Best Anglers by State: Why Maryland Produces the Best Bass Anglers

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Written By Russ Egan

Russ is a professional fisherman with over 20 years of experience. He has fished all over the world for more than two decades, primarily for saltwater game fish but also for local trophy fish. Russ comprehensively tests and reviews all his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. There is nothing he prefers than heading down to his local tackle store, buying the latest fishing reel, and taking it to the water to test.

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A common argument after a day of fishing around the campfire is ‘which state produces the best anglers.’ I have had this discussion so many times that I wanted to dive into the data to come up with an answer – in this case, which state produces the best pro bass anglers?

Based on the world ranking score, Maryland produces the best bass anglers on average.
Best anglers by state


I have taken the current world rankings for this analysis. They produce rankings for each pro angler in top-level Bass Pro Tour, B.A.S.S. and FLW events.

Each event is weighted based on the rankings of each competitor and the number of opponents. For example, winning a tournament against the top 10 ranking anglers has more significance than winning a tournament with the bottom 20 ranking anglers.

Championships are also weighted more heavily, so fishing under pressure matters.

It also uses a 2-year rolling calendar, so it is relatively stable and doesn’t jump up and down based on a single recent victory.

The top anglers have to perform consistently against the best of the best.

Best Anglers by State: Why Maryland Produces the Best Bass Anglers 2

I have taken these rankings and assigned each angler to their home State. Then each State is given a total and an average. I then decided to use the average as the more significant metric.

If I had used the total rankings produced by a State, then Alaska is the easy winner. They scored a total of 4507 points, but they have 38 participants. They score 49% more than the next highest State in 2nd place in Texas.

So this data is skewed simply by having so many people involved.

There is an argument that Alaska produces the most pro bass anglers than any other State, especially considering their population. This is fair.

But I am not interested in the average angler – I want to know which State produces the best anglers on average. This means to focus on the elite anglers and use the average rankings for each.

The Data

Let’s have a look at the data itself. This shows the average score per State, where you can see Maryland is the clear winner.

StateAverage Rating
New Jersey143
South Carolina119
North Carolina107
Louisiana 96

There is an easy answer to why Maryland scored so high. They only have a single angler in the rankings – Bryan Schmitt – who currently has a score of 179 and is ranked #16. He is simply not weighed down by other lower-ranked angers.

This means that while Maryland has the highest average score, it also has one of the lowest totals.


There are several conclusions that can be taken from this data:

  1. Maryland produces the best anglers on average
  2. Alaska produces the most pro bass anglers
  3. Tennessee is also extremely successful with 3 anglers in the top 10 rankings

Of course, this is just a fun look at the pro bass angler rankings. I would love to hear whatever other thoughts you have about methods for picking the top bass fishing state.

I would also love an analysis to assign a bass baitcasting reel or favorite lure to each angler to be able to pinpoint the top equipment for pro anglers.