2018 SEASON IN REVIEW
The 2018 Fish On Bass Anglers schedule comprised of 13 tournaments: nine 1 day tournaments and four 2 day tournaments (including the classic) for a total of 17 tournament days. FOBA anglers brought 1,204 fish to the scales for a total weight of 2,426 lbs. Even with similar participation numbers, the 2018 season saw a decrease in total weight by approximately 500 lbs. from the 2017 season total. The average fish size was 2.01 lbs. and the average tournament had 24.77 fishermen. The catch per angler per tournament day (for both divisions) was 3.3 fish for 5.59 lbs. Weather was a major contributor to the more difficult season as 2018 was marked by cooler temperatures, heavy rainfall, and excessive flooding in the Mid-Atlantic region. FOBA actually had to relocate a tournament for only the second time in its history when flooding, debris, and unsafe conditions forced the September 22 event to be moved from Conowingo Reservoir to Piney Run Lake. Other tournaments in the region were cancelled, relocated, or rescheduled as well, including a July Bassmaster Elite Series event that was cancelled due to unsafe flooding on the Upper Chesapeake Bay.
Fish care is always a top priority for FOBA and of the 1,204 fish weighed, 1,195 were released alive. This is a 99.3% live release rate for 2018, improving on an already impressive 2017 live release rate of 98.9%. FOBA used the Catch-Weigh-Release (CWR) system for select tournaments in 2018 and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. In a CWR tournament each fish is weighed, verified, recorded, and then immediately released. FOBA implements the CWR system during the summer months when livewell stress is a concern and for locations or times when size limits or closed seasons make traditional tournaments difficult or impossible.
Mark Lim won the 2018 Angler of the Year in the boater division, his first as a boater and second overall. Lim becomes just the second person to win an AOY title in both divisions since its inception in 2007 with Kevin Majane being the first. Lim set a FOBA record in 2018 for weighing in the most total fish (71) in a single season. Zack Showman won for the co-angler division. This is Showman’s second AOY title, and fourth championship overall, going back to the non-boater division when he won in 2005 and 2007. Showman also set FOBA records this year in the co-angler division by weighing in the most total fish (59) and having the best average number of fish per day (4.2).
Statistically, the best tournament of the year was the June 2nd event on the Potomac River. The tournament winner, Tim Roberts, turned in the heaviest five bass limit of the year at 16 lbs., 15 oz. It also resulted in the heaviest average weight per angler at 8.22 lbs. A look at the final results shows a very competitive event with only ounces separating many positions, even at the top of the standings.
The toughest tournament of the year was the October 19-20 event on Deep Creek Lake. While Deep Creek Lake is known for smaller fish in the fall, it usually makes up for that with high numbers of overall fish caught, but in 2018 that was not the case. It’s daily averages of only 2.4 fish for 2.4 lbs were the lowest of any event by far and was the only event to average under 3.0 fish per angler per day. There were only three anglers in the entire field to record a limit on both tournament days.
Overall, the 2018 season was difficult and in particular the second half of the season. Statistically, it was the lowest overall rated season since FOBA has been compiling tournament data. The average weight per angler and average winning weight were down significantly compared to previous years. FOBA is hopeful that 2018 was an anomaly due to abnormal overall weather patterns as highlighted previously and we look forward to getting back on track in 2019.
Boater: Kevin Majane, 6-13
Co-Angler: Lowell Clemens, 7-0
Written by Logan Summers