Combs Wins AOY Championship, Palaniuk Wins AOY


x-img_9083-brandon-palaniuk copyYes, the headline for this post doesn’t seem to make sense, but it as odd as it is, it’s accurate.

Keith Combs won his first tournament ever outside the state of Texas by winning the Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship on Lake Mille Lacs. But at the end of the day, it was Brandon Palaniuk who won the coveted Angler of the Year trophy. Oh, and Dustin Connell won the Rookie of the Year trophy.

Basically, there were a lot of trophies handed out over the weekend.

In terms of the rankings, we’ll start with Combs. Clearly one of the best in Texas (he has five major wins in the state), Combs has always been far more versatile than people gave him credit, as he’s long been ranked in our top 10 and even as high as No. 2. His win at Mille Lacs proved that even more, while solidifying his No. 7 ranking in the sport.

Then there is Palaniuk. We’ve written a lot about his boom-or-bust past, but his AOY title caps off not just a consistent one-year, but two-year stretch. Palaniuk is now ranked No. 11 in our official two-year Majors Ranking. Though, he’s actually ranked No. 13 in the one-year ranking. How is that possible? His poor Bassmaster Classic showing, while not factored into his AOY points, hurts his overall average.

And we can’t forget Connell. He hasn’t fished enough tournaments to qualify for the two-year ranking, but his one-year ranking is impressive, as he sits in 15th. He had six top-30 finishes and a win in his first pro season, so expect him to debut high on the official two-year ranking early next year.

In looking at the rest of the two-year Majors ranking, the most noteworthy move was Greg Hackney slipping from eighth to 15th, while the rest of the top 10 saw plenty of shuffling. Minus Jacob Wheeler and Bryan Thrift continuing to hold down the top two spots, 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+

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