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Pundit picks for St. Clair

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Follow Costanza’s lead

By Pete Robbins

Three decades ago, college basketball star Chris Washburn reportedly received a score of 470 out of a possible 1,600 on the college entrance exam known as the SAT (no confirmation on whether he could spell it). Sports fans were outraged, noting, “You get 400 points just for signing your name.”

“When they told me it didn’t matter what score I was getting, I went in for about 22 minutes,” Washburn said later, referring to the NC State athletic department. “I just marked down [answers] … mark, mark, mark.”

Read the full article here or below.

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Bet big or go home

By Ronnie Moore

The Chesapeake Bay introduced some very tough August fishing to the best anglers in the world at the last stop on the Bassmaster Elite Series trail. Some pros described the fishing as “brutal,” and I bet many Fantasy Fishing players would say the same thing. Picking a great team on the bay was no easy task.

I had ups, but I had some big downs as well. Bill Lowen was a great pick, as he finished second to Aaron Martens, but I also had two anglers finish 88th and worse. My thought going into every event is to build a great team from top to bottom and try to be consistent overall. Most times I try and pick five guys who will make the 50-cut, but for the Plano Bassmaster Elite on Lake St. Clair, I’m pulling out all the stops and taking more risks than I have all season.

Read the full article here or below.

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Pick like you’re 8 years old

By Jesse Heinecke

My 8-year-old whooped me pretty good in the Chesapeake Bay event by picking her favorite anglers. It worked. Maybe that’s what we need to do for St. Clair!

In the last event, I said Evers and momentum; Maggie said Lucas and fairness. Advantage: Fairness.

I said Ike with history and local flavor; Maggie said Palaniuk because she likes him. Advantage: Liking a guy.

Read the full article here or below.

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Toyota wrap-up: Martens earned a perfect score

By Tyler Wade

CECIL COUNTY, Md. — All players of Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing had a chance to earn huge points in the Huk Performance Gear Bassmaster Elite at Chesapeake Bay because all five buckets held a Top 10 finisher. But unless you chose the less popular picks in the buckets, you didn’t get to reap the benefits.

Read the full article here or below.

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Full articles: Pundit picks for St. Clair

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Follow Costanza’s lead

By Pete Robbins

Three decades ago, college basketball star Chris Washburn reportedly received a score of 470 out of a possible 1,600 on the college entrance exam known as the SAT (no confirmation on whether he could spell it). Sports fans were outraged, noting, “You get 400 points just for signing your name.”

“When they told me it didn’t matter what score I was getting, I went in for about 22 minutes,” Washburn said later, referring to the NC State athletic department. “I just marked down [answers] … mark, mark, mark.”

I spent far longer than 22 minutes writing my last Fantasy Fishing column, but my results were truly Washburn-esque. To put it bluntly, I stunk. Like many of you, I chose “sure thing” Mike Iaconelli (never go for the obvious answer on a standardized test; it’s a trap) and he finished 95th. Kevin Short was equally flustered by the Chesapeake’s rivers, and finished even worse at 97th. Tommy Biffle, who I thought would scare away others and grind out a big bag or two, managed to slip into triple digits at 102nd.

The odds of picking three such talented anglers who end up finishing that low in a single event are miniscule. I must really suck.

Given the fact that my picker appears to be off, I’m going to turn to the tool that I use to make all important decisions in life: television, and in particular, mid-1990s sitcoms. I find solace in the words of Jerry Seinfeld here, who advised sad sack George Costanza: “If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.”

George followed that advice, ordering “chicken salad, on rye, untoasted” instead of his normal “tuna on toast.” He then approached a beautiful woman with the opening line of, “My name is George. I’m unemployed and I live with my parents.” Miraculously, she was interested. Later, playing against type, he was brutally honest with George Steinbrenner and got his dream job with the New York Yankees.

