CODY MEYER ranked #1.

It’s been brewing for some time, but the steadily-rising career of Auburn’s Cody Meyer has culminated in his being named the Number One angler on the 2012 California ‘Top 40’ Bass Anglers List.

Although recognized as a talent since he broke in a few seasons back, his fifth place standing in the FLW Tour Majors points was the highest ranking of any angler from the Golden State, and enough to outdistance the 40-odd year old Skeet Reese, who returned to the list after blanking in 2011.

Still it’s safe to say, the last 11 months of bass fishing (especially on the competitive side) have been “crazy,” as one tournament director suggested. Of course, he didn’t have to look at all the standings of all the popular tours and trails, then factor in the sometimes watered down competition, small fields and residence changes for those who are now former Californians.

As is the routine here, once again, we rated the level of tournaments with catch-your-own draws ahead of shared weight events or teams. Success in more than one circuit was an advantage (though rarely seen in 2012), while good finishes in one circuit could be offset by poor showings in another circuit.

And generally speaking, adding a win to one’s resume was usually a difference-maker.

Still, many of the players were so inconsistent it forced my crack Bass Angler Assessment Team (BAAT), to do something we’ve never needed to do in the past. That is, grade angler performance on a curve!  Yep, not many A’s and not many F’s. But a whole bunch of average. However, that opened the door to a few newcomers, and along with a few impressive catches by the big bass specialists, put a little meat in the Top 40 sandwich.

So here they are (UPDATED SPELLING):

1. Cody Meyer, Auburn—An excellent FLW season puts him on top of the list as well as the highest ranking Californian in the World Ranking

2. Skeet Reese, Auburn—Let’s hear it for the Top 40 “Comeback fisherman of the Year!” Disappeared a year ago, but he could be turning it around and headed back to the pinnacle of the sport after a top 10 showing in the Bassmaster Elites.

3. Jeff Michaels, Lakehead—You can plug this guy in the top 5 about every year and he’s money—like Everstart Angler of the Year in the West for 2012. I’m impressed.

4. Butch Brown, Castaic—Nobody had a better, more productive and more documented year for trophy bass than this guy.

5. Greg Gutierrez, Red Bluff—Competing at a high level and only one point behind Michaels in the Everstarts, no one should be surprised at his ranking.

6. Joe Uribe, Jr., Mission Viejo—An excellent fourth place in Everstart points and a top 10 in, he can catch ‘em anywhere.

7. Jimmy Reese, Witter Springs—Little to differentiate this Reese from others in the Everstarts, so this is where he landed.

8. Wayne Breazeale, Kelseyville—A known commodity who shown best in the WON events, and also captured a USAC title.

9. Zack Thompson, Alameda—Solid 6th place in the Everstart Series, he’s probably plenty good enough to win with just one wacky hook point—but he likes two.

10. Matt Allen, Vacaville—Most impressive thing to the Assessment Team was he caught big ones in more different places and during a wider duration during the year.

11. Kevin Stewart, Elk Grove—Not a perfect season, but Daiwa Cup title in WON Bass means he had to excel in two regions—and he did.

12. Erik Parra, Galt—Eighth in Everstart points, but seventh among Californians, he could become a fixture on the Big List.

13. Michael Tuck, Antelope—Better on the WON Tour than elsewhere, but more good showings than bad overall.

14. Todd Woods, Murrieta—Considering his responsibilities away from the water (Captain, L.A. County Fire), his was a great Everstart season, worthy of the placement.

15. Mark Daniels, Jr., Fairfield—Obviously a dynamic, talented angler, who one observer described as a “fishing maniac.” So why is he beating up on the club guys? C’mon, man!

16. Jay Wright, Seal Beach—Won all the way north at Clear Lake in Everstart and finished 11th in the points. Very nice.

17. Bill Siemantel, Castaic—Everything matters. Had he weighed five live ones on the final day of the Havasu National Bass West championship—he jumps to the top 10.

18. Charley Almassey, Oakley—Has been at this since he was a kid, and now he’s a force. His 13th in Everstart and USAC title in Region 1 on the Delta prove it.

19. John Morrow, Brea—He doesn’t fish everything, but when he does from teams to the U.S. Open, he’s usually somewhere near the top.

20. Bryant Smith, Castro Valley—Had some success in Everstart and even better results in Anglers Choice, so he makes the top 20 in his first splash on the Top 40.

