Fantasy buckets for BASSfest on Lake Texoma are open!
Read the articles below to help make your selections.
Bank on a storybook ending, by Pete Robbins
Pick offshore specialists for BASSfest, by Kevin Hawk
Go with momentum and local flavor, by Thomas Allen
Think “deep thinkers” on Lake Texoma, by Ronnie Moore
Finish strong with strong finishers, by Coy Greathouse
Bank on a Storybook Ending
By Pete Robbins
Wow, what an Elite Series season it has been so far! Every 2016 tournament winner has in some way been a sentimental favorite, a throwback to history or a shout out to the future. More than any other year I can remember, this has been one where the yearbook will need to contain some extra pages.
After watching Rick Clunn, Britt Myers, Randall Tharp, Takahiro Omori and Kevin VanDam hoist their trophies, I really don’t know how you could have written a better story, (although I’m sure that a hundred-plus Elite Series pros might disagree). In order to make it even more compelling and more unbelievable, you’d have to have Roland Martin, Shorty Evans, Emmanuel Lewis, Ryan Leaf and Sidd Finch in your brackets. Alas, I could not find them in mine, so I’ll have to go with more conventional choices.
B.A.S.S. does not have much recent history on Texoma. There were three Central Opens on the Texas-Oklahoma border lake in 2007, 2008 and 2010, but comparatively few of the current Elite Series pros fished them, and even fewer did well. The winners were Brian Clark, Terry Butcher and Mike Pharr, none of whom fish the Elite Series today. If you go back to the last B.A.S.S. event there before that trio, it took place in 1998, when Jordan Lee was still carrying a lunchbox and watching Saturday morning cartoons.
I’m making my picks with an eye toward who’s fishing well and likely to adapt, but also with the hope that these storybook endings will continue.
BUCKET A: COMBS
I said it before Toledo Bend and I’ll say it again. The old saying is right: “Don’t mess with (Keith Combs in) Texas!” While he’s hit one or two speed bumps along the way, his record in his home state is truly amazing. While we think of him as being deadly on east Texas lakes like Rayburn and Toledo, and south Texas lakes like Falcon and Amistad, he’s an assassin any time the water smells of Shiner Bock. He finished third here in 2010, 12th in 2008, and has multiple top finishes at Texoma with FLW. If you want a longshot, bet on him to fail. If you like safe bets, bet on him to excel.
I almost picked Jason Christie, who finished 17th here in 2007, and he is also semi-local. More importantly, he’s a winner, and after at least one B.A.S.S. win every year from 2012 through 2014, he’s gone winless since Dardanelle in May of 2014. He’ll change that soon.
BUCKET B: BROWNING
Like Christie and Combs, Stephen Browning is a proven winner. Right now, he’s inside the Classic bubble in 28th, but previously he made Classics by winning two Opens at the Red River. That route to the big dance isn’t available, but I’d be surprised if he doesn’t make the Classic after missing it in 2016. He’s one of those sneaky-good anglers who makes it almost all the time – four of the last six – and he’ll need to feast on some relative home cooking (Texoma is only about four hours from his Arkansas residence) before heading north. He finished 10th at Texoma in 1998, and while that’s a long way back, it shows that he gets how the game is played here.
I was tempted to pick Brent Chapman, another Classic bubble boy who did well here in ’98, or KVD, who tends to win in streaks, but the latter’s ownership percentage is going to be too high for my comfort.
BUCKET C: FAIRCLOTH
I’ve had numerous Fantasy Fishing fans come to me in the past week and say that just when they finally gave up on KVD, he burned them and won. I picked Todd Faircloth at Toledo Bend, where there was every reason to believe that he’d be a hammer, and he just missed the money. That comes on the heels of a horrific 88th place finish at Wheeler. Right now he’s 48th in the AOY standings, but if you’ll remember last year he made an incredible late-season surge. He’ll do the same this year, and it will start on the northern edge of his home state. I can’t abandon him now and you can bet that tears will flow if he wins.
It was tough for me not to pick Tommy Biffle for this one, as it is every time we play this game. While his limited B.A.S.S. finishes on Texoma have been poor, he’s due to win after going three years without one, an extra-long streak for one of the greatest winners in Elite Series history. It wouldn’t be a comeback of Clunn proportions, but it would show once again that the old guard is still a threat.
