Who Skeet Reese would pick for the Sacramento River
By Tyler Wade
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Skeet Reese just got through showing the world (for the second time) that this California boy can win on Alabama waters.
Now, he gets to go back to his turf and compete on the waters he grew up on.
The veteran pro has expertise on the Sacramento River and also knows the Bassmaster Elite Series pros extremely well, so he might do better at predicting the top pros on this water than anyone else could. He has offered up his Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing picks for the rest of us.
Bucket A: Monroe, Zaldain
When it comes to Bucket A, Reese went straight to Ish Monroe’s name.
“Definitely Ish,” said Reese.
“And Chris Zaldain will be a good pick,” he added.
“What about you?” I asked. It’s always funny to listen to the pros trying to decide if they should choose themselves or not.
“Well, I can’t pick myself!”
“It just seems … rude,” he answered.
“You know the fishery, you’re doing well, you’ll be at home,” I said. “Randy Howell once told me that if you don’t pick yourself, it shows you don’t have confidence. It’s not rude or arrogant; it’s self-confident.”
“OK, then I guess I’ll pick myself,” he finally said.
With that out of the way, I pointed out that he had only picked California guys. Anyone else?
“Yeah, Justin Lucas and Aaron Martens, too.”
“But they grew up in California,” I said. “So you basically have made five picks in Bucket A, all of whom started in California. Do you have to have grown up there to ‘get it’? What’s the advantage?”
“It’s about understanding areas, tides, presentations,” said Reese. “The minor details could be important here.”
So there you have it. Pick California guys for A, says Reese.
Bucket B: Morgenthaler, Ehrler
In Bucket B, Reese chose Chad Morgenthaler first.
“He’s fishing well and he’s fishing confident,” said Reese. “Whether he’ll be a Top 10er or not, I don’t know. But he’s fishing well enough to get a check and maybe a Top 25.”
And the one California guy in the bucket got Reese’s vote, too.
“Brent Ehrler knows the Delta better than most of that group,” said Reese. “He’ll be a strong pick. He’s a wise choice any time.”
Greg Hackney has had Top 10 finishes the last two times the Elite Series was on the Delta.
“The spot he caught them in last time is probably dry,” said Reese. “I don’t know if he can get in there.” That doesn’t mean not to pick the reigning Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year; just don’t look at his stats there and assume he can just repeat the same finish.
Reese struggled between Bill Lowen and Chris Lane. Both are really good and would do well on the Sacramento River, he said.
Ultimately, he picked Lane.
“It fits his style of fishing,” said Reese. “Plus, he wants to redeem himself after Guntersville.”
Bucket C: B. Hite, Evers
Brett Hite is already the most popular pick in Bucket C by far, and Reese confirmed that’s for good reason.
“Hite is definitely a strong choice in that bucket,” said Reese. “The prespawn and spawn fish will still be there, and he’s the Chatterbait king. He’ll be in there with confidence.”
Edwin Evers is another good pick, more because of his attitude than his prowess on this particular body of water.
“He’s hungry right now,” said Reese. “He wants to prove himself. He could be a factor.” That’s not surprising based on the fact that he’s the second-most popular pick in Bucket C right now.
Reese also went with Dennis Tietje.
“He’s a Louisiana Delta rat,” said Reese. “I think he can understand the type of fishing there. I don’t know if he’ll be a Top 5er or not, but we’ll see.”
Bucket D: Klein, Browning
“Gary Klein is a good bet to do well here,” said Reese. “He’s got some history there. Plus, he’s good friends with the Godfather of Flippin’, Dee Thomas, so he knows all about that.”
Stephen Browning would be a good pick, too.
“He understood it last time,” said Reese, referring to his two Top 10s there the last two times the Elite Series visited. “I think he could do well. He’s got confidence going in there.”
And Bobby Lane would be another good choice.
“This sets up well for the Florida guys,” said Reese. “There will be tules and grass and shallow power fishing.”
Bucket E: Lintner, Murray
“Jared Lintner is definitely No. 1 for me,” said Reese. “He’s a hammer on the Delta.”
But don’t forget John Murray.
“He has 40 years on the Delta,” Reese said. “He has an understanding of the where and the when out there.”
Fred Roumbanis is another good pick.
“He’s a California kid, grew up fishing the Delta,” said Reese. “He’ll be great there, from frogging to flipping.”
