811.486

18. Michael Tuck                810.143

19. Wesley Strader             807.482

20. Cliff Pace                       806.674

There are obviously some heavy hitters on this list, starting with the top guy, Skeet Reese, and his jaw-dropping 931.065. We have seen guys pull off a number like that over the course of a season or a couple of seasons. But for a decade? That’s impressive.

In fact, an angler had to average beating more than 80 percent of the field for an entire decade just to crack the top 20. That kind of consistency is something we can’t wait to compare with previous decades, once we expand our database in the future, of course.





About Author

Sean cut his teeth in the journalist world as an award-winning sports reporter, editor and freelancer for various Chicagoland newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times and Daily Herald, eventually crossing over into editing and freelance writing in the Outdoor industry. In addition to his position as Editor for, he is also a freelance outdoor writer and lure designer. He resides in the Chicago suburb of Lockport. An avid Bass and Muskie fisherman, his fishing influence began on ponds and lakes in northeast Illinois and has since expanded to a multitude of species across North and Central America. His passion for the sport is rivaled only by his love for building fishing lures, with a number of his designs being used by top professional anglers and produced by various lure companies today. Google+


  1. Sean Ostruszka on


    We definitely plan on doing that once we expand our database back that far. Glad you enjoyed the article.

    Bass Rankings team

  2. I think you should do a similar ranking for all the decades starting in the 60’s or 70’s.