BUCKET D: KRIET
How do you solve a mystery like Jeff Kriet? I’ve been in the boat with dozens of Elite Series pros, and few have impressed me with their understanding of the game like Kriet. If firing on all cylinders, he should be in the Classic every year, yet he hasn’t been there since 2012. He earned the lone win of his B.A.S.S. career on Texoma in 1998, and there would be no place better to get things truly back on track than his home waters. In a season full of inspirational wins, it might be the best of them all.
Billy McCaghren is another angler whose personality gets in the way of us understanding his talents. It’s not that he’s ornery or difficult, just quiet. To borrow Don Barone’s words, “a working stiff.” After four straight misses, he needs a check – and a good one, at that – to get back on track to fish consecutive Classics for the first time in his career.
BUCKET E: CLAUSEN
There are lots of proven sticks in Bucket E – guys like John Murray, Chad Morgenthaler and David Walker who’ve shown an ability to win but who generally haven’t performed up to their abilities this year. Luke Clausen is a proven winner who has gotten smoked so far on the Elite Series, with four straight finishes of 82nd or worse. Of course, the horrible finish at Wheeler is attributable to being disqualified, and while I have no need to go into the “what ifs” of that situation, I have to rely on the fact that at some point he’s going to break out of the slump and demonstrate the talent that has made him one of the few pros to win both the Bassmaster Classic and the Forrest Wood Cup. If he were to win, it might explode the bass blogosphere with stories of redemption and theories of conspiracy.
We’ve seen rookies like Derek Remitz and Casey Ashley earn victories in the past, but it might be the hardest feat the sport has to offer. Obviously, Bucket E has a lot of rookies. Some of them are cannon fodder while others will go onto long careers in the sport. If Jay Brainard wants to fall into the latter category, and I’m sure he does, he’ll need to get the ball rolling in his home state but his record wasn’t quite lengthy enough for me to pick him.
Pick offshore specialists for BASSfest
By Kevin Hawk
As a former Elite Series angler I thought I’d have no problem assembling strong Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing rosters this year, because I feel I know most of the Elite Series anglers strengths and weaknesses better than most. I’d almost consider it inside information. Well, I was wrong. I’ve only had one strong roster (Bull Shoals) so far this year. Every other event has been a disaster. I’m not giving up though, especially as we get ready for BASSfest on Lake Texoma.
Lake Texoma is a massive man-made reservoir on the Texas/Oklahoma border, and most of the Elite Series field will be idling and graphing offshore in search of postspawn bass. While there’ll be anglers who find shallow-water patterns, like flipping vegetation (if the water level is up) and boat docks, the winner and most of the Top 12 will be focused out deep.
The entire Elite field has experience fishing offshore, but there are certain anglers who are better at it than others. I’m picking anglers who I feel specialize in offshore fishing — the ones who will gladly idle and graph from daylight to dark for three practice days in a row knowing that’s what it will take to find the winning school(s).
BUCKET A: COMBS
I don’t know of any angler in the field, except for maybe KVD, who has as much confidence in their deep-cranking skills as Keith Combs does. He’s coming off a fourth-place finish on Toledo Bend where he used a Strike King 6XD and 10XD to catch postspawn largemouth. He’ll be fishing the same pattern on Texoma in June.
I also like that Combs pre-fishes most of the events prior to off-limits. He made a trip to Toledo Bend prior to the cut-off to look for areas that should be holding fish during the tournament and I’m sure he did the same at Texoma.
Seriously considered: Takahiro Omori
Omori is an accomplished deep-water angler who already has a win this year fishing for offshore postspawn bass. I expect him to be hunting hard bottom areas and schools of postspawn bass on Texoma, just like he did at Wheeler.
BUCKET B: K. VANDAM
Kevin VanDam has won back-to-back Elite events before, and I could easily see him doing it again. He has both confidence and momentum coming into Texoma after his win on Toledo Bend last week, and he’ll be catching them the way he likes best — deep cranking.
I realize KVD might be the obvious pick in Bucket B, but he may be so obvious that Fantasy Fishing players intentionally leave him off their roster. Not me.