Reese thought long and hard about what the winning weight would be. He ultimately came up with 86 pounds, 10 ounces.
Should you listen to him? Probably. He guessed 89 for Guntersville and was off only 3 pounds, when multiple anglers thought the weight would bust 100.
Toyota wrap-up: Reese was best pick for Guntersville
By Tyler Wade
GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. — If you were set up for an all-locals team for your Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing game on Lake Guntersville, then you are probably wishing you hadn’t. With only one Alabama guy in the mix, here’s the perfect team:
Bucket A: Greg Vinson, 268 points
B: Michael Iaconelli, 309
C: Skeet Reese, 305
D: Jason Christie, 272
E: Byron Velvick, 295
No one achieved a score that high.
Bucket A: Vinson
Greg Vinson had among the lowest ownership percentages in the bucket at only 0.1 percent. But he performed the best with his eighth-place finish.
If you picked Dean Rojas instead, with 5 percent of players did, then you still did pretty well. He ended in 11th place and earned his owners 257 points. Similarly, John Crews earned 248 points for his owners, which was only 0.7 percent for the current leader in Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points.
Many people really missed out on points in Bucket A with the “sheeple” picks, players who herded to the popular pros.
Chris Lane was the most popular sheeple pick at 28.6 percent, even though he said not to pick him. You should have followed his advice because he posted only 113 points, more than 150 points behind the Vinson pickers.
Aaron Martens was the next-most-popular sheeple pick at 24 percent. He posted 143 points. Other popular picks were Justin Lucas, 10.2 percent, 215 points, and the worst pick of the bucket, Greg Hackney, 11.7 percent, with 83 points.
Bucket B: Iaconelli
Players who owned Mike Iaconelli and were devastated to see him flounder on the last day should not feel too disappointed. Yes, he could have posted more points for you if he won, but his three 5-point bonuses for leading each day and his 40-point bonus for big bag pushed his 12th-place finish to a hefty 309 points. That’s good for the 20.1 percent of players who picked him.
Just behind him was Derek Remitz with 290 points. His residency on Guntersville boosted enough people’s confidence in him to gain him 6.1 percent of owners.
The top sheeple pick was understandably Randy Howell at 22.7 percent, after his win here last year during the Classic. He posted less than half of Iaconelli’s points, though, at 149.
Gerald Swindle was the second sheeple pick at 21.1 percent, and he earned 223 points for his players.
Casey Ashley, the reigning Classic champ, was owned by a healthy 9.2 percent of players, but he earned only 53 points.
Bucket C: Reese
You know now, of course, that you should have picked Skeet Reese for Bucket C. It seemed so obvious, with his 2009 runner-up finish here and his 2010 win, but only 11 percent of players went Reese’s way. He delivered 305 points for his owners.
The two sheeple picks were Kevin VanDam and Randall Tharp. VanDam, owned by 30.4 percent of players, earned 185 points, more than 100 points down from Reese. Tharp, owned by 22.3 percent, earned only 107 points, practically a third of Reese’s score.
If you picked Keith Combs, which 4.6 percent of you did, you did all right with 280 points. The 25-point difference between the Top 2 spots in this bucket makes Reese the overall best pick for Guntersville.
Bucket D: Christie
In Bucket D, the sheeple pick was the best pick. Jason Christie was owned by 24.4 percent of players, and he won the bucket with 272 points.
Not far behind were Brent Ehrler, 15.8 percent, with 264 points, and Chad Morgenthaler, 3.5 percent, with 260 points.
Brett Hite was the second-most popular pick of the bucket with 17.1 percent of owners, and he earned 251 points for his players. Kevin Hawk was the third-most popular with 15.6 percent, but he ended with only 89 points.
Bucket E: Velvick
Byron Velvick was owned by only 0.3 percent of players, but he performed best with 295 points.
David Walker was right behind with 285 points, and he was owned by a healthier 5.6 percent of players.
Bobby Lane and Edwin Evers were the top sheeple picks with 28.6 and 26.4 percent of players, respectively. Lane posted 219 points for his owners, and Evers posted 235. Those aren’t terrible, especially considering the percentages ahead of them — only 11.2 percent combined for the five anglers who performed better — were small enough that Lane and Evers pickers didn’t lose much ground.
The rosters for Sacramento are open now!