LEESBURG, Fla. — Don't feel bad, they had everyone fooled. Of the 15 pros we asked to make three picks on whom they thought might win, eight mentioned Peter Thliveros and six said Terry Scroggins.
It's easy to get drawn into the local hype, but these guys, especially Thliveros, have a nice history on this chain of lakes. He won the last time he was here in 2005.
Scroggins hasn't had as much luck on the Harris Chain — his best finish is 15th in 2004 — but four of his five wins with BASS have come in his home state of Florida.
Both are expensive Fantasy Fishing prospects, but with two Florida events back-to-back, it seemed like a good play to try and squeeze them into the roster … seemed like a good play.
Of the nine anglers from Florida fishing the Sunshine Showdown, only one — Bryan Hudgins (21 pounds, 6 ounces — 2nd) — is in the top 25. Scroggins is in 78th with 7-13 ounces and Thliveros is on the century mark with 5-13. And neither are optimistic about their return in this tournament.
"I'm kind of lost on this chain," Scroggins said. "I'm looking forward to the next chain."
Thliveros said he had a solid practice but the weather and moon pushed the spawning fish out of his areas. He wasn't picking them off beds in practice, but he said he was on a pattern that needed the bass to be spawning.
"I caught a lot of fish, just none of them were very big," Thliveros said of his Day One. "I was frustrated, but I didn't feel as bad when I came into the weigh-in and saw that weights were down across the board."
Scroggins, who is currently on 16 percent of Fantasy Fishing teams (the eighth most frequently picked angler), said he had the same problem: no big fish.
"You look at the guys who did well, and they don't have five good fish," Scroggins said. "They had three small ones and two nice ones. I'm just going to do the same thing today and hope for the best.
"I had a lot of bites in practice, but I shook them all off so I didn't know how big they were. I guess now I know."
Not as many fantasy owners shelled out the 13.6 points it costs to play Thliveros, but the 7 1/2 percent who did are in bad shape.
Thliveros said he thinks he needs around 15 pounds to make the top 50 cut, and weights are projected to drop from a field of anglers that only brought in 13 bags over 15 on Thursday.
"I'm going to spend more time on Harris today," he said. "I got less bites but better quality there in practice.
"I know they're there. My partner caught a 5-pounder there and I missed one. So, we'll see what happens."
Visit Bassmaster.com for full coverage of the Elite Series Sunshine Showdown on the Harris Chain of Lakes, from Leesburg, Fla., March 6-9, 2008. Daily weigh-ins with live streaming video and real-time leaderboards start at 4 p.m. ET. "Hooked Up" will air Sunday at 10 a.m., noon and 3:30 p.m. ET. And a reminder … Daylight Savings Time starts Sunday, so remember to set your clocks.