By John Johnson
BassFan Senior Editor
In 11 seasons on the FLW Tour, Scott Canterbury's highest finish in the Angler of the Year race was 8th, which he achieved in 2018. He's in prime position to better that mark in his initial Bassmaster Elite Series campaign.
With more than half of the season complete, he trails only rookie Drew Cook on the points list. He's logged three finishes of 11th or better in six outings and has only one placement lower than 22nd (49th at Lake Fork).
The 43-year-old Alabamian has made a lot of good moves on the water and admits that he's had some breaks go his way.
"I've made some really good decisions, but I've also had good fortune," he said this week while filling sponsorship obligations at ICAST in Orlando, Fla. "Also, fishing in a field of only 75 guys instead of 170 makes a big difference because I can have a pattern and run around a lot easier. Being able to fish fresh water that hasn't been beaten up so much has helped.
"I like catching fish any way I can, it doesn't matter if it's with a spinning rod or whatever, but I really like power-fishing and I've been able to do that a lot more because of the (lesser) number of boats on the water in practice and during the tournaments. Even at Lanier, where I finished 11th, I caught a few out deep, but I got most of them power-fishing around docks."
Right Place, Right Time
Canterbury pointed to the event at Winyah Bay, where he finished as the runner-up to Stetson Blaylock, as an instance in which fortune smiled upon him. He'd made a pre-practice visit to the venue, which he'd previously never been to before, and marked some areas that had coontail and other types of vegetation.
The water level was considerably lower when he returned for official practice and he didn't get a bite there. He avoided it until the final day, when he pulled a 6-02 and a 5-08 off it to turn what was shaping up to be a rough day into a near-victory.
A similar scenario went down in the opener at the St. Johns River – he went to an area where he'd gotten just one or two bites and waylaid a 26-pound stringer en route to a 9th-place finish.
"It's been good, but there's also been a couple times when it could've been a little better," he said. "(Lake Fork), for sure, I had a lot better practice than where I ended up. I wan't on the fish to win, but I should've made the top 20.
"At Guntersville (22nd), I cost myself some points with fish that I had hooked but didn't land and that could end up hurting me at the end of the year. That one was a little bit disappointing because it was so close to home and I know the lake so well."
Gotta Survive the North
Canterbury knows that ending up atop the points list at the season's end is a tall order. Cook, despite his first-year status, has been strong everywhere and 3rd-place Cory Johnston of Canada (along with his brother Chris, who's 11th) is almost a lock to fare well in the two Northern events that are next on the schedule (the St. Lawrence River and Cayuga Lake).
"It's going to be interesting, for sure," Canterbury said. "I'm going to have to hold my own as much as I can up there – I've never been to either one of them.
"I don't think figuring out how to catch fish is going to be much of a problem, but catching the big ones might be. I've had some good smallmouth tournaments in the past, but I could finish dead-last."
After that, the regular season will conclude at Oklahoma's Grand Lake in September. That event was originally scheduled for the spring, but had to be postponed due to flooding.
"I'm looking forward to that one and I like that time of year. I love fishing in the fall when you can run around and junk-fish and try to grind out five fish a day. If I'm still in it when we get there, that's one where some guys might stumble."