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10 Most Recent B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year Recipients

The B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year Award is one of the most prestigious bass fishing prizes of them all.

Ever since I was a kid I wanted to be the best bass fisherman in the world. Pro anglers like like Roland Martin, Bill Dance, Jimmy Houston, and Rick Clunn set the example, and it was amazing to watch them work their trade. For the more recent fishing fans out there, folks like Kevin VanDam, Gerald Swindle, and Brandon Palaniuk have become the role models we admire.

Ever since the idea of a pro bass fishing competition was born, we've been cheering on our favorite anglers ever since. Each season culminates in the awarding of the Angler of the Year, as determined by the B.A.S.S. organization.

We figured it was about time to examine the last decade's 10 winners. Let's take a look at the list, as well as how they determine who wins, what the winner gets, and how they've fared since winning it.

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Toyota Bass Angler of the Year Points System

With a few updates to their point system over the years, the Bassmaster Elite Series has crowned a new Angler of the Year every year for some 50 years and counting. With some great names added to the list, the last 10 years have been a decade to remember.

Way back in 2011 Bassmaster posted its rules for their AOY point system to see who ultimately was the best bass fisherman that season. With little change over the years, the angler who consistently boats and releases big bass, as well as holds a lead during a tournament or outright wins one, walks away with bragging honors for that year.

Here's what they said back then:

"The system awards 300 points to the winner of each tournament, with a five-point decrease per position through fifth place, which receives 280 points. There is a four-point decrease from sixth (276) to 10th (260); a three-point decrease per position from 11th place (257) to 15th (245); and a two-point decrease per position from 16th place through the rest of the field."

As recently as 2016, the rules were updated slightly. THe change went like this:

"Instead of points being awarded only to the anglers who finish first through 100th, points will now be awarded to all anglers based on the size of the field. For example, if 111 anglers take part in the first event, the winning angler will receive 111 points and the last-place angler will receive one. That system will remain in place all season, even if anglers drop out of the Elite Series and the field shrinks."

With only two repeat winners in the last 10 fishing seasons, B.A.S.S. has given the bass fishing world an MVP honor, and here's how it's shaken out.

2010 AOY: Kevin VanDam

Affectionately known as KVD among angling fans, VanDam is the highest-earning bass angler ever on the tour with over six million dollars to his fishing name and counting. Even though he's moved from the B.A.S.S. circuit to Major League Fishing, KVD still deserves a prominent spot in pro fishing's all-time list.

2011 AOY: KVD Again!

We're looking back ten years for this list, but that doesn't allow us to tell the whole story of VanDam's dominance. Just in case you didn't know, 2011 wasn't his second straight Angler of the Year title, it was his fourth in a row!

2012 AOY: Brent Chapman

Chapman has been in over 250 tournaments, had four first place finishes, and has earned close to two million dollars in prize money.

2013 AOY: Aaron Martens

Martens has cashed in on the money over the course of his excellent career with over three million dollars in earnings and nine first place finishes.

2014 AOY: Greg Hackney

The three-time Elite Series champion and the 2014 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Greg Hackney has been a part of some 200 tournaments, finished first six times, and made over two million dollars.

2015 AOY: Aaron Martens

Aaron Martens' AOY award in 2015 was the most recent of his three awards, winning in 2005 and 2013 as well.

2016 AOY: Gerald Swindle

Gerald Swindle's accomplishments include 18 Bassmaster Classic appearances and 55 Top 10 finishes. The G-Man won Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year titles in 2004 and 2016.

2017 AOY: Brandon Palaniuk

With just about 130 total tournament appearances, Brandon Palaniuk has six first place finishes and nearly two million dollars in total earnings.

2018 AOY: Justin Lucas

With two first place finishes in 67 tournaments, Lucas has shown that he is here to stay while closing in on one million dollars in total earnings.

2019 AOY: Scott Canterbury

In only his third year on the Bassmaster Elite Series, Scott Canterbury won the 2019 Angler of the Year award after a great season and hasn't slowed down yet.

2020 AOY: Clark Wendlandt

Even without a first place finish, Clark Wendlandt has shown how successful an angler can be with a simple formula. He has still placed in the top five over 20 times!

2021 Angler of the Year: Seth Feider

Seth Feider hung on to the number one spot last season, just barely ahead of fellow bass anglers Chris Johnston, former AOY winner Brandon Palaniuk, and many other great bass fishermen.

Who Will Win Next Year?

When the weigh-ins are over and the standings have been updated, the AOY title will be handed out to a very good bass angler. Honestly, that's a victory for the rest of us. Elite Series anglers from Texas to Florida lay it all on the line during the regular season to win each tournament they enter. Whether they are targeting smallmouth or largemouth bass, their objective to catch the most big bass of anyone can sometimes materialize.

With the Angler of the Year award on the table, pros know they have to turn in great performance after great performance.

Whether they are fishing the St. Johns River, Lake Guntersville, or the St. Lawrence River, the B.A.S.S. fans will be eager to see who wins each weekend. And when the final points are tallied, it's their great bass fishing knowledge that each Angler of the Year can hang their hat on.

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