Despite 11 years of tour-level experience under his belt, a Forrest Wood Cup trophy on his mantle and more than $2 million in tournament winnings on his resume, Mercury Marine pro Brent Ehrler looks back on the 2015 Bassmaster Elite Series as a season of firsts.
Ehrler had never competed in a B.A.S.S. Elite Series tournament prior to the 2015 season-opener on the Sabine River in March. He had never faced Elite superstars such as Aaron Martens, Kevin VanDam, Skeet Reese and Edwin Evers day after day. And he had never powered through a draining nine-tournament Elite schedule.
But after all was said and done when B.A.S.S. personnel broke down the stage at the Elite Series Angler of the Year Championship tournament Sept. 20 in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., Ehrler had added another “first” to his list: the 2015 Elite Series Rookie of the Year trophy.
“I’m a little tired,” Ehrler said half-jokingly as he assessed his first season on the Elites. “I feel blessed to have the opportunity to compete for Rookie of the Year. It’s a long, difficult season — a lot of work, a lot of travel — and anything can happen, but I’ve really enjoyed fishing the Elites this year. I’m fishing against a lot of the guys I grew up watching; it’s a heck of an honor.”
Ehrler finished the 2015 season with 615 points in the Angler of the Year race (just ahead of fellow Mercury pro Jordan Lee, with 595). But perhaps more important, the Redlands, Calif.-based pro hovered in the top five of the Angler of the Year standings for much of the season and notched three Top 15 finishes.