The 2010 FLW Series Western Division Angler of the Year race came down to a two-man showdown at the fourth and final tournament of the season on Lake Roosevelt in Payson, Ariz. In the end, red-hot National Guard pro Brent Ehrler nailed a third-place finish at Roosevelt to beat another one of the hottest young FLW pros on tour, Cody Meyer, with 777 points out of a possible 800.
Those points qualified Ehrler for the no-entry-fee 2011 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita in Hot Springs, Ark. Ehrler started the FLW Series season off with a win on Lake Shasta in January. He then took fourth at Lake Mead in May. His lowest finish of FLW Series competition came at the California Delta in June where he finished 19th. That event was after the Lake Ouachita FLW Tour event, where he claimed his second FLW Tour victory of the season. He wrapped up the Angler of the Year title with a third-place finish at Lake Roosevelt last week, capping one of his most successful seasons as a professional angler.
With the Angler of the Year title weighing heavily on Ehrler’s mind, his third place finish at Roosevelt did not come easily. FLW Series anglers were greeted on day one with monsoon-like rains, however, Ehrler brought a five-bass limit weighing 13-14 to the scales, his heaviest sack of the week. Although Ehrler managed to bring a limit to the scales every day, he had a tough time figuring out a consistent pattern. The rest of his week was spent going back and forth between deep humps and shallow areas that held gravel and heavy brush.
“I really struggled the last two days,” said Ehrler, who hails from Redlands, Calif. “I covered a lot of water and really had to make a lot of adjustments and grind it out. I fished shallow in the morning and deep in the afternoon. I had the most bites (Saturday) than I did all week – I think I had about 30. Before that I was only getting seven or eight bites each day.
“I was using buzzbaits, spinnerbaits and a Phoenix swim jig early and then I would go offshore deep using worms. I did learn that when fronts go through like the one on the first day you really need to fish the banks here. Even though I felt like I struggled at Roosevelt, it was such a fun lake to fish that I really look forward to coming back.”
Rounding out the top 10 anglers who qualified for the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup were:
2nd: Cody Meyer, Grass Valley, Calif., 756 points
3rd: Robert Lee, Angels Camp, Calif., 725 points
4th: Jon Strelic, El Cajon, Calif., 719 points
5th: Jeff Michels, Lakehead, Calif., 704 points
6th: Ronald Hobbs, Jr., Orting, Wash., 704 points
7th: National Guard pro Clifford Pirch, Payson, Ariz., 702 points
8th: Brett Hite, Phoenix, Ariz., 693 points
9th: Bret Gouvea, Redding, Calif., 686 points
10th: Chris Zaldain, San Jose, Calif., 683 points
“This has been a long time coming,” Ehrler added. “I am so happy I finally won the title. Being qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup really takes a lot of pressure off fishing the FLW Tour. I am looking forward to next season. We are going to a lot of really great fisheries that are going to be challenging and fun. I am especially looking forward to being back on Lake Ouachita for the championship. I have some experience there now and my goal is to become the first two-time Forrest Wood Cup Champion.”
Coverage of Ehrler’s AOY win will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) Oct. 31 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. ET on VERSUS. “FLW Outdoors,” hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to approximately 500 million households worldwide.
The Angler of the Year title in each FLW Series division is determined by the total accumulated points from four regular-season events. Two hundred points are awarded for a win, 199 for second, 198 for third, and so on.
ABOUT FLW OUTDOORS FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world offering anglers worldwide the opportunity to compete for millions over the course of 189 tournaments in 2010. FLW Outdoors has also taken fishing mainstream with FLW Fantasy Fishing awarding the largest prizes in the history of fantasy sports. FLW Outdoors memberships are available featuring numerous benefits including Player’s Advantage. For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FantasyFishing.com. FLWOutdoors.com