Was this the skinniest winnin’ margin in Bassmaster Angler of the Year history? Maybe: Just 3 POINTS between winner Clark Wendlandt and runner-up Doomsday “David” Mullins! Crazy nail-chewin’ stuff. (B.A.S.S. unfortunately doesn’t have much of an AOY archive but BassFan.com does.)
Whatever the margin is, there’s only 1 winner and this year’s it’s Clark. Here’s 5 with him:
1. Did you ever have a thought that you were gonna go out this year and win AOY?
> “Every year I want to win AOY. Really it was the 3rd tournament this year, at the St Lawrence River, that I really started realizing I had a real good chance.
> “I think every angler that fishes, if you could ask him what his biggest goal of the year is and he was really honest with you, he’d say, ‘I’d like to win AOY this year.’ I don’t care which circuit it is. Bassmaster AOY is the best one to win so I’m glad I won.”
2. What things did you do to try to sabotage Mullins in the last tourney? Did you call him in the middle of the night or unplug his batteries or anything?
> “David and I actually talked a lot…we have some of the same passions for hunting. We sat there actually before we went out on day 2 [at Fork], right before we went out, and didn’t talk fishing….
> “I didn’t sabotage him in any way.”
[Pretty sure Clark has a sense of humor, but it was on vacation in our convo lol. But seriously, Clark is serious about doing things right and fairly so that’s what you’re seeing.]
3. Did you ever have a feeling you would win it or were you uncertain right til the end?
> “I thought I had a really good chance to win it. But certainty never came in until I got to the weigh-in on the last day and they told me, ‘Yeah you won,’ that I had enough.
> “…thought all along that if I kept fishing really well, I felt like I had a good chance.”
4. You won FLW AOY 3 times. Were they easier or harder than this’n?
> “There’s different things about them — the points are different. [FLW had a] 175- or 200-point basis, so you could gain a lot more points easier. But all of them came down to the last tournament, the last day, every time.
> “Last time I won, Luke Clausen and I both made the top 10 and we were just a few points apart so I knew I had to beat him. Right before that, Rick Clunn and I were close together, he won and I [made the top 10] — we both had the pressure that we had to do well.”
5. Is it true that after you won this deal Johnny Morris put your picture on his wall and moved Evers’ and VanDam’s to the hallway?
> “Absolutely not. That’s ridiculous. I mean absolutely not.”
[HAHAHA! He sounds mad there, but he wasn’t. Probly just frustrated…with me..!]
Bonus Q: What role did God have in this win for you?
> “He had had a great deal…. My faith has been strong for a long time. What God did for me this year is He just gave me that calming feeling.
> “…there is a lot of anxiety in tournament fishing [and AOY] is the award everyone wants to win. So there is a lot of pressure on you. When you start feeling that ratcheted-up pressure, God is the place I turn. He’s the one I look to, and He’s the one who gets me through it.”
One more deal:
> “This win has…been amazing in the amount of response I’ve gotten industry-wise. I’ve been pretty taken aback by the amount of response I’ve had. It makes me feel real humble about it. It’s been pretty cool.”
Little reminder that Clark had a heart attack in 2014 when he was practicing for an Open. Super cool to see him come back from that.