With two events remaining for the Flint Hills Bass Association, a Topeka angler is looking to make club history.


Former Washburn and Hayden angler Thomas Heinen, a nonboater, leads the FHBA standings after three events with 298 points. If Heinen were to keep his top spot for the rest of the season, he would become the first nonboater to win the club's Angler of the Year award. Heinen has won Nonboater of the Year the past four years in a row.


"This season has been a blast," Heinen said. "After COVID, I thought I wasn’t going to fish as much as I’d like to, but this season has been a lot of fun. I’ve had a few college tournaments, but since I started working with K-Guard Leaf Free Gutter Systems I’ve been focusing on my club events. I’ve been with the Flint Hills Bass Association for five years now and this has by far been my best year in the club.


"I really enjoy fishing these club events because I seem to learn something new every time I go out on the water. Without these guys, I wouldn’t be the angler I am today. If you join a bass club you will learn a ton, and that was my goal joining the club. I have been very fortunate over the years and I couldn’t thank the FHBA enough for molding me as a fisherman."


Next month, Heinen will have the opportunity to represent Kansas at the 2020 BASS Central Regional in Many, La. He will be joined by fellow FHBA members Drake Graybeal and Jake Brunton, who was also Heinen's teammate at Washburn.


If Heinen advances to nationals, he’ll have a chance to earn a spot in the Bassmaster Classic and chase his lifelong dream of fishing professionally.


"I have been very blessed to have some really awesome guidance from mentors such as Clyde Holscher, Ned Kehde, Dennis O’Dell and several members from the FHBA."


But Heinen is far from the only Topeka-area angler with an eye on the club's top prize, with Tate Herrman, Larry Brumley, Mike Turner, Rue Armstrong and Richard Heflin rounding out the top five — Armstrong and Heflin are tied for fifth with 272 points apiece.


Herrman, of Topeka, is Heinen's closest competition, trailing by 14 points in the standings. Herrman, who captains for his sons, Nick and Kyle, in the Kansas BASS Nation youth series, said it's been tough to make time to dedicate to his own tournament aspirations this year. Kyle recently was selected to represent Kansas at Bill Siemental's Big Bass Zone Junior Championship next month in Idaho, joining fellow Kansan Brock Wadkins, of Ottawa. Kyle will be the second Topekan to compete in the event in as many years after Shawnee Heights’ Parker Still took fifth place last year.


"It has been a tough season with COVID-19 changing the schedule for the boys’ and my events," Herrman said. "I was able to win Perry and had a good finish on Milford. I will only be able to fish one more event because of the boys' schedule. I’m going to put my head down and fish hard. The key to bass fishing is the ability to adjust on the fly and be confident."


Fellow Topekan Brumley sits 23 points back of Heinen in the FHBA standings in third place with 275. Turner, of Berryton, sits in fourth with 273.


Heinen has finished in the top three in all three tournaments so far this season, winning the July 19 event on Melvern with 24.42 pounds alongside Topekan Jim Parsons, who currently sits in seventh place in the season standings with 270 points. Heinen had the big bass of the day during that tournament at 19 1/4 inches long.


Heinen finished second alongside Wayne Wenger (15th in standings) at the season opener May 9 at Perry behind Herrman and Richard Harmon (10th in standings). He tied Topekan Shan Lemar (ninth in standings) for the big fish at that event, as well, with a 22-inch bruiser. He also took third place in the most recent event on Milford with teammate Butch Kauffman (17th). Turner and Heflin won that event with 20.64 pounds.


The FHBA returns to action Sept. 27 at La Cygne Reservoir, then has the Classic scheduled for Oct. 17-18 at Wilson Reservoir.