Seriously considered: Brent Chapman
After two Top-5 tournaments to open the year Chapman has struggled the last three events. I however, see a lot of similarities between Lake Texoma and Toledo Bend, where Chapman won in 2012, and had a good finish in 2014. I know he didn’t fish well on the Bend last week, but I still feel he has the offshore skills required to make the Top 12 on Texoma.
BUCKET C: FRAZIER
Micah Frazier is an angler that’s not going to be on many Fantasy Fishing rosters at this event, but he should be. Even though he doesn’t carry the name recognition of Skeet Reese or Dean Rojas, Frazier is a talented and experienced angler who fished the FLW Tour for several years before qualifying for the Elites.
Frazier has a strong offshore fishing skill-set with experience on big water. He’s spent many days fishing the Tennessee River chain, and while Texoma sets up differently than the lakes on the TVA chain, he’s acquired the offshore dedication it will take to be successful here.
Seriously considered: Josh Bertrand
Bertrand started fishing the Elite Series in 2013 and he has proven he belongs by qualifying for two Classics — not to mention finishing in the Top-50 in half of the events he’s entered. Coming from Arizona, Bertrand has spent a lot of time fishing offshore and is well-rounded with the techniques that I think will be effective on Texoma, like throwing weighted swimbaits, deep-diving crankbaits, and dragging football jigs.
BUCEKT D: HORTON
Like Combs and KVD, Timmy Horton is another deep-cranking specialist who loves to fish offshore. I know he hasn’t fished very well this year, but his strengths give him an advantage on Lake Texoma in early June. If he’s able to find the quality school(s) of fish needed to compete, he can certainly catch them.
Seriously considered: Brandon Card
Card is an offshore specialist who loves to fish deep. He’s spent considerable time fishing places like Douglas and Kentucky lakes during the summer months. Not only does he know how and where to search for offshore bass, but he has the ability to catch them as well.
BUCKET E: MORGENTHALER
There’s no rule against picking an angler twice in a row, so I’m picking Chad Morgenthaler again. I know he’s best known for his shallow grass fishing skills, but he has the ability to find and catch them out deep as well. I feel he’ll use the same approach as he did on Toledo Bend — sticking to one area of the lake for the entire practice and figure out how best to catch those fish. By staying committed to one area of the lake he won’t be running all over Texoma’s massive 89,000 surface acres, which means he’ll have more time to find the fish it will take to compete.
Seriously considered: Paul Elias
I know Elias is currently in last place in the AOY race, but he’s proven his offshore prowess when he cranked and Carolina rigged his way to the podium on Lake Falcon in 2008. With more tournament experience than any angler in Bucket E, Elias might surprise some Fantasy Fishing players with a Top-12 performance.
Go with momentum and local flavor
By Thomas Allen
I’d love to tell you that I had a good showing at Toledo Bend, but to remain consistent with my season thus far, my picks tanked. I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record … scratch that, I AM a broken record that is titled “Woe was me”. Want to join the pity party?
Nah. I’m not loosing any sleep over it, but I do plan on turning things around at the Texas/Oklahoma border reservoir, Lake Texoma.
What makes this event difficult is lack of recent history on the lake. There really isn’t much to go on, which will make the end result very interesting. I’m inclined to go along with Pete Robbins’ insight about this being another storybook ending.
I’m throwing out all statistical logic, and I’m making my selections based on living proximity and season momentum. Like I said before, I can really only go up from here.
BUCKET A: SWINDLE
Gerald Swindle is one of bass fishing’s favorite personalities, and that often overshadows his world-class ability to catch bass across the nation. He’s having a solid year, and I don’t think you’d find many fans, pundits or critics who wouldn’t like to see the G-Man take one home. He’s making a very strong showing in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year race, and is way overdue for a title. Not only do I want him to win, I think he’s got a great chance to build on his momentum and climb the AOY leaderboard.
Dark Horse: Matt Herren just won the annual Toyota Texas Bass Classic. And, he’s done well in every Elite Series event this year; he is probably the most underrated stick in Bucket A. Herren will finish strong here, especially because he seems to excel in unfamiliar bodies of water.
A pair of Alabama boys in Bucket A for me.
