Okay. On the one side, I was right. Jeff Michels of Lakehead was leading the Everstart points race by a fat margin after three events–and he ultimately won it this weekend at Clear Lake.
But only because an upset win by Jay Wright (Huntington Beach is nowhere near Redbud Park) pushed everyone back in the chase, ultimately leaving Greg Gutierrez one point behind Michels and Jimmy Reese five points in arrears overall.
Of course, I’m sure no one is more sick about things than Reese, who led the first two days with 25 pounds a whack. But, as it is with every tournament, despite the size of the fish or the size of the possible bags in a lake, gauging a good sack is all relative.
With Reese and Gutierrez, both who had mathematical chances to reach the top spot, the numbers are telling. Reese’s final day catch at 17-13 was just 2/3 the size of the biggest sack recorded by the eventual tournament winner. And worse than that, his catch was 4 pounds below the average of the 10 finalists.
Gutierrez, with a 19-pound, 14-ounce bag might not sound deficient, but he was roughly 2 pounds below the final day average, himself. And when you look big picture, in a points race that was his to win (with Michels’ help), Greg went from a high of 26-7, then slipped each day with a 20-3 and finally the afore-mentioned 19-14.
I don’t think you can argue that Michels backed into this Angler of the Year title by missing the cut in the final event. But by finishing in 40th place, he didn’t just leave the door ajar, he left all the doors of a three-car garage wide open to his challengers. Yet, those who might have come through, sputtered.
So the EverStart AOY race was definitely close at the end. Just not that impressive.