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Pundit picks for the Sacramento River

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Delta, Delta, Delta, a track record’ll help ya!

By Pete Robbins

[Author’s Note: All picks are final unless Robert Lee somehow gets into the tournament at the last minute.]

The winning weights at the Cal Delta will dwarf those from the Sabine. The 50 pounds that Chris Lane caught over four days to win at the season opener might have you in first in California after two days, and that’s a big “might.”

This is a place that has more than its share of 10-pounders and where 25-pound limits don’t necessarily merit a second look. What the two events will have in common, though, is that long runs will be the norm.

Read the rest of the article here or below.

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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.

Read the rest of the article here or below.

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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

Total: 1,449

Read the rest of the article here or below.

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Full Articles

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Delta, Delta, Delta, a track record’ll help ya!

By Pete Robbins

[Author’s Note: All picks are final unless Robert Lee somehow gets into the tournament at the last minute.]

The winning weights at the Cal Delta will dwarf those from the Sabine. The 50 pounds that Chris Lane caught over four days to win at the season opener might have you in first in California after two days, and that’s a big “might.”

This is a place that has more than its share of 10-pounders and where 25-pound limits don’t necessarily merit a second look. What the two events will have in common, though, is that long runs will be the norm.

When the Elite Series visited the vast Delta in 2007 and 2010, the pros took off out of Stockton, which isn’t necessarily centrally located, but it’s far closer to much of the good fishing than Sacramento is, where this year’s derby will launch. Technically, this tournament is on the Sacramento River, but I have to assume that the sloughs, bays and tracts that have produced in past B.A.S.S. events will draw most of the competitors, and that’ll require the burning of a lot of gas.

As Derek Remitz showed in 2007, when he led at the Delta in only his second Elite Series event (he won the first), you don’t need to know how to run the tides to do well, but that example is the exception rather than the rule. Plenty of anglers who try to be on their best water regardless of the tidal stage typically get burned. So now, in addition to dealing with a day shortened by long runs to and from the launch site, anglers may only get short windows of optimum tides to make the magic happen.

Accordingly, while I’m not usually a big proponent of local advantage in Elite Series tournaments — all of these guys are good, and all of them do their homework — in this case, I think some past experience will come in handy. It’s going to be a track meet where a track record will help.

That means that I’ll likely favor Westerners, and their numbers have increased. Not including the various Japanese pros who have intermittently had Western mailing addresses, or guys like Brian Snowden who were born there but honed their fishing chops elsewhere, I count at least 18 current Elite Series pros who either still reside in the West or else learned to fish there and then moved eastward. The latter group includes not only recent Alabama transplants Aaron Martens, Kevin Hawk and Justin Lucas, but also longtime Texans Gary Klein, Byron Velvick and James Niggemeyer.

Among the remaining anglers, I’ll look to competitors who’ve spent ample tournament time on the Delta. Of the 108 pros who fished the 2007 Elite Series tournament there, nearly half no longer fish the Elites. Of the 93 who fished the 2010 event, nearly 30 percent are gone. Of course, they’ve been backfilled not only by former Westerners like Hawk and Lucas, but also by stout sticks like Jacob Powroznik and Randall Tharp. That means that some of the less talented pros have been replaced by stars, which makes picking even harder.

We don’t know how some of those newcomers will do, so I’m going to lean on anglers who’ve had proven success on the Delta, or who have the attributes — river skills, tidal water expertise — to do so.

The 2007 and 2010 events should be instructive, although they both occurred in mid- to late March rather than the first week of May. That may also influence your choice to focus less heavily on sight fishermen and more on those who excel later in the spring.

Here are my picks for Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing.

Bucket A: Skeet Reese

Skeet Reese, coming off of a win and fishing on his home waters, would seem to be the obvious pick here. I’m sure his ownership percentage would be high anywhere B.A.S.S. traveled, but the Delta has been especially good to him, with a fourth-place finish in 2007 and a runner-up in 2010. When the Bassmaster Tour (the forerunner of the Elites) competed there in 2003, he was fifth. He also had fifth- and 11th-place finishes in Western Invitationals on the Delta.

