Brent Chapman has yet to make a competitive cast in 2013, but the reigning B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year has nonetheless ascended to the top slot in the BassFan World Rankings for the first time in his career. The 40-year-old Kansan, a veteran of 18 tour-level seasons, supplanted Virginia’s David Dudley, who took over the No. 1 position last May but has been in a mini-slump since the Forrest Wood Cup in August.
“That’s really exciting,” Chapman said when informed of his ascension. “What a cool way to start the season for me. Other than (Kevin) VanDam, the guys who’ve gotten there have found it hard to stay for very long, so a good goal for me will be to try to stay there the whole year.”
Chapman and the red-hot Bryan Thrift of North Carolina, who finished 7th in last week’s FLW Tour opener at Lake Okeechobee and won the Toyota Texas Bass Classic in October, both moved up one spot in the first edition of the Rankings for the new year. Dudley, who finished 65th at the Big “O” and has logged an average placement of 53rd over his previous four events, slipped to 3rd.
Thrift briefly held the top position twice in 2011.
Tennessee’s Ott DeFoe and Texan Todd Faircloth remained steady in the 4th and 5th slots, respectively, as did No. 7 Kevin VanDam of Michigan (a frequent No. 1 over the past decade). California’s Brent Ehrler, the runner-up at Okeechobee and a former No. 1, gained 10 spots to 12th.
The next event that will effect the Rankings is the Bassmaster Classsic, set for Feb. 22-24 at Oklahoma’s Grand Lake.
To see the full list, which includes nearly 600 anglers who’ve fished at least one tour-level event during the past 2 calendar years, click here.