BUCKET B: JORDON
I have no idea if Kelly Jordon of Flint, Texas, has even seen Lake Texoma before. But, he doesn’t’ live too terribly far from the lake, and he’s coming into this event in 25th place in the AOY race. He’s not way inside the Classic-bid bubble, but he’s having a solid year and looking to build on his AOY standing. It’s been a while since the veteran has won an event, and he’s certainly capable of doing so at Texoma.
Dark Horse: Stephen Browning is not only one of the nicest guys on tour, he’s a consistent angler who’s due a big win. Remember the storybook ending that Robbins mentioned? This could be the guy who makes that happen — wouldn’t’ surprise me in the slightest.
BUCKET C: FAIRCLOTH
Todd Faircloth is the kind of angler who will get my support in Fantasy Fishing nearly every time. He’s had an uncharacteristically difficult season, but he’s known for making checks and ending his season on a high note. He needs a good showing at this event, and with little history on this lake, like Herren, he also excels on unfamiliar bodies of water that might be a little extra difficult. Texoma is high and dirty, which could be a perfect combination for the Jasper, Texas, resident.
Dark Horse: Josh Bertrand is really coming into his own as a Bassmaster Elite Series pro. I think he’s fished very well this season, and he is due to crack one of these events wide open for his first major victory. One of the classiest guys on tour could make a big name for himself at Texoma.
BUCKET D: KRIET
This is an easy pick for me. Jeff Kriet of Ardmore, Okla., lives right up the road, and is easily one of the most underrated sticks on the tour. Just like most of my other selections, he’s due for a good showing. This would be the best storybook ending possible at Texoma. Not only and am I confident in Kriet, I’m also rooting for him.
Dark Horse: Mark Davis is a veteran in this game, and he’s the kind of pro angler who could show up at any tournament and win. He’s been pretty quiet over the past few years, but the Old Guard is still very strong in a pool of young, hot sticks. Davis could shock them all at this tournament.
BUCKET E: MORGENTHALER
I’ve had Chad Morgenthaler selected more than once this year only to swap him out with a different choice before the event took place. Each time, it bit me. Not this time. I think he’s underrated this year and in the wrong bucket, which makes choosing him an easy decision. I bet he rights his ship at this tournament and surprises the field.
Dark Horse: Matt Lee is a very talented, young bass angler, and finding him in Bucket E is uncharacteristic. He knows that the time to change his luck will be at Lake Texoma.
Think “deep thinkers” on Texoma
By Ronnie Moore
Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing can be a fickle game at times, a game that isn’t for the feint of heart. Some days are up, some are down — and some are up and down at the same time. With two of my selections at Toledo Bend in the Top 12 and two that placed below 90th, this accurately sums up my season. Ish Monroe and Tommy Biffle were the stars of my team on The Bend.
Lake Texoma should be dominated deep, and that is where I’m placing all of my confidence. The high water level is a concern for all the field, but those who are proficient with a big worm or deep-diving crankbait. Numerous anglers took advantage of the week between Wheeler and Toledo Bend to pre-practice on Texoma, but with the water over seven feet above full pool, they will see a different lake a couple weeks from now.
As of this writing, the water has dropped only a foot. That fact alone makes me shy away from the anglers who will be depending on a shallow bite.
BUCKET A: COMBS
Safe Bet: Keith Combs
With the water dropping to just above full pool, those fish that were shallow will have pulled off into deeper water in the coming weeks. Who better to find and catch deep schools of bass? Combs is one of the best in the game under those conditions.
Worth a Risk: Edwin Evers
Evers fished his first Top 12 of the regular season at Toledo Bend, and I think he is on track for another good showing just several hours northwest of the Bend at Lake Texoma. I bet he finds four days of solid limits offshore.
Gut tells me: Combs
I need a good finish in Bucket A, (yes I’m still snake-bitten in Bucket A) so Combs is the safest bet I can think of.
BUCKET B: K. VANDAM
Safe Bet: Kevin VanDam
KVD has to be feeling good after an exciting win at Toledo Bend. Every year someone catches fire during the summer months, and patterns the fish from lake to lake — I bet VanDam does just that at Texoma.
