While various towns throughout the Southeast – ranging from Guntersville, Ala., to Clewiston, Fla., to a variety of spots in Texas – could claim the title of big bass capital of the country, when it comes to Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing, the epicenter of the world is in Chester County, Penn.. Last year Mark Ely of Downington took home the grand prize, and this year Jamond Hunt, from nearby Cochranville, claimed top honors, beating over 30,000 other contestants.
For his win, Hunt will receive a fully-rigged Triton 189TrX powered by a Yamaha VF150LA outboard, a $34,965 value.
Hunt’s route to the title was unconventional in a variety of ways.
“I’m 39 now, but at 30 I didn’t even know that pro bass fishing existed,” he said. “I got married at 33 and got into it through my father-in-law. I still have friends who don’t believe that it exists. None of my friends fish.”
Despite having no defined strategy to earn the win, a hallmark of his season was an effort to make picks that were outside the norm. He never picked longtime fan favorites like Kevin VanDam, Mike Iaconelli, Skeet Reese, Aaron Martens or then-reigning Angler of the Year Brandon Palaniuk.
Of the top 17 anglers in the final AOY standings for 2018, he never picked 14 of them. Instead, he employed a “Moneyball”-style strategy in rejecting older pros who might underperform while picking lesser-known or less-popular names who were consistently at the top.