LCDR Richard Bates won the American Bass Anglers (ABA) Coast Guard Angler of the Year Award at the 2009 American Fishing Tour National Championship, held September 30 – October 2, 2009 at Pickwick Lake, Florence, AL. LCDR Bates also placed 50th out of 387 participants in the 2009 National Championship Tournament and 47th for the year among the top 500 ABA anglers. The top four 2009 Coast Guard Anglers in order are LCDR Richard Bates, Joseph Lybrand (former Coast Guard), CDR Patrick Clark and AMTC Jason Law.
ABA was founded in 1975 by military members and was originally called the Military Bass Anglers Association (MBAA). Renamed in 2000, the American Bass Anglers still honors its military roots by featuring military service competition teams. Service teams must consist of at least 50 current and former military service members. The Coast Guard currently fields a 51-member team.