Kramer announced on his blog, kramergonefishing.com that after 20 years of publishing the list, this might be his last hurrah of putting it out there. Kramer has taken on the daunting task of trying to whittle down a pool of thousands of bass anglers into a ranking of the 40 best in California for the calendar year. The list was published in at least 3 sources over the years, first in Fishing & Hunting News, then Western Outdoor News, and recently on his own blog Kramer Gone Fishing. No matter what medium you read it on, if you were a part of the black bass game in the golden state, you were interested.
Kramer’s list has featured some big names over the years, and drummed up it’s fair share of controversy. It’s perhaps the single most anticipated printed piece in California bass fishing, traditionally dropping each fall before the Anglers Marine Bass-A-Thon. For all the controversy attributed to “the list,” it has also an important brag point in anglers’ resumes as they seek sponsors, and look for avenues to take their talents from the left coast to a full time stint on the professional tour.
The list has featured both the big name tournament pros who reside in California (like Skeet Reese) as well as the obscure recluse previously only known by a unique decal on their boat. It has also publicized some nefarious anglers prior to their moment of outing (see Mike Hart at #13 on the 2009 list, before getting busted in the 2010 US Open 8 months later).
San Diego anglers have fared well over the years, routinely occupying 10-20% of the slots. His 2013 installment featured 6 local boys, led by team tournament angler Todd Holverson at #16. Local juggernauts John Kerr, Rusty Salewske, Jon Strelic, and Cameron Smith had all made it a habit to find their name in print each November.
San Diego County’s Bill Murphy, who literally wrote the book on big bass fishing appeared at #2 on the very first “top 40 list” in 1994. He was trumped only by Hall of Famer Mike Folkestad, who still finds himself towing a bass boat down I-5 and casting for checks at El Capitan and Lower Otay in 2014.
For more on the history of Kramer’s top 40 list, and his decision to button it up in 2014, check out his blog post “Top 40 List: A good time to shut ‘er down?” And while you’re there, bookmark kramergonefishing.com.