Worth a Risk: Brent Ehrler
I’ve never been to Lake Texoma, but there aren’t many lakes where I don’t trust Ehrler to do well on. From what I’ve heard Texoma can fish small, especially offshore, but I know crowds of anglers won’t shake Ehrler. I personally believe the time for Ehrler to hoist a trophy above his head is very near.
Gut tells me: VanDam
Over 80 percent of fantasy fishing players could pick KVD and I still wouldn’t care. This is that one time of the year when I’ll pick with my heart and disregard ownership percentage. VanDam, crankbaits and Texoma sound good to me.
BUCKET C: BERTRAND
Safe Bet: Adrian Avena
It seems that in his first five tournaments on the Elite Series, Adrian Avena is still finding himself and adjusting to the competition during his rookie season. He has two Top 20’s this year, one finish in the mid-50’s and two worse than 80th. One thing is for sure: Avena puts in the work needed during practice. He’s not shy about practicing daylight to dark, which will pay off big time for him going forward.
Worth a Risk: Josh Bertrand
Arizona angler Josh Bertrand seems to be chomping at the bit for the deep-water summer events. Deep water seems to be his specialty, and I think that will play BASSFest.
Gut tells me: Bertrand
Both Avena and Bertrand have a low ownership percentage at the moment, so I’m fine with both anglers in this situation. I am going with Bertrand because of his overwhelming excitement for fishing deep over the next few months, plus he’s on the rise and really settling in as a pro.
BUCKET D: KRIET
Safe Bet: Jeff Kriet
Jeff Kriet knows Texoma well, and lives just up the road in Ardmore, Oklahoma. You can’t get much safer than an angler who likes to fish deep on a lake that should setup to his strengths.
Worth a Risk: Tim Horton
Fishing offshore is Timmy Horton’s deal. Numerous people have said it before, but his ability to catch multiple fish on a crankbait continually impresses me. I bet that he will take advantage of a good offshore bite and finish strong. There is no doubt that he is one of the best when it comes to scanning deep water with his electronics. It’s only a matter of time until he puts it together deep this year.
Gut tells me: Kriet
Kriet knows this tournament is big for the rest of his season. He will show up and do well at this event.
BUCKET E: PIPKENS
Safe Bet: Chad Pipkens
There is something about Chad Pipkens and late season success that makes him a great pick from here on out. Last season Pipkens made a charge to qualify for the Classic after a slow start. It’ll be hard to dig his way out of the hole this year, but you’ve got to start somewhere, and Texoma will setup in his favor.
Worth a Risk: Matt Lee
Matt Lee did pretty well at Toledo Bend. Good mojo can go a long ways for an angler’s confidence, and although most anglers in Bucket E are “struggling,” someone does well in this bucket at every event. Why not the eldest Lee?
Gut tells me: Pipkens
This was a coin flip because both guys are in a similar situation this year, but they each have the ability to do well at Texoma.
Finish strong with strong finishers
By Coy Greathouse
When I set out to take on all of you Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing players out there, I had every intention of wreckin’ shop like I have in past years. Except this year, I’m the one on the bottom.
However, I can say that I finally pulled out a tournament with more than 1 angler in the top 50! Since we were short on time between events, there wasn’t enough room to squeeze in my picks, but my team and there finishes were as follows:
Bucket A: Chris Zaldain – 67th, 141 points
B: Todd Faircloth – 57th, 161
C: Skeet Reese – 31st, 213
D: Tommy Biffle – 9th 264
E: David Walker – 100th, 75
Total: 854 points
I gave myself a little bit of freedom with my picks, and I decided I would see how changing at every whim panned out for me. I have to say, I posted the best score of the season … which is pitiful. I made some good gut choices and some bad ones. I had KVD for a short stent, which would have helped by almost 150 points. I felt really strongly about Todd Faircloth and David Walker because they are absolute studs when it comes to postspawn and grass. How they didn’t do better, I’ll never know
So here’s where we stand: (It hurts to even share it with you, but for the sake of science, I will.) I am currently in a cool 26,100th place and around 11.7 percent.
Moving forward, I think I need to do two things. First, from a season standpoint, just like any tournament angler who might find himself near the bottom, I need to pick myself up by the britches and try to hammer out a solid finish.
