Love it or hate it, Florida is the unofficial starting line for every tournament season. And while we have a looooong way until the finish line, several Alabama anglers have already jumped to early leads in the Sunshine State.
Things got kicked off two weeks ago, when rookie Elite Series angler Jesse Wiggins showcased himself as an angler to watch in the Majors with his BASS Open win on the Harris Chain. FLW effectively fired off its season a week later on the Big O, with Taylor Ashley turning, literally, nothing into a victory during the Southeast Costa event.
For the 19-year-old Ashley, this was his first Minor-level tournament. So needless to say, he doesn’t qualify for our Minors Ranking (or our Regional Ranking, for that matter). Then there is Wiggins. He also doesn’t qualify for either ranking, BUT he has won three of his last five tournaments and back-to-back BASS Southern Opens that he’s entered. Like we said, he’s one to watch this season in the Majors.
With those two not making the ranking, it’s time to talk about some guys that have.
Before the season, Trevor Fitzgerald sat on the thrown as the top Minor angler in the country. Two tournaments in, and he’s been dethroned. He hasn’t actually fished a tournament yet in 2017, but Pat Fisher has. The reigning Costa champion finished 20th at Okeechobee, and in doing so, he qualified for the ranking. Nothing like debuting in the No. 1 spot, right?
But almost as noteworthy a move was that by Marty Robinson. The Elite Series pro was 47th coming into 2017, but after dropping off a bad tournament and finishing fifth at the Harris Chain, he skyrocketed up to fifth in the Minors Ranking. Meanwhile, Mark Rose did the opposite, slipping from fourth to 23rd.