Following Costanza’s lead, I am going to resist my instincts this week. Here are my picks:

Bucket A: Powroznik

Wanted to Pick: Martens

Everyone in the world is going to pick Aaron Martens. For the first time in Fantasy Fishing history, an angler may have more than 100 percent of the vote (it’s just a short hop, skip and a jump from Detroit over to Chicago, where Fantasy Fishing fans are known to vote early and often).

And why not? Aaron has been on an historic tear this year, with two wins, a second, a third, and two other finishes in the Top 15. Making picking him even more irresistible, he had the fish to win the last time the Elites visited St. Clair but was done in by a couple of overstressed jackplate bolts. He seems like the obvious choice.

Costanza-like Pick: Powroznik

If Martens is all hyper energy and excitement, driven by organic food and road racing, then Jacob Powroznik is his exact opposite. That’s not to say that he’s not talented — everyone in this bucket is a rock star — it’s just that he’s all broad-shouldered mid-Atlantic gruff to Martens’ Spicoli vibe. We think of Powroznik as a tidal water grinder, but he won last year in Escanaba. He’s superb with his electronics and is a smallmouth world-beater. If he wins, it’ll be a festivus for the rest of us.

Bucket B: Kriet

Wanted to Pick: Bertrand

The clean-cut young man from Arizona is truly coming into his own as an angler, with four straight money finishes including an 11th-place on the St. Lawrence. Josh Bertrand was 26th the last time the Elites visited St. Clair and he loves to drop shot. If he can hold onto his position in the standings, he’ll be in line to qualify for his second Bassmaster Classic.

Costanza-like Pick: Kriet

If Bertrand is the embodiment of Southwestern modernity, then Jeff Kriet is his polar opposite, a gruff, stubbled straight shooter who doesn’t mince words. We don’t think his hair ever had any red like Bertrand’s, but it’s hard to tell among all of the salt and pepper (I can say that because we’re the same age). Unlike Bertrand, he’s missed checks in the last three events he’s fished, and he struggled the last time the Elites fished St. Clair, finishing 68th. He’s a bit closer to being outside the Classic bubble than Bertrand, and surely he’d love to fish one in his home state. His talent is real and it is spectacular.

Bucket C: Monroe

Wanted to Pick: Pipkens

Chad Pipkens needs to fish well at St. Clair if he’s going to rise nine spots into the AOY championship. He couldn’t ask for a better opportunity, as St. Clair was the site of his lone Bassmaster win, at last year’s final Northern Open. He’s finished in the money in the last five Elites he’s fished and looks poised to make it six. A no-brainer like this means that if I pick him I’ll function as a “Cooler” and somehow mess it up for him.

Costanza-like Pick: Monroe

Pipkens has the most distinguishable haircut on tour and Ish Monroe has … no hair. Is that opposite enough for you? If not, maybe this’ll explain my thoughts: I would be inclined to pick him if this derby was on Okeechobee or Falcon or the Cal Delta, but he doesn’t come to mind first on smallmouth waters. He’ll be coming directly from the scorching heat of the Forrest Wood Cup, which would normally be the ultimate reason NOT to pick him, so I’m throwing my instincts down the drain and picking him. After fisticuffs at the first event of the season, he has gradually descended to a point of serenity now.

Bucket D: Klein

Wanted to Pick: Mueller

After a tough start to his Elite Series career, Paul Mueller seems to be getting into a groove, earning checks in the last four Elite tournaments, including a personal-best 21st on the St. Lawrence. Headed to smallmouth country in 85th place overall, at this point he’s fishing for cash and pride, and he needs to end the year on a good note. I would expect him to do much better than the 74th-place finish he earned in last year’s Northern Open on St. Clair.

Costanza-like Pick: Klein

In contrast to Mueller, who is still getting his pro fishing bearings about him, Gary Klein is the ultimate been-there-done-that angler. He was on tour before Mueller was born, didn’t rise up through the B.A.S.S. Nation like Mueller, just left home one day after high school and never looked back. He’s still a student of the game, still learning, but he’s missed the money in his last three Elite events and also missed it the last time the Elites visited St. Clair. To my (new) way of thinking, that means he’s due. He’s back, baby.

