Triton Pro Derek Remitz takes 2007 Toyota BASS Elite Series Rookie of the Year!
KISSIMMEE, Fla. — As the Bassmaster Elite Series season comes to a close, rookie Derek Remitz of Madison, Ala., can look back and say that a spectacular start to the year — he won the first event of the Elite season was a precursor to a spectacular ending.
With his finish in the season-ending Sunshine Showdown presented by Allstate Boat Insurance at Lake Tohopekaliga in Kissimmee, Fla., Remitz earned the Toyota Rookie of the Year title for the Bassmaster Elite Series.
Remitz beat out Triton Pro Casey Ashley of Donalds, S.C., and Matt Sphar of Pavilion, N.Y., to win the $25,000 top prize. Like Remitz, Ashley also won one of the 11 Elite Series events, the first time in series history that two rookies won tournaments.
"This means a lot," said Remitz, 25, who won the season-opening Battle on the Border on Texas' Lake Amistad. "There was a pretty tight field of rookies all season, and winning this award just shows you that you did pretty well. Everybody out here can catch them at any time, and you can't slip up."
Remitz proved to be a solid Elite Series contender throughout his rookie season. He followed his win at Lake Amistad with a second-place finish in California's Duel on the Delta in March and finished fifth in April in the Pride of Georgia on Clarks Hill Lake.
He added two more top-20 finishes at the Sooner Run (20th) on Grand Lake in Oklahoma and the Capital Clash (19th) on the Potomac River.
Ashley was in close pursuit of Remitz all season, including a victory at the Blue Ridge Brawl on Smith Mountain Lake in Moneta, Va. But Ashley's three top-20 finishes this season weren't enough to catch Remitz.
"This season was definitely a learning experience," said Ashley, the youngest angler in the Elite field at 23. "I never imagined I would win a tournament in my rookie season and that was by far the highlight of the season for me."
The award is determined by angler's positions in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year. Standings will be finalized after the final day of the season-ending tournament Sunday.