Luke Clausen ready to make an AOY jump on Lake St. Clair

Bridgford pro Luke Clausen is ready to catch some Michigan smallmouth (photo by Joel Shangle)

ST CLAIR SHORES, Michigan – For Bridgford Fishing Team member Luke Clausen, the 2017 Bassmaster Elite Series season comes down to this: catch 'em good this week on the lakes surrounding St. Clair Shores, Michigan, and you're into the Angler of the Year Campionship.

Catch them REALLY good, and you're into the 2018 Bassmaster Classic.

Clausen enters the week in 40th place in the Elite Series AOY points race, with 499 points. That places him inside the Top 50 spot needed to qualify for the AOY Championship in September, on Lake Mille Lacs in Minnesota. But that 40th-place spot also makes Clausen the true "bubble boy" of the field: the AOY points system for automatic Classic qualification is estimated to go down to 39th place this season.

If the season ended today, Clausen's Classic berth would come down to the most miniscule of tie-breakers and mathematical formulas.

"The solution to that is pretty simple: just catch fish," Clausen says.

Odds are that Clausen will do exactly that. The Lake St. Clair event will be decided by smallmouth, which Clausen is VERY good at catching. And if he advanced to the AOY Championship – which will be contested on a Mille Lacs smallmouth fishery that's regarded as the best in the world – Clausen will have yet another chance to advance in the standings.

But it all starts on Thursday, Aug. 24 when Clausen runs the Bridgford Foods Ranger out into Lake St. Clair for Day 1.

"It's time to go to work," he says.

Follow along on the Bridgford Fishing Team Facebook page, or at www.bassmaster.com.