BAINBRIDGE, Ga. — The first event of the 2014 Bassmaster Elite Series season will be held on Lake Seminole, the home lake of my father, Bassmaster Elite Series pro JTodd Tucker. It’s also the home lake of my school, Valdosta State University, and our team won a tournament on Seminole in 2013 and secured a 13th-place finish there this year.
Seminole is where my dad and I both cut our teeth in tournament fishing. In my first tournament here, we came in fourth out of 50 or so boats. This lake is a great way to start off the Elite Series season and a great time to be fishing the lake. Just a few weeks ago, on Feb. 15, the single-day record was broken with a weight of 38.88 pounds.
But anyway, onto the picks for your Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing team…
Bucket A: Tucker
Now don’t call me biased because I’m picking my own dad, but if he doesn’t win the tournament he’ll definitely be up there in the top. He has been fishing on Seminole since my grandpa (Pop) and grandma (Nina) moved to Moultrie, Ga., from Duncan, Okla., in the 1970s. The fish will be in all three stages of the spawn, and that means the bed fishermen will show out a little. I don't think beds will win the tournament, though.
Another good option is Shaw Grigsby, who also has some history on this lake of his own.
Bucket B: R. Lane or T. Horton
I couldn’t decide between Russ Lane and Timmy Horton. I’ve marshaled for Lane before (Lake Wheeler, 2012). He’s fished here at Seminole before and has knowledge of the lake. I’m not sure about his tournament history here, but I’m sure his style of fishing will work here.
Horton has shot a couple of TV shows here with some well-known people. He’s been here a lot, including during the off-season. He’s prepared for what Seminole has to offer.
Bucket C: Kennedy
I’m picking Steve Kennedy here because, like the others, he has strong local knowledge. Van Kennedy, Steve’s father, has fished Seminole a lot in the past. Steve Kennedy knows the lake. I’m not sure what label you would put on Kennedy, fishing-wise, but I’d say he’s a swimbaiter, and swimbaits may be a factor in this event.
My other choices would be Brandon Palaniuk — he’ll be able to figure the fish out — as well as Justin Lucas.
Bucket D: Hartley
This was a tough bucket to pick, but Charlie Hartley is about due for a good tournament and I think this will play right into his wheelhouse.
If you don’t choose Hartley, then pick Takahiro Omori. He has a good track record on Seminole like Grigsby does.
Bucket E: Prince or J. Horton
Cliff Prince has already got a lot of ownership in the bucket. I’m not sure if he’s been on Seminole before or not, but he should do well. I’m not too familiar with a lot of the others in this bucket, but Jamie Horton’s name sticks out. Either one of these two should be solid picks.