Three anglers entered Saturday's showdown on Cherokee with a chance to take the 2014 TNCBA AOY title. David Crockett launched his boat Saturday morning with a four point lead over Steve Legg and Robert Chatman. Here are how the scenarios needed to play out for each of these anglers to be crowned champion:
-With a three point lead and a 94 in his pocket, David Crockett needed to finish third or better to eliminate all of his other competitors and seal the deal. A zero or a fourth or worse would leave the door open to Legg and Chatman.
-Legg was in the cat bird seat with nothing to loose and everything to gain. Legg had to bring a fish to the scales. He had already used his two zeros and a third would drop him from the top six. Legg needed to finish four spots ahead of Crockett in order to tie him and he would need to finish five places in front of him in order to take the outright lead. The tie break would be season weight and Legg would need to bring 4lbs. more to the scales than Crockett in order to win the tie break.
-Chatman was sitting on the outside looking in and needed a perfect day for him to take the win. Chatman needed to finish one place ahead of Legg and he needed to finish four places ahead of Crockett or have Crockett zero and finish second or better. Chatman's feat was made more difficult by the small number of anglers participating. Chatman was too far behind as far as season weight so a tie with the leader was out of the question.
When the dust settled....
6:40 am - TNCBA anglers began to launch their boats into the cool crisp air as fog begins to dance across the water. The air temp was 40 degrees and the water temp hovered around 64 degrees. The lake laid eerily calm with only the ripple of boat wakes breaking the surface.
7:30 am - The anglers blasted into the fog hoping that a piece of the puzzle would soon be solved. Questions raced through their heads as they headed for their first spots: Would there be a top water bite? Will the fog help or hurt the fishing? Is someone else already sitting on my spot?
9:00 am - By this point in the day many pieces of the puzzle had been solved. The team of Dison/Dison had pulled into the mouth of T-Holler and put three fish in the boat, one being a keeper, in a matter of minutes. Chatman/Aaron also reported a small flurry putting two keepers in the boat a little further up the lake while the fog was still thick. Other anglers also reported that their fish came early.
11:00 am - The thick fog that provided the better fishing had burned off and even though the anglers could now see clearly the bite was as clear as mud. Shad on the surface were a rarity throughout most of the lake and the areas where shad were prevalent the bass were very elusive. The roar of boat traffic began to roar through the pockets as anglers went in search of an area of the lake where the fish were biting.
1:30 pm - Dison/Dison by this point had pulled into a pocket and gained one more suspended keeper on an A-Rig. Dison/Dison later ran into Crockett at the mouth of T-Holler and discussed the day, then Crockett was off again in search of his first keeper. From this point on activity on the lake essentially became a ghost town.
Weigh-In - As boats began to roll back in to the ramp the battle of the day was written on their faces. The top three anglers knew what was on the line and they were anxious to find out what everyone else had in their livewells. As the scales were opened it was quickly evident that there would be few bags of fish weighed-in and each angler that didn't weigh-in was one less person that could help create a gap between Legg, Chatman, and Crockett. This was the situation Crockett had needed though, fewer bags meant fewer people to finish between he and the other two competitors. The question began to take on added weight, The situation was setting up perfectly for Crockett, but did Crockett have a fish to bring to the scale?
The first of the top three to weigh-in was Chatman. He walked to the scales with a nervous grin, knowing that he had two solid fish but would it be enough? Chatman's fish were laid on the scale and weighed in at 5.71 lbs. As the next few anglers brought their fish to the scales, one by one they fell short of Chatman's mark. The second angler from the top three to weigh-in was Legg. This meant everything to Legg and Chatman because their tie in the points would be broken at that moment. Legg's two fish went up on the scales....a deep breath taken by Chatman...4.36 lbs! That put Legg into second place right behind Chatman, but it was enough for Chatman to overtake Legg. It was now time for the question to be answered and the 2014 TNCBA AOY to be decided...and the question was answered by an empty livewell. That zero would force Crockett to fall back on a 94 that he scored at the third tournament of the year and give Robert Chatman the four position gap that he needed to take the crown as the 2014 TNCBA Angler of the Year - Robert Chatman!
The top three would finish the year only separated by a total of two points:
2014 TNCBA AOY - Top 6
1st - 790 Robert Chatman
2nd - 788 Steve Legg
3rd - 787 David Crockett
4th - 777 Kelsey Harvey
5th - 767 David Oiler
6th - 766 Bob Harvey