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  • Writer's pictureHoosier Kayak Bassin

HKB THE AOY RACE | PART TWO

Let's take a look at who the Frontrunners and Dark Horses are in the race for AOY!


Summer is officially here and that means some of our series here in the Hoosier state are winding down. Especially for the GRBY Series that started back in March & early April. In Part One of the series, we broke down the SIYAK AOY, IKA AOY, and both GRBY Overall AOY races, all of which have had some movement since we posted.


We will do a brief recap of those races in part 3, but for part two we are taking a look at several GRBY Series and how they are shaping up.

 

GRBY | BISCHOFF RESERVOIR


Kicking things off with the GRBY Bischoff Series, where an epic battle is about to go down as this new series for 2023 wraps up on July 13 -17.

After four events, Jason Merrit (388pts), Ryan Reedy (386pts), and Chad Cummings(385pts) are in a knock down, drag out fight for the title. I wouldn't be surprised if all three of them were on the podium in the final event and the order of that podium would decide which one would take home that coveted AOY title.

Of course, there is a chance all three struggle in the final event. In which case, they could leave the door open for an angler like Scott Rowe of Ohio, who currently sits in 9th, to sneak in and steal the whole thing right out from under them.


Only time will tell, but if you're a fan of the sport, you will want to keep an eye on this series as it wraps up in the middle of July.


 

GRBY | BLUE GRASS FWA


Last year, this series was dominated by Glenn Landstrom. This year however, Glenn has been busy competing nationally and has left the door open for a Dogfight amongst a handful of very talented anglers.

After 4 events, Tyler Atwell, is sitting in the hot seat with 386pts. TJ Aylward is within striking distance though, currently holding the 2nd place spot with 382 pts. TJ has won two events already in this series and is hungry.


Should Tyler and TJ falter in the last event of the series on July 20-24, they could open a pathway for Eric Tracey to slide in and steal the title. Eric, with no wins and only one Top 3 finish, seems like an outside shot but he could improve his current score of 377 by 11 points with a win putting him at 388, 2 points ahead of Tyler.


 

GRBY | BRUSH CREEK



Brush Creek has been a fun one to watch this year, as well. The action there has been a little better this season as compared to last year, at least from an outside perspective. With only one event left, this series is really down to 3 contenders.



Austin Killion currently leads with 373 points, but James England is right behind him with 371. Though James is only 2 pts off the lead, he has a much harder path to the title than Austin. James’ lowest score on the series is a 90, meaning his max upgrade is a 10pt cull. Whereas Austin's lowest score currently is a 81, giving him the potential to upgrade by 19 points with a win, but he won't even need that much to seal the deal.


So who is the 3rd contender?!

Currently sitting all the way down in 12th place on the series standing is the wild card, Scott Rowe. Rowe is coming off back-to-back podium finishes and with only 3 events under his belt, he is sitting with a score of 290. With a win in his 4th event, he could max out at 390 pts, well ahead of Austin.


Needless to say, Austin can't relax if he wants this one. He will need to bring his A-game to stop Scott from taking the title in the 5th and final event on July 20-24.


 

GRBY | DOGWOOD LAKE


Another new series to GRBY this year, Dogwood Lake, has proven to be a series that can bring the excitement to the leaderboards and a challenging AOY race. With 3 events completed, this series still has some possible shakeups.

But for now, the series is led by TJ Aylward. With a win and two 3rd-place finishes, this angler is sitting at 296 points, giving him a 98.66 PPE average. Kent Gross is keeping it interesting though, just two points behind.


The title is not out of reach just yet for Vernon Gehlbach and Antoine Hayes. But they definitely have an uphill battle and will need to get a little lucky. Both will likely need at least two more podiums to get in the hunt and they will need TJ and Kent to stumble a bit in the last two derbies.

The dark horse in this race could be Chris Wargel. Again, like Vernon and Antoine, he will need a lot of things to go in his favor but with 2 scores of 95, should he compete in events 4 & 5 and do well, there is a chance he could steal the title.