Bucket E: Pace

Wanted to Pick: Hartley

Charlie Hartley hasn’t earned a check since Guntersville, but you can bet he’ll be psyched for a derby in smallmouthville, not terribly far from his old stomping grounds on Erie. He struggled in last year’s Open, but he finished 22nd when the Elites visited in 2013. He loves to fish so much, and he treasures every event to the extent that it’s hard not to cheer for him.

Costanza-like Pick: Pace

While Hartley is the ultimate in positive mental attitude and apparent excitement, Cliff Pace is harder to read. Whereas Hartley turned his one day of leading the Classic into a permanent and sizable fan base, Pace followed up his Classic win with a broken leg that prevented him from defending his title. At 94th place in the AOY standings, he’s suffering through an atypically abysmal season that will prevent him from winning a second Classic title at Grand next year — but he’s excellent with a spinning rod and finished 24th here in 2013, so I’m rolling with him. For one more week, he will be the master of his domain.

Those are my picks and I’m (uncomfortably) sticking with them, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Just remember not to trade Jay Buhner for Ken Phelps.

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Bet big or go home

By Ronnie Moore

The Chesapeake Bay introduced some very tough August fishing to the best anglers in the world at the last stop on the Bassmaster Elite Series trail. Some pros described the fishing as “brutal,” and I bet many Fantasy Fishing players would say the same thing. Picking a great team on the bay was no easy task.

I had ups, but I had some big downs as well. Bill Lowen was a great pick, as he finished second to Aaron Martens, but I also had two anglers finish 88th and worse. My thought going into every event is to build a great team from top to bottom and try to be consistent overall. Most times I try and pick five guys who will make the 50-cut, but for the Plano Bassmaster Elite on Lake St. Clair, I’m pulling out all the stops and taking more risks than I have all season.

Instead of conservative and dark horses, I’ll be selling out or using house money anglers.

Bucket A: Lucas

Sell out for: Lucas

Every Elite angler wants to cash a check or even notch a win, but when the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title is dangling oh-so close and almost out of reach, anglers will go the extra mile to try and get it.

Justin Lucas is that angler with almost nothing to lose at this point. He is unofficially in the Classic and needs to close a 69-point AOY gap between Aaron Martens and himself if he wants a shot at the title next month. Lucas should sell out for a big week here because, in reality, who wants to be second?

House money: Martens

The Chesapeake Bay was supposed to be the event where anglers could maybe grab some points back from Martens, but yet he led wire-to-wire and won by almost 8 pounds. Now the Elite Series heads to a body of water that he may have won on in 2013 if not for loose bolts on his boat because of the rough water. It is a realistic possibility for Martens to go back-to-back here now that Edwin Evers showed us weeks ago that it is achievable.

I’ll take Justin Lucas here. I’m hard-pressed to bet against Aaron Martens in a smallmouth tournament, but I could see some risks out of Lucas that could pay off big time. Like I said before, does it matter if you’re second or fourth in Angler of the Year? Lucas wants this one bad.

Bucket B: Swindle

Sell out for: Card, Bertrand

Need to make up points in one of the last events of the season? Roll the dice then and take Brandon Card. The Tennessee angler has had a fantastic season and is on pace to make the Bassmaster Classic. He has shown his abilities on smallmouth waters in recent years, and you certainly could gain some points with his low ownership percentage.

Josh Bertrand isn’t a bad option here as well.

House money: Swindle

You know what you can expect from Gerald Swindle each and every week. Coming off a fourth-place finish, he might be able to keep the ball rolling into another good event. The big question with some of the anglers who are almost clinched for the Classic is if they will risk a long run for the reward of a big bag of bronzebacks. I think Swindle will fish by the seat of his pants because we’ve seen how well he has done that in past years.