21. Garrett Lorenzen, Fallbrook—One of the young guns who will be jumping to the big time if he keeps at it. Clearly, he’s “do what it takes” kind of angler.

22. Rodney Reed, Bakersfield—Those Isabella guys love to power fish—no wonder he did so well in WON Bass, North—like #3.

23. Kyle Grover, Mission Viejo—Not ready to throw it all into tournament fishing, but clearly just a few casts away from greatness.

24. Jason Borofka, Salinas—One of many who didn’t make the big score this year, but finished fourth in the North of WON BASS with its better fields.

25. Howard Hughes, Redding—I think I’ve covered this guy since they all wore jumpsuits. But he still gets ‘em.

26. Tom Lowery, San Diego—Guiding success, as well as consistent team results get him on the list.

27. Tom Leedom, Fallbrook—Not as active in competition this year, but one of the most respected anglers in the area.

28. Brent Ehrler, Redlands—Perfect example of inconsistency in 2012. Wins a national tournament; finishes 30th in the FLW points race. You know he’s solid, though.

29. Ish Monroe, Hughson–If winning weren’t so tough to do (and he got his and a ticket to the Classic), he might not be this high on the list.

30. Shawn Lee, Arroyo Grande–Hot in the mix for the WON Bass Daiwa Cup. A solid year.

31. Daniel Leue, Colusa—Everstart Co-Angler of the Year and then wins the Everstart Co-Angler championship on the Ouachita River? That’s never been done before!

32. Troy Lindner, Los Angeles—With legendary father, this former Siemantel team partner now forging his own career as a pro level winner.

33. Mike Stiles, Bakersfield—Did just enough to get into the Western Classic, then spanked the hometown boys with more than 63 pounds in two days at Clear Lake.

34. Kevin Norling, San Diego—Young guy, big upside. Competition telling me this is the guy to look out for.

35. Eric Elshere, Camarillo—Bright and savvy, if this kid could get out of the local rat race, his clear water, big fish tricks will take him far.

36. Joe Everett, Mission Viejo—Undeniable big bass resume. And we can live with his Mission Viejo private lake domain, but would like to see him catch some the other 10 months of the year.

37. Sean Stafford, Fairfield—Either a U.S. Open title means something or it doesn’t. We think it does.

38. Mike Folkestad, Villa Park—Take a good, long look. This may be the last time we see this double Hall of Famer on the list of the 40 best in the state.

39. Jamond Andrews, Oakley–Some say this guy is the keel in the Daniels, Jr./Andrews power team.

40. John Ed Wilder, III, (posthumous)–A great career and Team of the Year in his division for 2012 (with Jay Poore). This is our salute.


18 Responses to “Top 40: Meyer rated California’s best in 2012”

Always fun looking at these. Thanks George.

by Garrett Mercer

One thing we can gaurentee, this list does a great job of creating controversy. Some great names on this list, a few missing.

Yes it’s true…always fun to review the list. Congrats Cody…and to all that made the notorious list.

With only 40 spots, I don’t know how ya do it every year George. Always good for (of course) controversy and conversation.

Congrats Cody for making the #1 spot! Glad to see “Double G” at the top of the list. I’m certainly NOT surprised at that ranking. I’ve traveled with Greg for that last two years for WON Bass and can’t even begin to say what I’ve learned… One thing that Really stands out is CONSISTENCY! Thank you, Greg… and George for the list every year.

George this list always makes me laugh. Some guys you don’t hear about all year , but make the list. Others you hear about weekly and don’t make the list. I have always wondered how you come up with this list?

Wow, Wow and wow…. A lot of names deserving, but just as many not..

Chip: If I published the formula we use, then anyone could do the list. 😉

George this is always fun to go over and see who is missing and who made it that doesn’t belong. I know I don’t qualify anymore since I live in Oregon. I guess it’d help if I actually launched my boat more than 5 times this year! LOL The good news is, with only about 40 anglers in Oregon it might be easier for me to make the Oregon top 40 list in the coming years! ha ha ha

On a slightly more serious note…

Since I know that you put this list together as much to create a buzz around the sport and spur some conversation I will respectfully offer some of my observations!

To start with, and I hate to admit it, I have to agree with KB and say Jared Lintner belongs near the top of this list. Bassmaster Classic qualifier, TOC champion and someone most people hate to see at the sign ups, except for the fact he’s a great guy!

