2011 Elite Series - Evan Williams Bourbon All-Star Championship
Alabama River - Montgomery, AL, Jul 29 - 31, 2011

DeFoe gets the nod

Two out of four anglers polled go with rookie

James Overstreet
Ott DeFoe is picked to win it all by two of four Elites polled.

WETUMPKA, Ala. --  Shortly after the weigh-in of the Ramada All-Star Semi-Final,  four anglers were polled to get their picks for the head-to-head matchups in the Evan Williams  Bourbon All-Star Championship on the Alabama River next week.

Casey Ashley, who had top weight in the Ramada All-Star Semi-Final, takes the No. 1 seed and faces No. 8 seed Skeet Reese on Friday in Day One of the All-Star Championship. The winner of that matchup fishes Saturday against the winner of No. 3 seed Aaron Martens and No. 6 Edwin Evers. On the other side of the bracket, No. 2 seed Ott DeFoe faces Mike Iaconelli and that winner meets the Terry Scroggins-Gerald Swindle winner. The one-on-one title will be decided Sunday, with the champion taking $100,000. Second gets nothing.

Our panel includes Kevin VanDam, Jeff Kriet and Steve Kennedy, who competed against the eight finalists for two days on Lake Jordan this weekend. The fourth, Keith Poche of Troy, Ala.,  finished 10th in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race this year and competed against these finalists throughout the season.

It should be noted that all four struggled to make their picks in these individual matchups. But when forced to make a choice, they did. And it’s obvious that DeFoe, 25, has made quite an impression during his 2011 Rookie of the Year season. The Knoxville, Tenn., angler was the top pick by two of the Elite Series pros polled.

Here are their choices:

KEVIN VANDAM

Casey Ashley vs. Skeet Reese

I like Casey a lot, but Skeet knows the river. He’s seen me catch them in a couple of key areas that he’ll be able to fish now that I’m not there.

Aaron Martens vs. Edwin Evers

That’s probably the toughest call. Aaron is the best spotted bass fisherman I know, and he’s got a lot of history in that river. But Edwin has fished there multiple times also. Edwin knows exactly where I fished last year, too. He’ll catch them there. That’s a tough one. One of those two is my pick to win it all.

Ott DeFoe vs. Mike Iaconelli

I think Ott is going to get him. Ott is a good shallow water, river fisherman. Ike’s got a history there, too. That’s a tough one.

Terry Scroggins vs. Gerald Swindle

That’s another tough one. Swindle has a lot of history there. But Terry’s a good ledge fisherman. He fishes the same way I do. The other thing that you’ve got to understand is all these guys are my friends, and it’s hard to pick one over the other. I’m going to go with Big Show (Scroggins) because he always pulls something out of his hat.

Final

I’ll pick Evers to win the whole thing.

STEVE KENNEDY

Casey Ashley vs. Skeet Reese

Skeet probably knows where Kevin fished, so I’m going to go with Skeet.

Aaron Martens vs. Edwin Evers

I’m going to go with Evers because it’s a river.

Ott DeFoe vs. Mike Iaconelli

Ott is just a river rat. He fishes more like me than anybody I can think of. He’ll do well there.

Terry Scroggins vs. Gerald Swindle

I’m going to pick Swindle. He’s an Alabama guy. He’s been there before. I think of Scroggins as more of a shallow water, grass, Florida fisherman.

Final

I’m going with Ott. I don’t know if it will hold up for three days for him, but I’m going with him.

 

JEFF KRIET

Casey Ashley vs. Skeet Reese

Casey has proved he can catch them all year. He’s pretty versatile. I don’t know, but I’m going to pick Casey. That’s just my gut feeling.

Aaron Martens vs. Edwin Evers

That’s tough. That’s a coin toss. I’ll just say Edwin because he’s got more power fishing in his game. Still, Aaron will smoke them. But I think Edwin will cover more water and, mentally, he’s stronger.

Ott DeFoe vs. Mike Iaconelli

That’s brutal. Gollee. I’ll pick Ott. He’s caught them all year everywhere we went. He caught them shallow in Lake Jordan. Right now I would say Ott is as good a shallow water fisherman as there is on the tour. I pay attention to that. For him to do what he did shallow this week, that’s amazing.

Terry Scroggins vs. Gerald Swindle

I’m going to take Swindle just because he knows the river better.

Final

I’m going to say Casey is going to win the whole thing. He caught them a little bit different each day (on Lake Jordan). He seems to be really good at flying by the seat of his pants. That’s my weakness, but that’s his strength. I admire somebody that can do that.

KEITH POCHE

Casey Ashley vs. Skeet Reese

I’m going to say Skeet Reese because he’s got two years of experience on the river. I think Skeet could take just about anybody right now. He had a rough time at Jordan, but that’s going to work in his favor. He’s ready. Casey just doesn’t have the experience there, so Skeet is going to have the upper hand.

Ott DeFoe vs. Mike Iaconelli

Ott is a good friend of mine, but I’m going to pick him because he can catch them on a river. Every time we go somewhere, he’s up the river. He’s an awesome shallow water fisherman. He can read conditions really well. I was real surprised he did as well as he did on Jordan. The river is where I really think he’s going to shine.

Aaron Martens vs. Edwin Evers

Edwin is going to come out on top. I don’t think Aaron’s finesse tactics will really be a factor on a river. I think it’s going to be a lot of shallow water flipping and power fishing.

Terry Scroggins vs. Gerald Swindle

It’s going to be a tossup between those two. If I had to say, I’d go with the hometown favorite, Gerald Swindle. But you can’t count out Terry Scroggins because he’s a Florida guy, a shallow water fisherman.

Final

I think Ott is going to win this thing. I know he’s young and he’s a rookie. I just think he can put it together for three days. It’s going to be the guy who consistently puts it together for three days. I think Ott is going to be the guy who makes the right decisions at the right time.

Comment below to tell us who you think will win.

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