BassWestUSA - Summer, 2012, Page 49

US Angler’S choice Spotlight

smith & Hamilton

Garner uSaC Pro-am angler of the year honors

2012 U.S. Anglers Choice Pro-Am trail closed out its season this past June 9-10th at the California Delta. The outcome of this event would determine who would be crowned as the Pro and Amateur Anglers of the Year. After a two-day battle in hot and windy conditions, 21-year-old Pro Angler Bryant Smith of Castro Valley, CA nailed down 7th place in the Delta tournament, amassing a total of 633 points on the season. This total was good enough to best second place Pro Rod Lee by 11 points and secure the 2012 Pro Angler of the Year title. “I went into the season just looking to learn and improve upon my abilities” noted Smith, who has spent only about 6 years fishing competitively. “I had no intentions of seriously competing in any type of end-of-the-year race. I think the fact that I was not focusing on this was perhaps what al- lowed me to con- centrate more on my fishing and not Br yant Smith Pro aOY worry about the pressure of what might be.” This, in fact, marked Smith’s first year fishing as a pro angler. “I have fished mostly team and rookie league events in the past. I did fish as a backseater last year in a few pro- am events, but I felt confident enough in my abilities and decision-making to step up and fish as a pro this year. Be- sides, I wanted to see how I stacked up against some of the best pro anglers in the west.” Smith was aided in his endeavors by the fact that he was on a big fish pattern all season long – taking big fish money in 3 of the 4 events he fished. On the Amateur side, it was Matt Hamilton of Winters, CA who was in a virtual tie for the Angler of the Year title going into this tour- nament. Separated by only one point from Terry Kleingardner going into the final event, Matt was under the gun. “There are a lot of great sticks fishing as Ams. I was literally looking at the standings daily” Matt noted.


Matt ham ilton aM aOY - 8.42 Spotty

The luck of the draw would be the deciding factor for Matt as he managed to draw Bobby Barrack and Steve “Bub” Tosh as his partners for the Delta tournament. “There is no question that my Pro partners played a big part in my suc- cess throughout the course of the season – Rich Dobyns on Oroville, Rod Lee on Shasta, Preston Henson at Clear Lake, and now this duo on the Delta all contributed to my year.” Don’t think that Hamilton rode to the winners circle on the coat- tails of others, though – Matt managed to take big fish money in 3 of the 4 tournaments he fished, including a monster 8.42 pound spotted bass at Lake Shasta. Hamilton is only coming off of his second year as a back- seater. When asked, he stated that he has built up a tremendous amount of confidence, but wants to wait another year or two and accrue some more knowledge before turning pro. Hats off to both Bryant Smith and Matt Hamilton - our 2012 U.S. Anglers Choice Pro-Am Anglers of the Year! BWU

Summer 2012