Neely Henry Lake was pretty doggone good to Ranger Boats pro Todd Auten.
The quiet veteran from South Carolina came here two years ago and won a
storm-shortened PAA Tournament Series event in spring. Twenty-eight
months later, in the heat of summer, Auten returned last week to make a
run at another title.
He locked up the PAA Angler of the Year award in a runaway as his two
closest competitors faltered. Only eight points in the season standings
separated Auten from Gene Larew pro Tommy Biffle of Oklahoma and Hefty
pro Mike McClelland of Arkansas.
By Friday night, Auten was the only man left standing. Neither Biffle
nor McClelland made Saturday’s final-day cut. Auten was in fourth place
going into the day, charging hard at the win and trying to make it a
Auten joins Biffle (2010) and Kinami pro Steve Kennedy of Auburn (2009)
as PAA Anglers of the Year. Auten will receive free entry into the 2012
Bass Pro Shops PAA Tournament Series along with a MinnKota trolling
motor and T-H Marine Atlas Jackplate.
Consistency proved to be key this season and has been part of Auten’s low-key approach during his career.
â€œI’d say here lately that yeah, I’ve been consistent,â€ he said. â€œJust a
few years ago, though, it was up and down, up and down. I think one
thing that helps is we go to lakes that favor my style of fishing. If we
were somewhere like Kentucky Lake where everything’s deep it might be
During his career Auten has accumulated more than $707,750 in winnings
and 25 finishes in the Top 10. He’s a perennial threat to make a cut in
any event, but seems to shine more in the brutal summer heat that
perplexes some anglers.
One of Auten’s go-to baits, maybe his primary one, is a white vibrating
jig or a swim jig. In summer when conventional wisdom says fish go deep,
Auten will be in skinny water flinging the wiggling, jiggling bait.
It’s something he enjoys, he covers water, it’s pretty easy and, most of
all, it works.
Auten took the point standings lead after the PAA Tournament Series
event on Table Rock in June. Biffle and McClelland knew overtaking him,
even just a few points behind, wouldn’t be easy on Neely Henry.
â€œTodd’s a tough angler wherever we go,â€ Biffle said. â€œHe likes that
shallow stuff like I do and it seems like he’s always going to be right
Auten cut his teeth on Lake Wylie in South Carolina, â€œwhich is loaded
with docks,â€ he said, â€œand if you didn’t learn how to fish docks then
you were going to get your tail whipped. I just learned to fish them and
what to look for around them.â€
15 to receive invites to TTBC
Auten will lead the 15 individuals who qualified the through the PAA Tournament Series to join the 15 Bassmaster Elite Series and 15 FLW Tour anglers who also got invites to compete on Lake Conroe in Texas for the Toyota Texas Bass Classic.
Todd Auten, South Carolina; Mike McClelland, Arkansas; Takahiro Omori,
Texas; Chad Morgenthaler, Illinois; Gary Yamamoto, Texas; Derek Remitz,
Alabama; Tommy Biffle, Oklahoma; Terry Butcher, Oklahoma; Cody Bird,
Texas; Brian Travis, North Carolina; Chris Brasher, Texas; Shane Long,
Missouri; Gary Clouse, Tennessee; James Watson, Missouri; Harold Allen,
The TTBC will pay out more $420,000 in cash and prizes, with the winner
receiving $100,000 and a Legend boat with an Evinrude E-TEC engine. Fans
will be treated to three days of fun at the Lone Star Expo &
Convention Center, with numerous vendors featuring hands-on exhibits,
food, beverages and nightly concerts from Billy Currington, Pat Green
and Robert Earl Keen.