'Saves' important in AOY race

Similar to a “save” in baseball, when a relief pitcher comes in to quell an opposition rally, an angler needs some “saves” during the Elite Series season if he’s going to compete for the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title.

In short, a “save” on the Elite Series is when an angler rallies from a bad first day and gets it together on Day 2. Drew Cook is a prime example this year. The Midway, Fla., angler, depending upon where he finishes today, could be leading and is going to be ranked at least in the top five of the AOY standings after three tournaments. Cook’s save came on the St. Johns River, where he was in 53rd place on Day 1 and rallied with 24-5 on Day 2 to eventually finish 18th. That’s a 35-point “save” in AOY points. 

Brandon Cobb, who could also be the AOY leader after this event, has an even more impressive save. On the first day at Lake Lanier, Cobb was in 63rd place. He moved up to 32nd to barely make the top 35 cut on Day 2, then jumped all the way to a 14th-place finish on Day 3. That’s a 49-point save.

Scott Canterbury, currently ranked 4th in AOY points, recorded a similar save at the St. Johns River. He was 55th after Day 1 when he caught only 10-3. He regrouped on Day 2 with 25-12 to jump to 17th place and eventually finished 9th – a 46-point save.

As for saves this week at Lake Hartwell, Cook has recorded another one, though not nearly as dramatic as the one at the St. Johns River. He was 25th after Day 1 at Hartwell before jumping to 3rd on Day 2 with the only 20-pound bag of the tournament through three days. He started today in 4th place. Stetson Blaylock, currently tied for 7th in AOY points, was 33rd on Day 1 and recovered to 10th place on Day 2. He began today in 3rd place.

Remember, it’s only in the final standings when AOY points are earned. It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish. But a bad start can get in your head and lead to a bad finish if you don’t keep your wits about you. It’s the stuff of which AOY champions are made.