BassWestUSA - Summer, 2012, Page 35



fall where they may. We’ll both fish hard and if one of us wins he Angler of the Year title it was all worth it. Of course, I want to win it, but so much has to go right for that to happen. It’s not just Randy and I out there competing for the title there are still quite a few anglers with a chance to win the AOY. I like my chances work- ing with Randy better than my chances without.” Howell believes similar, “If I don’t win it, I want Brent to win it. I can’t lie, I want to win it and I am going to do everything I can to win it, but I will do it with Brent, not against Brent. This isn’t a UFC match between friends where we have to go head to head and beat each other up. This is bass fishing and if we were to go head to head and compete against each other, someone else will just slip on by both of us. We’ll both be congratulating another angler at the end of the year and that’s the last thing we want. Nothing against the other guys, but I promise they don’t want one of us winning it either.” Knowing both of them pretty well I tend to believe they’ll work together the rest of the way. Beyond being good anglers, these are two really good guys and I know how close their families are. I couldn’t imagine either of them going out of their way to withhold information or do anything to damage their friendship. However, lesser things have torn alliances apart in all walks of life. I don’t cheer for any angler to win, but I’d love to see them go into Lake Oneida sitting in first and second and see how it all pans out. My bet is one would win and the other would be ALMOST as happy for their friend as they would be if they won it themself. BWU

right next to each other half the day, but that hasn’t been the case. In fact, there’s been a few tournaments where working together we have come up with completely different patterns. By no means, is it monkey see monkey do for us. We are our own individual anglers, but working together helps us both put the puzzle together faster.” Trust is something Howell believes makes the alliance strong, “We both know that we are going to give it to each other straight. We’ve known each other a long time, our families are friends, our kids play together and along with Alton Jones and his family we really have a tight knit group.” Working together seems to be paying off for the duo. Chap- man’s, two fifth place finishes, a fourth place and a victory paired with Howell’s fifth, ninth and two fourteenth place finishes individu- ally are among the best seasons ever, to this point in the season. Only Skeet Reese’s two wins and two fifths in 2010 can be com- pared to the 2012 season these two are experiencing.

GeTTInG ComplICaTed

As the season winds down, with just three events to go and only a few points separate the two from the AOY title. Is this going to affect the alliance? The both say no, naysayers say it has to. No matter who you believe it’s going to get complicated regardless of how you look at it. Chapman believes they’ll work together all they way through 2012, “We are going to continue to work together and let the chips

Photo by TJ Maglio

Summer 2012