HomeFeaturesMoments of 2011–Part Two story and photos by Dan O’Sullivan In 2011 Moments part one, we looked at some of the happenings that made news, or history in the sport of bass fishing over the past 12 months. We talked about KVD’s fourth Bassmaster Classic championship, Dudley’s second FLW Tour Angler of the Year title, Brandon Palaniuk’s emergence on the scene and the class he’s exhibited throughout. We looked back on Scott Martin’s win at the Forrest Wood Cup and some touching displays of humanity and character. But, we weren’t able to cover everything that we feel was a significant item throughout the year. There were more events that became a part of the definition of 2011. VanDam AOY #5 Along with his fourth Classic, VanDam also continued his dominance on the Elite Series by claiming his fifth Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year title. VanDam claimed five top 10 finishes en route to a 153 point margin of victory over Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla. Old Guys Rule 2011 brought a resurgence of some of the old veterans to the top of the food chain at the sport’s highest levels. Two Elite Series events were won by anglers who first came to prominence more than 30 years ago, and the final FLW Tour event of 2011 was claimed by another. Shaw Grigsby won the season opening Elite Series event on Florida’s Harris Chain by sightfishing his way through the four-day event; it was his 9th career B.A.S.S. victory. In the seventh event; the Diamond Drive, on the Arkansas River out of Little Rock, Denny Brauer used a football jig offshore to win his 17th Bassmaster tournament. Paul Elias struck gold as well, claiming victory on Alabama’s Lake Guntersville in wire to wire fashion. Elias’ victory would have another effect on the industry; which we’ll get into a little later. World Record Holder at the Classic Because the world record largemouth bass was caught in 1932 by George Perry, the chance to meet the man who caught the 22-pound, 4-ounce largemouth was not a possibility to the majority of the people who make up the participants and fans of the sport today. That changed when Manubu Kurita’s 22-pound, 5-ounce Lake Biwa, Japan largemouth that was certified as an official record in a tie with Perry’s. Skeeter and Yamaha brought Kurita to the Bassmaster Classic in New Orleans for all to meet, and they even brought the mounted record for display. TTBC Sudden Death In its 4th year, the Toyota Texas Bass Classic saw a tie between two contestants on the final day. Keith combs and Mike Iaconelli ended up in a dead heat at the end of the three day event, and were forced to go into a sudden death fish-off; the first angler to catch a keeper bass would claim victory. Iaconelli struck first, and caught fish that fell short, but with moments left in the round, Combs boated a 15-inch keeper that closed out the victory. The Alabama Rig Following Elias’ victory at the FLW Tour Open on Guntersville; the lure he used became the hottest trend in bass fishing since the Chatterbait and the Basstrix Paddletail swimbait. The five wire castable umbrella style rig spawned eBay auctions that resulted in the lures selling for four times their list price of $24.99. Along with an instant, insatiable demand for the Alabama Rig by Andy Poss; the rig instantly became the target new product of major manufacturers and garage companies alike. Major League Fishing A partnership between the anglers of the PBT and The Outdoor Channel, Major League Fishing brought a new and exciting format to display the skills of the anglers in the sport. The high pressure event pitted 24 of the best anglers in the business against each other in a new – made for television format. Major League Fishing has a real chance to open a window into the minds of the pros as they work to figure out a pattern in the heat of competition on a lake that they have not had any opportunity to practice on. The excitement of the MLF format will enhance the viewing of both Bassmaster and FLW tour events for fans who watch the pay-per-view of the first event on Lake Amistad. Of course, that’s not all of the moments that made headlines in 2011. There were great times, bad times loving, living and losing throughout the industry. With 2012 staring us straight in the face, we can start a new year, with new opportunities and make more moments along the way. Advanced Angler will be there to share them with you as much as possible – Happy New Year!