Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Fantasy Fishing Becomes Reality For One Illinois Angler


CJ Meyer of Greenville, Ill., pictured with two of his sons, finished the 2016 Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing season with a total of 11,160 points earning him the grand prize of a Triton 189 TrX bass boat with a Yamaha VF150LA outboard, a MotorGuide trolling motor and a Lowrance Mark 5 Fishfinder worth a total of more than $37,000. 

Photo courtesy of CJ Meyer

Fantasy Fishing Becomes Reality For One Illinois Angler


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — CJ Meyer has grown up fishing his whole life in his hometown of Greenville, Ill., and now after earning more than $37,000 in merchandise by winning the grand prize in Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing presented by Toyota, he can share that passion with his three sons.

Meyer scored 11,160 total points with his picks in the 2016 Bassmaster Elite Series events, earning a Triton 189 TrX bass boat with a Yamaha VF150LA outboard, MotorGuide trolling motor and a Lowrance Mark 5 Fishfinder.

Though this is an exciting win for Meyer, things haven’t always been this way. Meyer has recently faced some family hardships leaving him to raise his three boys, one of whom has plans to begin fishing competitively on his local high school bass fishing team.

“My family has gone through so much in the last six months,” said Meyer. “I actually at one time thought I shouldn’t play Fantasy Fishing because I don’t have the time to put in it since I have my boys. But, I stuck with it and it ended up paying off, that’s for sure.

“Now my son is going to have more than enough to get out there and start high school bass fishing. He can do what he loves, and I can get back out and tournament fish with my local club. It is amazing. I am still almost speechless about it.”

Meyer has fished tournaments for two years as a co-angler.

“I have always been a co-angler,” he said. “I would fish with friends competitively. My friend would let me borrow his aluminum boat with a little 25-horsepower on it, and that’s how my son and I would go out.”

Meyer’s decision to stick with playing Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing earned him the No. 1 spot and a boat of his own. Even though he was ranked low with just 743 points for the ninth Elite Series event at the Potomac River in Charles County, Md., he persevered.

After doing research on the anglers, Meyer told himself to follow his strategy of going with his gut feeling. His gut was leading him to stick with local pros, as well as Bassmaster Elite pro, Jacob Powroznik.

“I have never met the guy before,” he said. “I have watched YouTube videos of him, and I have seen interviews of him. He just seems like a very good, big-hearted guy, so I picked him probably six or seven times out of the 10 tournaments.

He also had a knack for picking the right local anglers, especially including Seth Feider of Minnesota in the Plano Bassmaster Elite at the Mississippi River presented by Favorite Fishing and the 2016 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship tournament on Mille Lacs Lake. Feider was second at the Mississippi River event, and he brought in the most weight with a three-day total of 76 pounds, 5 ounces at Mille Lacs.

Another key factor that aided in bringing Meyer to the No. 1 spot was Bassmaster Elite pro Takahiro Omori’s heaviest-bag bonus at the Angler of the Year tournament.

“I am so glad I went with Tak that weekend,” said Meyer. “He is the one that gave me the 40-point bonus. I thought it was over and then he got the big-bass bonus, which was what put me over the top to win by 19 points.”

Meyer and his sons plan to spend their weekends on the water after the big win. He hopes they will have the passion for fishing like he does.

“My kids are my life, and this win is for us as a family. My boys have been my rock and picked me up when I’ve been down. The opportunity for me to teach them how to bass fish now with a new boat is amazing!”

When asked if Meyer would be competing in Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing in 2017 he replied, “Will Gerald Swindle be back to defend his AOY title? Then yes, absolutely, I’ll be back to defend my title. I’m already studying the locations. Anyone who is competitive knows you always come back to defend your title!”

Other top finishers received prizes including GoPro Hero 4 Black cameras and Bass Pro Shops gift cards. For more information on Bassmaster’s Fantasy Fishing competition and a step-by-step guide on how to play, visit

“This year we had a record number of Fantasy Fishing players,” said Jim Sexton, vice president of digital at B.A.S.S. “We’re thrilled with the passion participants bring to the game. It’s easy to enter, and a great way to follow the Elite Series. We plan to continue improving it for next season.”

Registration for the 2017 Bassmaster Elite Series season will begin in early February.

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