I’ll take Swindle on St. Clair.

Bucket C: B. Hite

Sell out for: B. Hite

Brett Hite has quietly climbed out of the early-season hole he was in. He has three finishes worse than 88th, but he also had a third at Kentucky Lake and a 13th at Lake Guntersville. This past week at the Chesapeake, Hite notched a 24th, which gave him a big boost in the standings. Hite is 57th in the AOY standings and only 12 points from making the Top 50. I would regard Hite as being one of the best anglers in pressure situations because he stays very cool and collected. Expect him to have a great event and jump into the AOY Championship on Sturgeon Bay.

House money: Chad Pipkens

I call Pipkens “house money” because there are those anglers who excel when the Elite Series heads North, and he is one of those anglers for sure. With good finishes in the last two events and even a seventh-place finish in the Northern Open on Oneida, Pipkens does well up North. I think Pipkens and many others will head to Lake Erie and take the high-risk, high-reward chance.

I’ll take Brett Hite here.

Bucket D: Remitz

Sell out for: Remitz

If history is on Derek Remitz’s side, he should prosper here. In his last three tournaments on St. Clair or Erie, Remitz has had three Top 25 finishes. That includes the 2013 Elite event on St. Clair, the 2013 Open on Erie and the 2014 Open on St. Clair. He is a low-percentage pick because of some anglers who accompany him in Bucket D.

House money: Mueller, Omori, Wellman

Numerous other pros in Bucket D are proven smallmouth anglers, and it makes the decision complex. Nate Wellman is from Michigan and is a top-notch smallmouth angler, while newcomer Paul Mueller has just as much experience, but in Connecticut on the East Coast. Takahiro Omori is known as a shallow water angler, but this year he has excelled by fishing deep in certain events, with great finishes in the Bassmaster Classic, Lake Havasu and even the last time the Elites fished at St. Clair in 2013.

I’ll gamble on the Wolverine, Derek Remitz.

Bucket E: Kiriyama

Sell out for: Clunn

Rick Clunn collected a 20th-place finish in 2013 here, and I think he can do it again to end his season strong. It’s so difficult to predict who will get their best finish of the season each and every week, but I think Clunn can best his 39th at the St. Lawrence.

House money: Kiriyama

Kotaro Kiriyama won on Lake Erie in 2008 and cashed in with a sixth-place finish in 2013. Kiriyama is a good deep-water finesse angler, and I think he could find his groove on the vast water in Detroit.

I’ll take a chance on Kiriyama to find comfort on St. Clair and Erie.

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Pick like you’re 8 years old

By Jesse Heinecke

My 8-year-old whooped me pretty good in the Chesapeake Bay event by picking her favorite anglers. It worked. Maybe that’s what we need to do for St. Clair!

In the last event, I said Evers and momentum; Maggie said Lucas and fairness. Advantage: Fairness.

I said Ike with history and local flavor; Maggie said Palaniuk because she likes him. Advantage: Liking a guy.

I said Rook with history and consistency; Maggie said Shimizu because you can’t help but pull for the guy and his million-dollar laugh. Advantage: Big Mama.

I said Pipkens with consistency plus momentum; Maggie agreed. Draw.

Maggie said pick the Aussie because he is fun to listen to, while I said K-Pink who will be fishing free and easy with no pressure. Advantage: Accent.

When the dust settled, she had smoked me 1,159 points to my paltry 859. Lesson: Sometimes, you should listen to the kids. Sometimes the numbers mean nothing. The stats are merely history and not a predictor of things to come.

Either way, what my family and I have developed this season is a stronger following for some great guys and the joy of following the sport that others may not understand. If Maggie looks at me and says “Big Mama” in the Morizo voice or Sam catches a fish and screams “never give up!,” some people might think we are nuts. But we love it.

