By Todd Ceisner
BassFan Editor

In terms of consistency, Scott Canterbury put together a career year during his first year with the Bassmaster Elite Series in 2019. Eight top-25 finishes, including three top-10s, resulted in his hoisting the B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year award at Lake St. Clair last month.

Canterbury wasn’t the only standout, though, as the top B.A.S.S. circuit surged into a new era with a revamped, albeit smaller, field.

When measured by sheer numbers, there were other Elite Series anglers who had superior seasons compared to the veteran Alabama pro. Canterbury ranked among the top five in several statistical categories, but the only one he was tops in was the one that mattered most at season’s end – points.

Canterbury was one of five anglers to record a limit on each of his competition days (32 for 32) and he ranked fourth out of 75 anglers in most fish caught (160) and most weight caught (521-00) across nine regular season tournaments plus the Angler of the Year Championship at Lake St. Clair. He was in the top 10 after day 1 of five different events and was outside the top 35 on the leaderboard just three times.

It could be argued that Stetson Blaylock, the runner-up in the points race, along with Cory Johnston and Chris Zaldain, who finished tied for third in points (Johnston prevailed via a tiebreaker) had better seasons from a statistical standpoint. All were remarkably consistent

For instance, Zaldain did everything but win a tournament this season. He led the Elite Series in the following categories:

> Most competition days (33)
> Highest average weight per competition day (17.045 pounds – only angler over 17 pounds)
> Total weight caught (562.5)
> Average fish weight (3.45)
> Highest day-1 average weight (17.86)

Zaldain accumulated three runner-up finishes, added a third-place showing and spent 19 of his 33 competition days inside the top 10, an astounding 58-percent clip. On 13 of those 19, he was in first, second or third place. He was outside the top 35 only three days. By comparison, Canterbury was inside the top 10 on 14 days while Blaylock spent 17 days there.

B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito
Photo: B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

Chris Zaldain led (or was tied for the lead) in five different statistical categories this season on the Elite Series.

Like Canterbury, Blaylock hauled in a limit every day he competed this season – he had 33 days on the water as did Johnston. He also caught the most bass of anyone (165) and ranked third in total weight (536-04) and fourth in highest day-1 average weight (16.5).

Johnston, who along with brother Chris, quickly acclimated to the Elite Series after moving over from the FLW Tour. He second to Blaylock in most fish caught (164) and second to Zaldain in average weight per competition day (16.725) as well as most weight caught (551-15). His 16.81-pound average on day 2 was fourth-best in the field.

Double Take

If not for the supremely consistent seasons turned in by Canterbury, Blaylock, Johnston and Zaldain, double winners Brandon Cobb and Jamie Hartman would’ve dominated the headlines.

Cobb, who won at Lake Hartwell and at Lake Fork, ranked fourth in average fish weight (3.0439). His 132 total bass was 27th-best and his 449-08 total weight put him 18th. He caught limits on 24 of his 28 days on the water and was one of 11 anglers to average more than 16 pounds per day, helped by the 28.5 daily average he registered at Fork.

Hartman was on the water for 30 days and logged a limit on 26 of them. He weighed in 142 bass, good for 16th overall, and his 477-14 was 11th. He averaged 15.9 pounds per day. Thanks to his two victories and four other top-35 finishes, Hartman collected a circuit-leading $273,500 during the season, which works out to $572.33 per pound.

Stat Stew

> The average stringer on the Elite Series this season weighed roughly 14-01 while 11 anglers averaged more than 16 pounds per competition day. Of the 8,865 bass caught, the average fish weighed 2.97 pounds.

> Six anglers cracked the 500-pound plateau, among them Rookie of the Year Drew Cook with 515-00. Cook’s 18.46 average stringer on day 2 was tops in the field and he also had the largest average weight gain from day 1 to 2 with 3.79 pounds.

> Of the anglers who qualified for the 2020 Bassmaster Classic, Brian Snowden had lowest per-day average weight this season. His 12.995 daily average ranked 49th out of 75. He finished 41st in points, squeaking inside the top-42 Classic qualification cut line. On the flipside, rookie Derek Hudnall had the highest per-day average weight of the anglers who didn’t qualify for the Classic. His 14.582 average was 31st overall, but he also missed the Lake Hartwell event due to a disqualification.

> There were just five competitors who registered limits every day they competed: > Blaylock (33 for 33), Canterbury (32 for 32), Keith Combs (30 for 30), Patrick Walters (30 for 30) and Matt Arey (28 for 28).

> While most Elite Series anglers, past and present, will tell you the weights typically rise on day 2 compared to day 1 the numbers tell a different a story this season as the average day-1 weight (13.58 pounds) was slightly higher than the average day-2 stringer (13.44).

Here’s a rundown of Elite Series leaders in select statistical categories for the 2019 season, as compiled by BassFan:

Most Competition Days
1 (tie). Stetson Blaylock: 33
1 (tie). Cory Johnston: 33
1 (tie). Chris Zaldain: 33
4 (tie). Scott Canterbury: 32
4 (tie). Drew Cook: 32
Nine others tied with 30

Most Limits Caught
1. Stetson Blaylock: 33
2 (tie). Scott Canterbury: 32
2 (tie).: Cory Johnston: 32
4. Chris Zaldain: 31
5 (tie). Keith Combs: 30
5 (tie). Patrick Walters: 30

Most Fish Per Competition Day
1 (tie). Matt Arey: 5
1 (tie). Stetson Blaylock: 5
1 (tie). Scott Canterbury: 5
1 (tie). Keith Combs: 5
1 (tie). Patrick Walters: 5

Most Weight Per Competition Day
1. Chris Zaldain: 17.045
2. Cory Johnston: 16.725
3. Seth Feider: 16.725
4. Keith Combs: 16.450
5. Matt Arey: 16.330
Six others averaged 16-plus pounds

Average Fish Weight
1. Chris Zaldain: 3.4509
2. Jeff Gustafson: 3.4149
3. Seth Feider: 3.4133
4. Brandon Cobb: 3.4039
5. Drew Cook: 3.3882

Most Fish Caught
1. Stetson Blaylock: 165
2. Cory Johnston: 164
3. Chris Zaldain: 163
4. Scott Canterbury: 160
5. Drew Cook: 152

Total Weight Caught
1. Chris Zaldain: 562-08
2. Cory Johnston: 551-15
3. Stetson Blaylock: 536-10
4. Scott Canterbury: 521-00
5. Drew Cook: 515-00
6. Seth Feider: 501-12

Highest Day-1 Average Weight
1. Chris Zaldain: 17.86
2. Micah Frazier: 16.77
3. Lee Livesay: 16.59
4. Stetson Blaylock: 16.50
5. Seth Feider: 16.48
Three others averaged 16-plus on day 1

Highest Day-2 Average Weight
1. Drew Cook: 18.46
2. Bill Lowen: 17.16
3. Matt Arey: 16.86
4. Cory Johnston: 16.81
5. Seth Feider: 16.76
Five others averaged 16-plus on day 2

Biggest Increase Day 1 to Day 2
1. Drew Cook: 3.79
2. Bill Lowen: 3.69
3. Matt Herren: 3.23
4. Chad Morgenthaler: 3.21
5. Jamie Hartman: 2.98

Biggest Decrease Day 1 to Day 2
1. Gary Clouse: -4.40
2. Brett Preuett: -4.33
3. Steve Kennedy: -4.16
4. Garrett Paquette: -3.51
5. Brock Mosley: -3.27