Rojas has best finish since 2015
HIAWASSEE, Ga. — No one had a bigger final round than Roy Hawk at the Bassmaster Elite Angler of the Year Championship.
It just wasn’t big enough.
The Lake Havasu City angler caught a limit of five bass weighing 15 pounds, 11 ounces on Sunday on Lake Chatuge, 8 ounces more than any other fisherman in the tournament and nearly more than he had caught in the two previous round combined.
But it was a slow second round on Friday that left Hawk two pounds short of North Carolina’s Jake Whitaker, and four points short in the season-long Rookie of the Year standings. Whitaker finished in 15th place with a total of 14 bass weighing 33 pounds, 11 ounces, giving him 617 points in the final ROY standings.
Hawk’s big final round lifted him to finish 23rd with a total of 31 pounds, 13 ounces after his meager 3 pound, 1 ounce second round dropped him from eighth to 41st overall.
Hawk finished 29th in the final Angler of the Year standings and will make an appearance in next year’s Bassmaster Classic.
Havasu’s Dean Rojas, far from a rookie after two decades on fishing’s top tour, finished the weekend in 29th place with a total of 28 pounds, 14 ounces.
Rojas finished in tenth in the Angler of the Year standings, his best finish since finishing third in 2015. His 690 points were his most in a season since 2011.
It was a successful year for Arizona fishermen on the tour with five finishing in the top 30 in the final standings, all earning trips to the Classic.
San Tan Valley’s Josh Bertrand had a shot at the Angler of the Year trophy this weekend but had a tough go on the water, catching just two fish in the opening round and chose to return to Arizona ahead of the final round to be with his pregnant wife, finishing in 49th of 50 fishermen. Bertrand still had a great season, finishing second overall.
Laughlin’s Chris Zaldain finished in 20th place overall, Phoenix’s Brett Hite finished in 21st and Payson’s Clifford Pirch finished in 28th.