Normally, I’d shy away from him because of that high ownership percentage, but here it will be diluted sufficiently to allow me to pick him.

The past two winners, John Crews and Aaron Martens, are in his bucket. So is Remitz, who has finished second and 14th on the Delta and is fishing well, along with Westerners Ish Monroe, Dean Rojas, Chris Zaldain and Justin Lucas.

Skeet is the closest thing to a sure thing, so I’m riding the yellow horse for this event.

Bucket B: Greg Hackney

Only two Westerners are in this bucket, Clifford Pirch and Brent Ehrler, both of whom are exceptional fishermen and certainly have experience on the Delta. Also, while many people may think of them as finesse anglers, they both have big-weight wins in grassy water slugfests.

Still, I’m tempted to pick Jacob Powroznik, who has substantial tidal water experience.

Ultimately, however, I’m expecting that Greg Hackney, coming off a most un-Hackneylike 96th-place finish at Guntersville, will revert to form. While he’s not thought of as a tidal water freak, he’s definitely a river rat, and with 10th- and third-place finishes on the Delta, it’s clear he understands how it works.

Bucket C: Brett Hite

There are three Westerners in this bucket — Brett Hite, Josh Bertrand and Byron Velvick — and I’m betting that Hite will Chatterbait the heck out of them. He won an FLW Series tournament on the Delta in 2008, right after winning an FLW Tour event on Toho. Since then, he’s won on Seminole. Think he likes grass?

If that doesn’t convince you, recall that when Hite won on the Delta, his winning margin was more than 20 pounds, as he ended up with 106-11. After a disaster at the Sabine, he came back strong at Guntersville, another grass lake.

This is going to be a slugfest, and he’ll be loaded for bear.

Bucket D: Stephen Browning

The Red River isn’t the only moving water where Browning excels. He came in third on the Delta in 2007 and sixth in 2010, after finishing an average 46th in 2003. After an abomination at Guntersville, he needs to make a move if he’s to qualify for a third straight Classic, unless he wants to take his usual tough route and make it through the Opens.

The former Westerners in this bucket are Gary Klein and James Niggemeyer. Niggemeyer made the Top 12 the last two times B.A.S.S. was here (11th in 2007 and seventh in 2010). He’ll probably have a lower ownership percentage than Browning, but both should be solid value picks.

Bucket E: Jared Lintner

There’s loads of Western talent in this bucket with not only Jared Lintner, but also Brandon Palaniuk, John Murray, Kevin Hawk and Fred Roumbanis, all of whom should siphon off some votes.

Like Browning, Lintner needs to get his season on track after a bomb at the Sabine and claiming the last money spot at Guntersville. There’s nothing like home cooking to get that done, and he’ll have the historical knowledge to mix up a variety of tactics in key areas without wasting time. He struggled a bit in 2010, finishing 60th, but that wasn’t the worst part of his week. His truck and boat were wrecked as he was T-boned on the post-tournament drive from Stockton to Clear Lake. Under more normal, non star-crossed circumstances, he’s done well there in Bassmaster competition, finishing seventh in 2007 and seventh in the 2005 Western Open.

This week’s sign of the apocalypse: I made it through an entire column without mentioning KVD or Ike even once.

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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!”

“Why not?”

“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.”

Tiebreaker:

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.

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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

Total: 1,449

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!

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6 Responses to Front Page

  1. Also would like to thank April Phillips , I received Fantasy Fishing hat and tee shirt. Just in time for Toledo Bend …Buck This is a fun game to play and does not coast , just little time , Thanks to all B.A.S.S. Bass master Owners and Staff Great Job . Buck

  2. when do 2013 season start?

  3. Myer Yanofsky says:

    I live in Canada, Utopia, New Brunswick and I find this is the greatest way to pass the winter fishing….. and can make some money if you pick the right pros…… keep up the good work……

  4. would but can’t find out when it starts.

Comments are closed.