OCEANSIDE, Calif. (November 5, 2021) – The Hobie Bass Open Series (B.O.S.) Anchored by Power-Pole® three-day Tournament of Champions (T.O.C.), to be held on Alabama’s Lake Eufaula November 12 – 14, will not only crown a new T.O.C. champion, it will also see this year’s most consistent Hobie B.O.S. competitors vying for the coveted top spot in the Angler of the Year (A.O.Y.) award presented by FarWide, the Outdoor Access App. In addition to well-deserved recognition for superior performance throughout the season series, the top three finishers also receive significant cash and product prize packages, plus highly valued braggin’ rights for the ensuing year.
“It’s been a fun race to keep up with all season, and it all comes down to these anglers going head-to-head over three days of intense competition,” says tournament director, A.J. McWhorter. “The point structure for this final event will really require these anglers to perform at their highest levels to maintain or advance their positions even as other anglers are trying to chase them down.”
Hobie’s Angler of the Year standings are based on the culmination of points earned from an angler’s top three B.O.S. open event finishes during the current season, plus their T.O.C. performance. The Top 100 anglers in each of the season’s ten open tournaments receive points starting at 100 for first place and decreasing by one point for each additional place (i.e., 99 points for second place, 98 points for third, etc.). Extra points are awarded for catching the largest limit or biggest bass of the day for an angler’s counted events. The T.O.C. is weighted heavier than other tournaments in the B.O.S. schedule, with a 2-point decrement per spot for the three-day tournament (i.e., 98 points for second place, 96 points for third, etc.). Any ties for A.O.Y. honors will be broken by the angler with the highest finish in the T.O.C.
“With the top five competitors separated by less than 7 points in the A.O.Y. standings, you can bet the pressure to perform will be as substantial as the prizes,” continues McWhorter. “The first-place finisher will receive a check for $5,000, a spot on the United States Hobie World Fishing Team, plus a Hobie Pro Angler 14 360 kayak with a custom orange and black camo color scheme completely rigged by our great sponsors including Power-Pole, Marine-Mat, Lowrance, Railblaza and Flambeau. Second place earns a substantial prize package, $3,000 check and a spot on the U.S. Hobie World Fishing Team. The bronze finisher will collect $2,000, a substantial prize package and also receives a U.S. Hobie World Fishing Team spot.”
Heading into the T.O.C., Ewing Minor is leading the charge with 298.6 points, followed by reigning champion Drew Gregory with 294.1 points and third place Bryan Howell with 294 points. Guillermo Gonzalez holds down the fourth spot with 293 points while Rus Snyders rounds out the top five with 292.3 points. All have an opportunity to claim the A.O.Y. crown, as does pretty much any angler occupying a top ten slot.
“I’m very excited to be leading the A.O.Y. standings heading into the T.O.C.,” says Ewing Minor of Charlottesville, Virginia, who at age 19 is riding high in his first season on the Hobie B.O.S. Anchored by Power-Pole trail. “A lot of competitors consider this the biggest and best tournament in kayak bass fishing. To be in the running feels incredible – and to be leading at this point is just plain crazy. Once we get started, I’ll need to put in the work necessary to catch my fish, that’s the one element I can control. I’ll also try to be as versatile as possible and try to stay on any substantial schools of bass I find for as long as I can. That’s been the formula for my success all season long.”
Minor won the Lake Hartwell B.O.S. event this season and finished second at both the Watts Bar and Susquehanna competitions while fishing from a Hobie PA12, 360 he bought from his favorite outfitter, Dugout Bait and Tackle, in Marietta, Georgia.
Drew Gregory, meanwhile, will be unable to defend his crown this year. “It’s the stuff you dream of to win one year and be in the running again the next – but I’ve got a bigger catch to focus on right now. My wife, Christina, and I are expecting our second child any day and that takes precedence over fishing. Still, I couldn’t be happier to be in this spot, and I’ll truly be excited to follow the competition on Tourney X. I’ve had a great year, cashing checks in eight of nine Hobie Bass Open Series (B.O.S.) Anchored by Power-Pole® events I entered, and I’m really proud of that consistency. While I would love to be there, I wish the best to everyone this year and I’ll catch you all next season.”
Sitting in third place, Bryan Howell of Rowlett, TX, can’t wait for the competition to begin. “My goal is always to make the T.O.C.,” he revealed, “but to be competing for the A.O.Y. title makes this really special. This award is so prestigious because it acknowledges the most consistent angler over the season. Anyone can go out and win a tourney, but to finish high in the standings on a regular basis is really difficult. I’m going into this looking to win the T.O.C. outright because all the other anglers in contention are likely to finish high in the standings. They’re all top-shelf anglers, which I find a little nerve-wracking. I plan to get into my PA14 360 and fish to my strengths, mainly around grass beds. That pattern has worked well for me so far. I just need it to hold true for three more days.” Guillermo Gonzalez of Fort Worth, Texas, meanwhile, hopes to ride his fall momentum to the A.O.Y. crown at Lake Eufaula. “I had a pretty good run late in the season with a 5th place finish at the La Crosse event and a win at Lake Pickwick,” he states. “To be in the running for A.O.Y. means a lot to me. When you consider the caliber of the anglers in the top ten, even top 20, of the A.O.Y. rankings, it’s really something special to be in the mix at the T.O.C. It’s going to be a three-day marathon with no room for a tough day and a need to really manage your fish properly. I’m just going to grind and pace myself and see how things turn out.”
Holding down the fifth spot in the A.O.Y. standings, Russ Snyders of Nashville, Tennessee, noted that Minor hasn’t made things easy for the rest of the field. “What a performance he’s put together this year,” said the seasoned Hobie B.O.S. veteran competitor. “The rest of us are still in striking distance, but he’s clearly been the most consistent up to this point. All it takes is one off day and you can drop significantly in the standings. Still, it all boils down to this three-day event and there are a lot of good names in the running. I can’t wait to see how it plays out.” The 2021 Hobie Bass Open Series (B.O.S.) Anchored by Power-Pole 3nd Annual T.O.C. is the final stop on Hobie’s celebrated kayak bass fishing tour and brings together the 50 best kayak anglers in the BOS Series, including the 2020 Grand Champion Ryan Lambert, the top 3 non-qualified finishers at each open event for the 2021 season, and the top 19 non-qualified competitors in the FarWide A.O.Y. race. These events, spread across the country, allow the series’ top finishers to showcase their skills, compete for the toughest and most highly prized title in kayak bass fishing, and gain the final qualifying spots for the Hobie Fishing Worlds 10.
Total T.O.C. payout this year will be a guaranteed $75,000, dispersed through the top 10 anglers (or 20% of the field), including a whopping $35,000 for the first-place finisher. There’s also a $1,000 bounty for Bassin’ Big Bass honors, plus the A.O.Y. prizes to be awarded.
“It’s been a terrific year for the Hobie B.O.S.,” concludes McWhorter, “and I’d especially like to thank FarWide for their support of our series and the Angler Of The Year competition. They make a great app that many of our competitors use to find legal public fishing access and less pressured waters. For fishing, hunting or any kind of outdoor access, it’s just an incredible resource so be sure to check it out.” Let the competition begin.