FLIPPIN, Ark. (August 15, 2018) - Ranger Boats Pro Mark Rose was officially awarded the 2018 FLW Tour Angler of the Year award during the Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Ouachita, Arkansas. The longtime Ranger pro has shown remarkable consistency and is widely regarded as one of the best sticks on tour. Along with the title, Rose was awarded $100,000. As part of the Ranger Cup contingency, Rose was also awarded a brand new Ranger Z518L.
"In the beginning, I had so much to learn," said Rose. "Here 20 years later, being given this great award gives me the confidence to know I have come full circle. For me, it gives me lots of confidence and joy. I'm more thankful than anything."
Rose started the season strong with a third-place finish on Lake Okeechobee. With a history of struggling on the Harris Chain, Rose fell in the AOY ranks with a 62nd-place finish at the second event. The angler put himself in contention again with three straight top-30 finishes and gained the points lead after his fifth-place finish at Kentucky Lake.
Rose doesn't normally ever think about the AOY race during the season but the time between the final two FLW regular-season events did offer time to reflect on what the title would mean to him.
"From Kentucky Lake to when St. Clair was over, there was lots of time to think, crunch numbers and do all that stuff that I normally never do," said Rose. "But, it's $100,000 and a new boat so it's on your mind. With that kind of bonus, you want to do everything you can to capitalize on it."
Going into the final regular-season tour event at St. Clair, Rose lead by 64 points and needed to finish 64th or better to ensure no one could catch him. A disappointing 67th-place finished briefly opened the door for fellow Ranger pro Scott Martin. Rose sat next to the stage as other anglers weighed their fish that eventually bumped Martin out of the top-10, ending the opportunity for him to catch up to Rose.
The AOY title goes to the angler who most consistently performs well over the course of the regular season, and Rose thinks confidence in his gear is one of the keys to his sustained success.
"I want to have the best," said Rose. "I fish out of a Ranger because it is the best boat. Out there on the water, these boats take so much abuse. Whenever I am out on St. Clair and Angler of the Year on the line, I don't think about my boat. In 20 years of professional bass fishing out of a Ranger, I have never had my boat let me down."
Rose adds this title to his eight career tournament wins, 49 top-10 finishes and more than $2 million in career earnings.
Another Ranger pro angler also received special recognition with James Watson being honored by the FLW with the 2018 Forrest L. Wood Sportsmanship & Community Leadership Award. The award signifies an angler has exhibited profound respect and civility for all competitors, fisheries, tournament staff and fishing fans.
2018 Forrest L. Wood Sportsmanship & Community Leadership Award winner James Watson
Hailing from Missouri, Watson has helped with FLW Community Outreach opportunities and worked with Shriners Hospitals for Children. The angler has also influenced others to join in to give time and money to Shriners. Knowing the future of fishing will live with the youth, Watson also dedicates his time to supporting the next batch of anglers.
"It was a complete honor and actually a surprise," said Watson. "When Forrest got on stage and mentioned the Shiners hospital, it dawned upon me I was about to be called on stage. The hardest thing to give in our lives is time. My manager, Michelle, has given a lot of time and help to keep this campaign going so she deserves a lot of credit."
About Ranger Boats
Headquartered in Flippin, Ark., Ranger Boats is the nation's premier manufacturer of legendary fiberglass and aluminum fishing boats, with acclaimed models and series in the bass, multi-species, fish 'n play, saltwater, waterfowl utility and pontoon boat segments. Founded in 1968 by Forrest L. Wood, Ranger Boats continues its commitment to building the highest-quality, strongest-performing boats on the water. For more information, go to RangerBoats.com.