If you haven't noticed, Bassmaster Elite Series Rookie Ott Defoe is running away with the Rookie of the Year race. He has been a machine this year and has made the Top 50 in all Elite Series six events (with no finishes less than 32nd). That's consistency! I looked into his full Bassmaster tournament profile and saw he has fished 12 B.A.S.S. events, 12 times in the money and 12 Top 50's. That is just amazing. There is no doubt that he is one of the top anglers in the world and his 7th Place in the points is well deserved.
But the thing is, he isn't really a "rookie". He fished the FLW Tour four full seasons before making the switch to Bassmaster. Looking at the Top 6 for this years Elite Series Rookie Standings and you will see 5 who have fished the FLW Tour for multiple years:
- Ott Defoe
- Andy Montgomery (4 years on the FLW Tour)
- David Walker (15 years on the FLW Tour with an AOY Title)
- Brandon Palaniuk (the only true rookie in the Top 6)
- Keith Combs (3 years on the FLW Tour)
- Nate Wellman (5 years on the FLW Tour)
This trend is nothing new, Steve Kennedy and Bobby Lane won the Bassmaster Rookie of the Year and Matt Herren nearly won in 2009 after all had spent years on the FLW Tour.
What do you think about the Elite Series Rookie of the Year? I'm not knocking the guys in contention, or even B.A.S.S. I just don't know how they can be considered a true rookie, yet on the other hand I don't see any other way to do it. What would be a better way to do it?