I little less obvious is maybe Jason Hemminger who in my opinion belongs on it well above a few others since he was one bite from making the Classic as well. Uhmmm, Gary and Richard Dobyns?

Then I see Brent Ehrler at 28th. He did win the Major League fishing event against 20 of the best anglers in the world and 4 others. LOL Just kidding – they are all great anglers. Plus, he won an FLW Tour event on Lake Hartwell. I agree it wasn’t his best season, but he still qualified for the FLW Cup pretty easily. My recommendation is to pull out a sharpie and add him to the top 5 and leave him there for the next few decades. Tell you want, since I like you so much, I’ll give you a helping hand… for the next few decades, 1-2-3 Meyer, Reese and Ehrler (you can pick the order) until otherwise noted. LOL

I really like the addition of Bryant Smith – that’s definitely a kid to keep an eye on in the future. Plus, Mike Stiles can catch ’em with anyone and if its a big bag kind of tournament he is one to watch.

Lastly – I know its gotta be tough to compare 150 boat FLW Tour fields held 1000’s of miles away with 30 and 40 boat local pro-ams. Maybe the Heritage Tour this year will get bigger fields and make your job a little easier, we’ll see.

I’d say it’s gotta be tough on Skeet to not only be #2 in the state, but also #2 in the City of Auburn – but he’s got a few trophies in his trophy room that tell me he’s probably not crying in his soup tonight. I guess if you wanna be the best in California or anywhere for that matter – better move to Auburn.

I don’t envy the job of putting this list together, but knowing you a little – I bet its much more fun than job for you! Overall I commend you for putting the list together and digging for some names not many of us have heard about to make it more interesting.

Finally, wish I could get down there for the Bass-A-thon and see everyone as well as do some work for a few of my clients that are coming it – but I’ll be in Alabama working on the King’s Home Randy Howell boat giveaway. Next year, I’ll make the Bass-A-Thon for sure and maybe I’ll talk you into a short trip on Elsie… I’ll bring a sharpie!

Since its for a GREAT cause I’ll mention that a little – Donate to a great cause and get a chance to win Randy Howell’s $70,000 Ranger/Mercury package. or for more info!

Thanks, George for the recognition. I’m after one thing and one thing only 22.7. If I had the resources to fish 12 months a year I would but being a blue collar workin’ man, husband, father of 5 one of which is serving our country in the Pursian Gulf so “We ALL” can chase our dreams I’ll stick to my game and chase the GIANTS on my schedule. I guess it doesn’t matter if people love me or hate me I’m not going anywhere so deal with it. Thanks again George…… BOOM!

Wow George, only 23% of your list is Anglers Marine Prostaffers? We must be getting weak! lol Thanks for the props for the best in the West. Want to make this list? Hang at the big “A” and learn from the best.

Hi George- Classy move with John Ed at 40! I like it!

Yeah, I have a hard time when Lintner isnt on the list but someone else, who doesnt fish the Elites nor has made a Classic from the same hometown is? But then again, opinions are like ……

Because Jared Lintner’s name has come up a couple of times this week let me tell you our thinking, Francis. We try and rate performance in one’s realm, then compare that performance among anglers in other realms. So yes, it’s entirely subjective.

If it was just a big scoreboard of pro points standings, then there would be no need to put my list out every year. But I also factor in guides, big fish guys, co-anglers and even team fishermen, and that’s why the list is always open to debate.

Yes, Jared did fish the Elites. But he didn’t even finish in the top 25 percent of a 100 boat field (31st)! Second, he did not “win” his way into the Classic (as did Ish) and third, he only got into the Classic because other anglers double-qualified or he would be out in the cold. Frankly, he backed into the World Championship–no other way to put it.

So, in 2012, that just wasn’t good enough compared to how Shawn Lee fished in HIS REALM, vying for the Daiwa Cup.

“Top 40” sounds and reads better than “40 guys (and gals?) that I want to talk about”.

[…] You can see the complete list on Kramer’s blog at: Kramer Gone Fishing […]

You can bet Brent Ehler will jump up in next year’s rankings.


I have been reading you for over 25 years. I give up, your knowledge of bass fishing is overrated, see you at the open. Nice touch with the coffin thing right after Pat died.

by George Kramer

Thanks. Look forward to September as well.