Hmmm, where to begin? Do we start with Seth Feider crushing it on Lake Mille Lacs during the Elite Series Toyota Angler of the Year Championship? How about Gerald Swindle hanging on for his second Angler of the Year title? Or then there was Bryan Thrift doing what he does best, winning on Lake Norman during the FLW Tour Invitation – and in the process, reclaiming the No. 1 spot in our rankings.
Yeah, it was a packed week in our sport.
We’ll start with what everyone is talking about, the AOY Championship. More specifically, Lake Mille Lacs. Even at the FLW Tour Invitational, everyone was talking about the smallmouth smashfest the lake produced. And no one did it better than local, Feider, who barely made it into the tournament. Mille Lacs clearly was the big winner over the weekend, but Feider also made quite the name for himself. Then again, he’s actually been quietly putting together a good career. His victory bumps him all the way up to 32nd in out rankings. So he’s not just a Northern stick.
Swindle was already one of the biggest names in the sport, having won and AOY title before. Winning a second puts him in rare company. Yet, his finish at Mille Lacs – thanks in large part to an awful first day that put his AOY title in jeopardy – actually dropped him from 22nd to 36th. Not that we think he’ll mind. The title was the main thing, and he got it.
We’ll finish up with the new top angler in the sport, Thrift. Realistically, the FLW Tour Invitational could’ve been coined the “Thrift Charity Tournament.” In the last five years, no one has had a better average than Thrift on that body of water, as he’s beaten a staggering 98 percent of the field! Oh, and the second best angler is his good friend Bryan New. Needless to say, Thrift was the favorite, and he delivered. The victory now has him back in the top spot for the first time since early 2015, when he and Andy Morgan were trading it on a weekly basis.