Clark Wendlandt has fished professionally since 1992. He’s 54 years old and is out fishing a bunch of guys 20 years younger than him.
That’s particularly impressive given the physical rigors of a four-day tournament that includes three days of practice and lots of travel.
Wendlandt is leading the Bassmaster Angler of the Year points race and finished fourth in the YETI Bassmaster Elite at Lake St. Clair.
“You’ve got to have staying power,” said Wendlandt. “You have to have the drive to want to do well all the time.”
Wendlandt takes good care of himself in part because he’s a diabetic.
“I have to watch things closely,” he said. “I exercise, though not religiously. I pretty much fish every day. That will keep you young.
“What I love about this sport is there’s no resting on your laurels. If you have a bad tournament everyone forgets about you. To have a chance at AOY you have to fish every tournament well.”
After finishing 44th in the 2019 AOY race, his first Elite campaign, Wendlandt is on fire in 2020. He has three Top-10 finishes, a 16 and a 46.
That’s after three Angler of the Year titles at FLW, four FLW tour wins, and qualifying 18 times for the Forrest Wood Cup. He has also fished four Bassmaster Classics and has earned more than $2.5 million on the two tours.
In 2020 with a global pandemic and recession making life difficult for most of us, Wendlandt appears to have a new lease on life.
“I want a blue trophy,” he said. “That has rejuvenated me.”
Wendlandt has also reached the stage of life where he has less family responsibilities, and that may have freed him up a bit.
“When our kids were young and playing sports I didn’t want to leave home and head up north to fish tournaments,” said Wendlandt. “But they’re married now, and I just think about catching the next bass.”
Is Wendlandt beginning to think about an Elite AOY title?
“No, not at all,” he said. “We won’t think about that until the last tournament or two of the year.”