By John Johnson
BassFan Senior Editor
Brandon Cobb generated a considerable amount of publicity when he won two Bassmaster Elite Series events in the span of a single month back in 2019. However, the 10th-year pro from South Carolina's true trademark as a professional angler is consistently finishing inside the money cut – he's yet to sit out a championship event on either the FLW Tour, on which he competed for 5 years, or on the Elite Series, which has been his home since the start of his two-victory campaign.
He's take his game to a new level this year, posting single-digit finishes in four of the five derbies with no placement lower than 20th. With more than half of the nine-event season in the books, he has a substantial lead in the Angler of the Year (AOY) race, with 2nd-place Drew Cook sitting 49 points back.
"I've always been pretty consistent, but usually most of my finishes have been in the 20s to the 40s," said the 33-year-old who perennially sports a baseball cap with the bill bent into an upside-down U-shape. "In some of my best years I haven't had much for Top-10s, and the years I've had Top-10s there have been one or two bad ones.
"A lot of it this year has been the schedule – in all of the tournaments I've been able to find a bite doing what I like to do."
He's spent the vast majority of his time covering a lot of water near the banks and doing a good bit of sight-fishing. The results were a 3rd-place finish in the opener at Lake Okeechobee, followed by a 20th at Seminole, a 6th at Murray, a 4th at Santee Cooper and a 7th at Lay.
"Lay (which took place May 11-14) was the first one where there were a lot of fish offshore," he said. "I had some second thoughts that maybe I should be out there, but I ended up committing shallow and it worked out.
"I fished shoreline grass and all the fish came from less than 3 feet. I caught most of them on a wacky-rigged Zoom Fluke Stick – I think those fish had just been pounded with the bigger stuff.
He pegged the highlight of his season thus far as the tournament at which he logged his lowest finish. His 3 days of practice at Seminole gave him no clue to what he needed to be doing.
"It was by far the worst practice I've had this year," he said. "I seriously found nothing and I didn't even have a starting spot. I found a place on Google Earth the night before (Day 1) and I caught a couple there, and then I was able to expand on that pattern throughout the tournament.
"I caught most of them on a SPRO frog, which is what I wanted to do all during practice, but practice was cold (weather-wise) and it kept getting warmer every day. Those fish just showed up."
Next up this week is the Sabine River in Texas, where fish-holding water is always scarce despite the vastness of the venue and 2-pound bites are coveted. He finished 15th there in 2021.
"I like the Sabine, but it's definitely questionable," he said. "I like the style, but it's also nerve-wracking because there's so much water where there's no fish to catch. It's not like you can just go out and make something happen."
After that, the circuit will go on hiatus until late July before reconvening at Michigan's Lake St. Clair. That'll be the first of three northern events to conclude the season – the final two are at Lake Champlain and the St. Lawrence river in mid and late August.
"The North has never been my forté," he said. "That's not to say that I haven't done well there at times, but it hasn't been consistent and sometimes it seems like I miss it. I really like Champlain and St. Clair, but the St. Lawrence has always been hit or miss for me.
"I've always caught a lot of fish at the St. Lawrence, but there have been times when I needed them all to be 2 or 3 ounces bigger than they were to put me in check range."
His best finish in an AOY race to date was 9th in 2021. He was 12th in both of his final 2 seasons on the FLW Tour.
"I've been up there in the standings a few times, but I've never really had a chance to win it," he said. "This year I've put myself in position.
"Winning it would be more important to me than winning a tournament. The Angler of the Year and the Classic are comparable, even though the Classic is worth more money ($300,000 to $100,000).
"That's where you put yourself in the record book."