 

GRBY | KOKOMO RESERVOIR


The first AOY title of the season will be crowned in just a few short days as the new GRBY Kokomo Reservoir series concludes with it’s 5th event on July 6-10. Things were rough in the early part of the season for this series, with few fish being caught. However, the post spawn bite has been better and with it some good battles for AOY points have started to heat up.

Ryan Platt, who is having a very consistent season across the board, is currently the frontrunner for the Kokomo series AOY title. Brett Haynes is right there in the mix and Max Gibson still has a shot if Ryan slips up.


 

GRBY | RACCOON LAKE


The GRBY Raccoon Lake Series just completed its 3rd event of the season and this one is going to be an epic battle to the end. 20 anglers have competed in the first 3 events and over 30 in at least two.

Currently, the series frontrunner is Steve Martin. Who, if you've been following the series or are weekly Top Performers Recaps, then you know Steve has been crushing it there this year. His lowest finish was a tie for 3rd. However, he did lose the tiebreaker and ended up in 4th.


While you would probably be a fool to bet against Martin right now, there are some serious challengers including the 2020 and 2021 Raccoon Series AOY, Brian Moore, who is just 6 pts behind the leader and has won one already this season. Jason Kennedy currently holds down the number 3 spot with 286 points but it's the 4th place angler that is our Dark Horse for this race.


Wyatt Gard is sitting on 275 pts with two 3rd place finishes and a low score of 79. Wyatt has some momentum and is feeling confident out there after the last one, so we look to see him throwing out that low score and finding his way back to the podium a couple more times.


 

GRBY | SULLIVAN LAKE



If you took a quick glance at the GRBY Sullivan Lake series standings, you might think it is all wrapped up. But we promise, it isn't. That said, the odds are definitely in favor of the current leader after 3 events.


With 295 points, Ryan Reedy holds a 12 point lead over his closest rivals, Nate Goodwin (283pts) and the group of Wyatt Gard, Aaron Molinder, and Antoine Hayes all tied for 282 pts. Reedy with a 1st, 3rd, and 4th place finish thus far is running a 98.3 pts per event average, which is going to be hard for the rest of the field to compete with should he maintain that going into the final two events.


There is, however, an angler just outside of the top 10 who could blow the doors off this barn and Reedys hopes for an AOY title.

2022 Sullivan Series AOY - Runner Up, Bryan Sparks, has only completed two events and has won one and took 2nd in the other, giving him 199 points. Sparks is definitely a threat to take the title should he compete in the final two events.


 

GRBY | CENTRAL TRAIL SERIES


New for GRBY in 2023 are a couple of “Trail Series”. These series, unlike the traditional GRBY series that stay on one body of water, take place on 5 separate bodies of water within a particular region of the state. The Central Trail Series has been a fun one to watch so far this season with 35 anglers competing to date, 8 of which have competed in the first 3 events. The 4th event of this series is coming up shortly at the Atterbury FWA and that's when things will really get interesting. That said, there is no shortage of drama in the series as several newcomers to GRBY and lesser known names are staking their claim.

Wes Ward of Avon, Indiana is in the hot seat at the moment with 290 pts and Justin Long is right behind him at 288. Garon Hanke is in 3rd with 275 but is unlikely to make a run at the title as he is pretty much mathematically out unless the rest of the contenders really stumble in the last 2 events. In 4th place however, is the Red Hot Michael Kulik, who has a win and a second place finish so far this season and one dud.

Atterbury FWA is a completely different style fishery than the first 3 events, so it's entirely possible it could really shake up these standings. But the series does end on Eagle Creek Reservoir, similar to the 3 reservoirs the anglers have fished to this point.


 

Alright!! That wraps up part two of The AOY Race. Look out for part 3 coming shortly. We will be covering the remaining series and doing a brief recap of the series updates from part one!



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