Like my buddy Sean Devos said on the Facebook page, it might be time to bust out the dartboard and start throwing darts at anglers’ names. While it is painfully obvious that going solely on history doesn’t work, I can’t think of a better way to choose my picks. I am going to continue to narrow it down to the 10 to 15 anglers who historically and technically have the best chance, and then choose based on my gut. Very few of these anglers have any recorded history on Texoma, so I’m basing this more off of techniques than anything.
BUCKET A: HOWELL
Initial Pick: Keith Combs
Second Guess: Randy Howell
When I think of Texoma, I think of rocky, deep and mostly clear, however there is a ton of shallow, dirty water to be found the further from the dam you get. It is definitely going to be 95-percent postspawn, and I think topwater prowess and deep, slow-moving lures will come into play.
When I think postspawn, I immediately think of Combs. His ability to find transition spots is unreal. He typically shines in dirty water, so if he can find a concentration moving out like he did at Toledo Bend, he’ll have a shot.
Howell is almost guaranteed to have a crankbait rod in his hand, cranking rocks. I could see this being a similar technique to his prespawn cranking spot in the Guntersville Classic. Both of these guys have some momentum this season, minus Howell’s 73rd-place finish at Toledo Bend. I have to give the edge to Howell though.
BUCKET B: EHRLER
Initial Pick: Brent Ehrler
Second Guess: Cliff Pace, Ott Defoe
I really see two tournaments happening here. There are lots of 2- to 3-pound largemouth and some really nice 4-to 5-pound smallmouth bass down on the south end of the lake, but there are a lot more 3- to 4-pound largemouth further up the lake. It will be a battle of the mixed bag verses a largemouth limit caught further up the lake. A 15 to 16-pound bag should play well here. In fact, I think if one can manage 14 pounds per day, an angler should finish in the top 30.
With the stout population of sizable smallies on the lower end, I’m going to call on my clear-water fellas to make it happen. I think Cliff Pace could make a run at this one. Climbing jigs around rocks and throwing a jerkbait will be right in his wheelhouse. I also think Ott Defoe could make a showing too.
Brent Ehrler is an absolute hammer when it comes to clear water and finesse. I am confident he will show up. I have to stand by my gut and give this bucket to Ehrler.
BUCKET C: BIFFLE
Initial Pick: Mike McClelland
Second Guess: Josh Bertrand
Deep rock and jigs = McClelland. If he can find bass doing that, I guarantee he’ll end up in the money.
I think an overlooked angler will be Josh Bertrand. When you get access to some clear water and have smallmouth in the picture, Josh Bertrand shines. He’s another one of those that my gut twists a little harder when my mouse scrolls over his name.
Tommy Biffle is one other one who is riding some pretty sweet momentum here. I picked him at Toledo Bend and he did me proud! He could get that ole Biffle Bug out and go to work on these clear-water bass. I have to go with his momentum on this one.
BUCKET D: M. DAVIS
Initial Pick: Mark Davis
Second Guess: Jeff Kriet
There are almost zero picks in this bucket that can compare to Mark Davis. He is a well rounded postspawn master who can do it all. I have leaned on him once this season and it didn’t pan out. However, this is too far into his wheelhouse for him not do well at this event.
If I were to give someone else the nod in this bucket, it would be Kriet. I nearly picked him at Toledo Bend, which would have cost me a few spots, but I think this lake sets up well for Kriet’s style.
BUCKET E: SCHULTZ
Initial Pick: Bernie Schultz
Second Guess: David Walker
Bucket E has been extremely tough for me this year… but then again, so have A, B, C and D. When I think of Floridian, Bernie Schultz, I immediately think of shallow-water flipping. However, he has proven that he can flat-out catch bass in a clear-water situation. I expect he’ll stay near the dam and try to find the big smallmouth.
The big pick in this bucket is David Walker. After his tough tournament last week, I am surprised to see he is owned by 51 percent at this point. I know how good of an angler he is, and I’m sure he will pull his season together. This needs to be his season’s turning point. I’m going to go against the masses though and stick with Schultz on this one.
There’s really no chance for me to make it back to a top 50 percent at this point, but I’m sure going to try my best. Here’s to a better second half of the season!