So, along with my children’s insights, here are my picks for Lake St. Clair:

Bucket A: Powroznik

If you are protecting a lead while still trying to move forward, there is no way anyone could fault you for an Aaron Martens pick right now. I am surprised he is only at 35 percent at the time of this writing.

Kevin VanDam is second at 24 percent, and as a fan favorite and local, it would be hard to argue against a pick for him.

Because I am in the Top 5 percent but still a mile back of the Top 25 leaders in Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing, I am going with Jacob Powroznik. He has a relatively low ownership at 4 percent, and he is comfortable chasing smallmouth bass. I fully expect him to make a run at the Top 12 and possibly have a Bassmaster LIVE camera in his boat on Days 3 and 4. If he manages to do that, I’ll surpass most of the players in Bucket A.

Maggie is taking Edwin Evers. Sam was leaning toward Martens, but he settled on VanDam.

Bucket B: Shimizu

Chris Lane won here last time, but I am not sure if his pattern will produce again. Still, he is a solid pick. Mark Davis and Josh Bertrand are also solid values.

I am going to take the guy who I really want to pull for and who I also think has a legitimate shot at winning or at least finishing in the Top 12. My family is made up of Morizo Shimizu fans, and I also like the value he brings with momentum, history and only 7 percent of the field picking him.

Maggie is also sticking with Shimizu. Sam wants Ott DeFoe in this one.

Bucket C: Pipkens

Young up-and-comers — Jonathon VanDam, Chad Pipkens and Seth Feider — with smallmouth wisdom and experience beyond their years are in Bucket C. Wily veterans like Mike Iaconelli, Todd Faircloth and Shaw Grigsby are also in here. With the percentages scattered, it seems others are not sure which way to go either.

I will side with momentum and knowledge and take Chad Pipkens. This is possibly the biggest no-brainer in the all the buckets. I am confident with Pipkens.

Faircloth would be a dark horse at this time, but he is a favorite of mine and he is fishing better as of late.

Maggie says: “I’m taking Chad.” Sam said he would take Ike.

Bucket D: Kreiger

This bucket has anglers with smallmouth knowledge from Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota (originally) and Connecticut. So what am I going to do?

I am going with Florida angler Koby Kreiger. He has a history of success on this water. Not many people even realize that, but I’m not afraid to tell you my real picks.

Other good options, in order, are Fletcher Shryock, Takahiro Omori, Carl Jocumsen and Nate Wellman.

Maggie initially took Randall Tharp but then scanned down farther and said, “No, make that Carl,” referring to Carl Jocumsen. Sam says Casey Ashley is a safe pick here.

Bucket E: Clunn

I did the most head-scratching in this bucket. I looked at the numbers. I looked at the history. I looked at the favorites.

I picked Kotaro Kiriyama until I looked at the momentum — back-to-back 105th- and 106th-place finishes. He has a history of success on this body of water, but something is just not adding up here.

Instead, I am taking my daughters advice, and it looks like Rick Clunn deserves my pick. He has had an off year by anyone’s standards, but his history speaks for itself.

Kevin Hawk and Cliff Prince may be good options as well; they may have the best chance to turn things around and cash a check.

Maggie is going with Hawk, and Sam is going with the crowd and taking Cliff Pace.

Best of luck to you, and if you are not watching Bassmaster LIVE during the events, you are missing out.

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Toyota wrap-up: Martens earned a perfect score

By Tyler Wade

CECIL COUNTY, Md. — All players of Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing had a chance to earn huge points in the Huk Performance Gear Bassmaster Elite at Chesapeake Bay because all five buckets held a Top 10 finisher. But unless you chose the less popular picks in the buckets, you didn’t get to reap the benefits.

Here’s the perfect team:

Bucket A: Aaron Martens, 400 points

B: Bill Lowen, 295

C: Davy Hite, 280

D: Chad Pipkens, 290

E: Carl Jocumsen, 260

Total: 1,525

No one got a score even within 150 points of that.

