DETROIT, Sept. 24, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- As he was nearing the end of a phenomenal New York swing that saw him finish third and 11th at two Bassmaster Elite Series events, Scott Canterbury was asked what it would it mean to him to win the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title.
It was all he could do to muster even part of an answer.
"It would be a dream come true," Canterbury said before politely pausing the interview with tears in his eyes.
The Alabama pro and Elite Series newcomer was emotional over the mere prospect of winning one of the most prestigious titles in pro fishing. He also knew there was plenty of fishing left.
After last week's Cherokee Casino Tahlequah Bassmaster Elite at Lake Tenkiller, Canterbury and 49 other qualifiers finish the season at Lake St. Clair in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year (AOY) Championship. The tournament will not only determine who wins the AOY Championship, but also the 42 Elite Series pros who will take part in the 50th Bassmaster Classic, scheduled for March 6-8, 2020 on Alabama's Lake Guntersville.
Competition days for the AOY Championship will be Sept. 29-Oct. 1 with daily takeoffs at 7:10 a.m. ET from Lake St. Clair Metropark in Harrison Township, Mich., and weigh-ins back at the park each day at 3:30 p.m.
"Obviously, winning AOY has been a goal of mine since I started in this business," said Canterbury after taking a moment to gather himself. "But there are so many good fishermen in this field. It could go right down to the wire."
As in years past, the AOY Championship carries a total purse of $1 million.
The angler who catches the most weight in the three-day tournament will earn $25,000 and one of the coveted blue trophies awarded to every Elite Series winner. The real battle will be for the season AOY Championship, which carries a $100,000 prize.
That race began back in February when the Elite Series pros opened their regular season on the St. Johns River in Florida. They have since traveled to nine events in six states, with Canterbury taking the lead with 761 points.
Going into this week's championship tournament on Lake St. Clair, Texas pro Chris Zaldain (752) is second, followed by Canadian angler Cory Johnston (747) and Stetson Blaylock (741) of Arkansas. DICK'S Sporting Goods Rookie of the Year Leader Drew Cook is currently in fifth. Each is vying for his first career AOY title — and when it comes to accomplishing such a lofty career milestone, there may not be a better final proving ground than Lake St. Clair.
The massive lake, which was ranked eighth in Bassmaster Magazine's 2019 list of 100 Best Bass Lakes, features one of the best smallmouth populations in the country.
The event will have a true postseason feel as festivities begin at noon Saturday, with all 50 anglers taking part in the Bassmaster Outdoors Expo at Lake St. Clair Metropark.
From 1-4 p.m., anglers will sign autographs, pose for photographs and conduct seminars, while fans can enjoy boat demo rides, food vendors and displays from industry leaders like Toyota, Carhartt, Yamaha, T-H Marine and Power-Pole.
The local hosts for this event are the Sterling Heights Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Macomb County and Huron-Clinton Metroparks (HCMA), Lake St. Clair Metropark.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 510,000-member organization's fully integrated media platforms include the industry's leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2 and The Pursuit Channel), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For more than 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens Series, TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic.
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