KVD was the best pick at Toledo Bend
By Thomas Allen
MANY, La. — Ranked as America’s top bass lake in 2015 by Bassmaster magazine, the ARE Truck Caps Bassmaster Elite at Toledo Bend didn’t disappoint. Between the Bassmaster Classic and the first four Elite Series events of 2016, there have been a total of 38 20-pound bags weighed-in, but at Toledo Bend alone there were 35 limits brought to the scales that exceeded 20 pounds.
It was assumed that the tournament would be a slugfest, and that the anglers who excel with traditional postspawn bass tactics would be solid picks for Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing players.
Be it a surprise or not, legendary Kalamazoo, Mich., angler Kevin VanDam went wire-to-wire for his first victory since the 2011 GEICO Bassmaster Classic. Toledo Bend is a lake renowned for giant bass that love to eat big crankbaits, which really set up perfectly for VanDam —and he capitalized with dominance, and was the best Fantasy selection.
While nobody had a perfect roster, the best one for this event was set by “choochoo1159” who earned 1,428 points, ranked 7,304th and in the 75.3 percentile.
Bucket A: Hank Cherry, 276 points
B: Aaron Martens, 243
C: Kevin VanDam, 360
D: Chris Lane, 295
E: Morizo Shimizu, 254
The current No. 1 ranked Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing player following Toledo Bend is “camo21” with a total of 5,962 points.
“camo21’s” picks for Toledo Bend:
Bucket A: Gerald Swindle, 207 points
B: Aaron Martens, 243
C: Kevin VanDam, 360
D: Chris Lane, 295
E: Matt Lee, 179
Toledo Bend’s perfect team:
Bucket A: Keith Combs, 285 points
B: Ish Monroe, 290
C: Kevin VanDam, 360
D: Chris Lane, 295
E: Paul Mueller, 280
BUCKET A: COMBS
Keith Combs held the second most support in this bucket with 8.1-percent ownership, which paid out 285 points due to a solid fourth-place finish. After a strong showing, Combs is now holding down the eighth place in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year race.
Second-best choice: Hank Cherry had a tremendous tournament that bumped him into fourth place in AOY. He finished in sixth place at Toledo Bend earning his 0.2-percent ownership 276 points
Worst choice: Brent Chapman endured an uncharacteristic finish of 85th place, which was the least productive selection in Bucket A. Despite having won on Toledo Bend in 2012, he produced only 105 points for his 2.3-percent ownership.
BUCKET B: MONROE
Ish Monroe came to Many, La., with only 1.9-percent ownership in Bucket B, but he managed to finish in third place earning his fans 290 points.
Second-best choice: Edwin Evers earned his 5.7-percent ownership 260 points with a 10th-place finish.
Worst choice: Cliff Prince owned 0.3 percent of the bucket, but ended up finishing the tournament in 99th place earning his ownership only 77 points.
BUCKET C: VANDAM
Those who have been consistently betting on Kevin VanDam to make a dramatic comeback were finally rewarded with a win and 360 points. The legendary angler captured his 21st victory after several difficult seasons. He had the strongest ownership in Bucket C with 18 percent.
Second-best choice: Brett Hite earned his 4.2-percent ownership 272 points after finishing the event in seventh place.
Worst choice: Carl Jocumsen was the lowest-scoring angler in this bucket after finishing in an uncharacteristic 108th place earning his 1.6-percent ownership only 59 points.
BUCKET D: C. LANE
Chris Lane turned his struggling season around at this event. He came into Toledo Bend dominating Bucket D with 59.9-percent ownership and after all was said and done, he earned his supporters 295 points after a solid second-place finish.
Second-best choice: Tommy Biffle finished in ninth place earning his 4.3-percent ownership 264 points.
Worst choice: Randy Allen finished near the bottom at 107th place earning his 2.5-percent ownership only 61 points.
BUCKET E: MUELLER
Mueller surprised his 1.8-percent ownership with a fifth-place finish and 280 points.
Second-best choice: Morizo Shimizu fished well and finished in 12th place granting his 1.3-percent ownership 254 points.
Worst choice: Fabian Rodriguez finished in 106th place granting his 0.1-percent ownership only 63 points.
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