PHOTOS OF THE YEAR - ON STAGE
Story and photos by Dave Rush
Moore, OK - This is part-two of a two-part feature unveiling the best photos of the year that were taken by The BZ during the 2012 Elite Series season. Today, the attention turns to the weigh-in stage. The BZ's Dave Rush was on-location from Florida to New York, capturing each memorable moment of the 2012 season.
Here are the photos that made the cut:
The 2012 regular season started with a bang for Louisiana pro Greg Hackney. Hackney weighed in this 10-9 St. John’s River behemoth on day one of the first Elite Series regular season event. The fish, which was aptly described as a “tree-shaker” by the always quotable Hackney, would end up being the largest brought to the scales in any Elite Series event the entire season.
Elite Series pro Brent Broderick displays two of his hard earned Lake Okeechobee largemouth in true “Brody Of The Lake” fashion. Broderick, who was running the gauntlet making a very treacherous run through an ultra-shallow air boat trail on the Big-O to access his most productive area each day, was rewarded handsomely with a 37th place finish which was his only top 50 cut of the 2012 season.
Having a great tournament in Florida is something Oklahoma pro Jeff Kriet can always get excited about. Having been his nemeses for many years, Kreit got the best of the Big-O in 2012, logging a 6th place finish in the second event of the season. The expression says it all in this photo as the “Squirrel” reacts to his 21-14 bag on day two of the Power Pole Slam.
It was fish like these that would be the catalyst for Alabama pro Matt Herren’s stellar 2012 Elite Series campaign. Herren, who is shown in this photo at the Day 4 weigh-in at Arkansas’s Bull Shoals Lake, would go on to finish that event in 3rd place, and ultimately claim his spot in the Toyota Trucks All-Star Week after a 6th place finish in the AOY standings.
2012 was a break out year for Idaho pro Brandon Palaniuk. Palaniuk lapped the field at the Trokar Quest at Arkansas’s Bull Shoals Lake, bringing fish like these to the scales to secure his first ever Elite Series victory, and doing so in impressive fashion besting his closest competitor by nearly a 12-0 margin.
Winning one blue trophy in a career is a feat that many Elite Series anglers will never accomplish. West Virginia pro Jeremy Starks added a second blue trophy to his resume in 2012 at Tennessee’s Douglas Lake, and in doing so opened the eyes of numerous bass anglers around the world to the technique of “long lining” in the process.
When the Elite Series rolls into town it is always a great show. This year at Toledo Bend South Carolina pro and country music sensation Casey Ashley took it a step further, as he belted out a few verses of his popular song “Fisherman” for the crowd at Cypress Bend Park in Many, LA.
Not to be out done by the crooning of fellow South Carolinian Casey Ashley, Marty “The Party” Robinson makes good on his promise to break it down at the bend if he made the final day. Robinson who finished the Toledo Bend event in 3rd place will be headed to his second consecutive Classic in 2013 and bringing the “Party” with him to Grand Lake in Oklahoma.
Always a threat whenever he fishes an event on Oneida Lake, Florida pro Bernie Schultz is a good sport and shows off the only keeper he could muster on a tough final day. Schultz would finish the event in 12th place ending his 2012 season on an upswing after a 9th place finish in the previous event at Lake Michigan.
Boyd Duckett deemed the 2012 season his “comeback tour” and made good on that promise at the last event of the season on New York’s Oneida Lake. Needing a win to secure a birth in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic, Duckett pulled a rabbit out of his hat and added another victory to his impressive resume. This photo shows his elation as Duckett knows he has accomplished his goal after a monster 17-0 bag on the final day of the event.
Brent Chapman’s 2012 season will go down as one of the best ever by any professional angler in the history of the sport. Never letting his foot of the throttle, Chapman fought off hard charges by some of the best in the sport to claim the 2012 AOY title. After all the pictures were taken and the interviews had been completed, Chapman was finally at peace with his trophy in hand backstage at the NY State Fair after the day 3 weigh-in.