Bandit Wins Second “Angler of the Year” Honors! Joins Very Elite Group.By Jack Holmes
For the second time in the past four years, Ron Mitchell’s Bandit team earned sport fishing’s most coveted title, “Angler of the Year.”
His team now joins a very elite group made up of three-time winner, Dave Workman, Jr. and two-time winner Clayton Kirby.
Ron, from Port St. Lucie, Florida, and his team of Will Geraghty, Carl Carder, and the Butlers, David and Brad, scored a seven fish aggregate of 270.24 points. That equates to an average of 38.61 pounds per fish. Certainly not the best average we’ve seen, including Bandit’s ’06 win where they scored a 40.45 average, but it certainly beat Liquid Fire’s aggregate last year of 36.60 pounds per fish. This was a completely different team than in 2006. Only two things were the same: Contender Boats and Ron Mitchell.
Fishing a Suzuki powered Contender, Ron and the team had three kings in the forties, the biggest being a 46.84. Their finishes included a third in Key West, ninth in Jensen Beach, and finally a seventh in Fourchon. But in order to be the best in the country you must be consistent and that’s exactly what the Bandit team did. That is the mark of true Champions, each team member in his own right.
Ron was not short of talent on this year’s team. All are veterans and brought added value to their successes. Ron has a real knack for creating just the right mix. Let’s hope they stay together for a another big run at the title. They are certainly the best team fishing today! Wear your crown well, gentlemen.
The Bandit is sponsored by Suzuki Outboards, Contender Boats, Sperry Boat Shoes, Accurate Reels, Cannon Downriggers, Ocean Tamer Bean Bag, Myco Trailer, Ande Line, and Raymarine Electronics.
Newbie, Andre Moore, his highly publicized wife, Kim Bain-Moore, plus Glyn Austin, John Strudel, and Joshua Herren, earned second place with a seven fish stringer of 267.09 pounds. The Moores are from Alabaster, Alabama and fish an Evinrude powered Invincible.
Andre and company won the first leg of the Tour in Key West plus earned a tenth in Fourchon. Andre is considered to be a world-class bass fisherman and a redfish pro. His wife, Kim, is at the top of her game on the women’s Bass trail and she was the first woman to ever fish the Bassmaster’s Classic last year. Now each have the opportunity to add another title, second in the Pro’s plus Kim was the Pro Top Lady Angler.
In their seven fish stringer this year they scaled a 55.35 and a 45.55.
This is the best husband and wife team fishing in our sport today and the whole team is to be congratulated for a superb season!
The Pro’s this season weighed ten kings in the 50-pound range and 40 in the forties. The tour not only brings out the best in a team, but also forces you to target and scale big kings. The SKA Pro Tour Trail affords you that opportunity.
Mark Maus and his son Dillon, Dowling Granberry, and Sean Edmunds, put together a seven fish stringer totaling 265.03. Their seven fish included a second place in Jensen Beach and the same in Little River. That stringer included a 53.41-pound king.
Mark has been working this circuit for several years and has always been in the hunt. This was a very good season however the team had six fish in the thirties. One of those needed to be in the forties to earn the title. However, where Crikey had two fish in the high twenties, Team Simrad was a little more consistent.
Mark will be a Champion before he hangs up his rods and reels.
He fished a Mercury powered Yellowfin this season.
We finally have a south Florida team that had a shot at the title. Corey McBride, fishing the Mercury powered Sea Hunter named Conched Out, earned fourth place with 255.18 points. Corey and his team of Ryan McBride, Greg and Chase Haskin, David Kalil, and Gary McBride, had a fifty and two forties to their credit and they fished in locations they’ve never been to before. This is a team we really need to keep our eyes on. It also fostered our Top Junior Angler, Chase Haskin. They are truly destined to be recognized as one of the very best in the country.
The fifth place finisher is the Mercury powered Fountain team of Conrad Lau and Dell Williamson. With the duo were Rocky Cusack and Rad Lau, two greats in our sport. The Koolau is a dynamite team who, for reasons unbeknown to many of us, has not won a title yet. But they will!
This year they scored 254.45 points including three of their seven fish stringer in the forties. Conrad retains the title of being the most analytical captain fishing the Tour today. He was also the Top Senior Angler.
The difference between fifth place and first after scaling the teams' best seven out of a possible ten fish is only 15.79 pounds. That breaks down to just 3.16 pounds per event.
Fishing the Pros is definitely not for the weak of heart. This is without a doubt the toughest but most rewarding level of fishing you could ever be involved with!
Sixth place fell to Dan and Ken Upton’s Team Donzi. The Uptons, plus two-time past National Champion Jack Wood, David Heavenridge, and Matt Davis, posted a seven fish 253.39 score. They scaled two kings in the forties.
Kelley Clements had a wonderful season earning seventh with 250 points. That included the biggest king in the Pro’s this year, a 58.58. Kelley’s Mercury powered Fountain team included Tracy Shaw, Ellis Phillips, Bob Massey, Rusty Rogers, Michael Mosely,
and Phil Bowdle. Now that this team has their feet wet, it is not only my opinion but also, that of many. Kelley will win the title next year. His obsession will not be denied!
Danny Mathis, Harry Thomas, and Bobby Schoenfeld, won the Golden Isles leg of the Tour and went on to finish eighth overall. They too had a nice fifty-pound king plus one in the forties. The Cat Daddy team scored a seven fish, 249.9 aggregate and fish a Mercury powered Yellowfin.
Arik Bergerman came to the final event in Little River with one objective—emerge as the National Champion. He failed, however he never quit, never showed depression, or had a bad word to say about his competitors. He is one class act and with his Caliente team will be a Champion soon. He and John Smith Sr., Paul Rogers, Brian Hasson, and Mike Howes scaled a seven fish aggregate of 249.15 which included two fifty-pound kings. If they concentrate on getting their average up a little they will be in the winner's circle!
Rounding out the top ten was the fishing team, Rat Pak captained by Darren Ratley. Darren and his Mercury powered Yellowfin team of John Mott, James Stecki, John McNeill, and Jay Robertson weighed in seven kings totaling 244.68 pounds.
Now let’s look at the difference between first and tenth, 270.24 and 244.68. That’s 25.56 pounds or 5.11 pounds per tournament. That’s superior competition!
Congratulations to all the teams who fished the Yamaha Professional Kingfish Tour. You are the best competitors for many reasons including your ability to fish unfamiliar waters each year and still remain very competitive.
See you at the Nationals and next year on the Pro Tour!
|Yamaha Professional Kingfish Tour
Final Standings - Angler of the Year