Bucket A: Martens

Aaron Martens dominated the tournament, but you know what else he dominated? Fantasy Fishing.

And by “dominate,” we mean he beat up on everybody else for the whole season. He not only got the 300 points for winning, he also got every single Fantasy Fishing bonus point available — a feat no angler has achieved in this season or even last season.

Martens got 5 points for each day he led, so that’s 20. He also got the 40-point big bag and 40-point big bass bonuses. That’s 100 extra points for the smart people who picked him.

For the 13.5 percent of players who chose him, he earned 400 points. Four hundred! Incredible. Good move, Martens owners.

But you poor souls who chose anyone else … you’re at least 124 points behind all the Martens pickers. Bernie Schultz was the closest Bucket A angler to Martens with 276 points. He was chosen by 0.2 percent of players. Greg Hackney was the next-closest with 268 points for his 11.9 percent of owners.

The most popular pick of the bucket was Jacob Powroznik with 22.6 percent of the vote. But his zero on Day 2 hurt him and his players, big time. He made a solid recovery on Day 3, earning a total of 233 points for his fans.

The worst pick of the bucket was Micah Frazier with 73 points, but his ownership was so low, it registered at zero percent.

Bucket B: Lowen

Bill Lowen was the star of Bucket B, and he was also the star on the morning of Day 4. He made a huge charge for the win, and it looked like he was going to pull it out. But in the end, he finished in second place. His 2.5 percent of owners got 295 points.

Right behind him were Gerald Swindle with 1.7 percent of the vote and 285 points, and Russ Lane, 0.3 percent, 272 points.

The most popular pick of the bucket was Mike Iaconelli by far, at 55.7 percent. But wow, what a catastrophic Day 1 he had. He caught nothing all day, leaving his huge base of owners panicking that they would walk away with zero points. However, on Day 2, he caught a couple, jumping that 0 up to 85.

Still, that’s a 200-point overall loss for most of the players in this bucket. If your angler came in anywhere ahead of Iaconelli, you made up good ground.

The worst pick of the bucket was Shaw Grigsby with 61 points for his 1.4 percent of owners.

Bucket C: Hite

Davy Hite made a charge for the win on the final day and pleased his small group of believers — 1.7 percent — with 280 points.

Not far behind him were Mark Menendez, 1.3 percent, 264 points; Brent Chapman, 5.1 percent, 257; and Andy Montgomery, 11.6 percent, 254.

The favorite of the bucket was also the worst pick: Tommy Biffle. The 20.2 percent who were counting on his flipping skills ended with 71 points. The second-favorite was Jonathon VanDam at 16.3 percent, with 89 points.

Bucket D: Pipkens

Chad Pipkens was the best pick in Bucket D with 290 points for his 2.9 percent of followers.

He beat the next-best angler, Bradley Roy, by nearly 50 points. Only 0.2 percent owned Roy, and those players got 243 points.

The favorite in the bucket turned out not to be a good pick at all. Casey Ashley was the highest pick with 19.0 percent of owners, but he ended nearly 200 points behind Pipkens with 95 points.

The second-favorite pick was Todd Faircloth at 18.4 percent. He earned good numbers for his fans with 241 — still a good bit behind Pipkens, but far ahead of most other players.

The worst pick of D was Kotaro Kiriyama at 0.4 percent with 64 points.

Bucket E: Jocumsen

Australia’s favorite angler, Carl Jocumsen, did the best in Bucket E. Only 1.1 percent of players got to enjoy the fruits of his labor, but his small army earned 260 points.

The closest angler behind him was JTodd Tucker, 4.3 percent, with 221 points.

The favorite of the bucket was Paul Mueller with 37.1 percent. With 37.1 percent of the vote, he earned 183 points.

The worst pick of E was Kevin Ledoux — who, just two weeks ago, was tied for the best pick overall — with 64 points. He was owned by 2.2 percent of players.

The buckets for St. Clair are now open, so go set your team!

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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.