Kansan Brent Chapman has had a phenomenal year as a professional bass fisherman. The Lake Quivira resident started the 2012 season of the Bassmaster Elite Series ranked 58th in the world of bass fishing, according to the BassFan.com World Rankings. He finished the season by winning the final event on New York’s Oneida Lake on Aug. 23-26. That win also landed him the 2012 Bassmaster Angler of the Year award (AOY), professional bass fishing’s most prestigious honor.
As the series of eight tournaments unfolded in March, Chapman started strong with a fourth-place finish at the St. John’s River in Florida. A fifth at Lake Okeechobee, Fla., moved him up to second in the AOY race. After another fifth-place finish, this time at Missouri’s Table Rock Lake, he found himself at the top of the AOY list. Unfortunately, Douglas Lake in Tennessee proved to be a challenging venue, and he finished well down the list at 68th place, out of the money cut (top 50). This finish dropped him to third in the AOY standings, 40 points behind the new leader.
Apparently determined to erase the sour taste of a poor finish after three consecutive top fives, he rebounded to dominate the next contest on Louisiana’s Toledo Bend, taking the lead on the second day and never relinquishing it. It was his first Elite Series win and fourth win of his 17-year career.
Chapman continued with a string of high finishes, logging a 22nd at the Upper Mississippi River, then a 27th at Lake Michigan’s Green Bay. This put him back atop the AOY points race going into Lake Oneida.
The AOY award not only netted Chapman $100,000 but ensures him of a string of future endorsements. And he has already qualified for the 2013 Bassmaster Classic Tournament, the Super Bowl of bass fishing. That event will be held much closer to home next year, at Grand Lake, Okla.
Image courtesy Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism