The final event of the 2012 Bassmaster Elite Series season is upon us, which is huge for the top anglers — who are vying for spots in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic as well as the top prize for the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race.
But if you play Fantasy Fishing, it’s huge for you, too!
Now is the time to surge ahead on your team if you’re going to. You know that friend of yours who’s so arrogant about his position atop your group’s leaderboard? It’s time to smack him down. And the loudmouth who knows everything? Time to take him down a notch, too.
This is your last chance to beat your best bass fishing buddies for the 2012 season — and maybe win some prizes.
So, choose carefully. Consider which anglers thrive under pressure and which ones buckle.
Bucket A is stacked with some of the world’s best anglers, many of whom are salivating over that AOY trophy. The Top 12 in AOY points are in this bucket, as are a few other strong performers for the year, Cliff Pace, Brandon Card and Cliff Prince. Already, Kevin VanDam has locked up more than half of the votes from Fantasy Fishing players — not much of a surprise, considering how VanDam has delivered impressive performances when the AOY trophy was on the line, for four years running.
Bucket B will also be a tough choice. So far, 60 percent of Fantasy Fishing players have cast their votes for Michael Iaconelli, whose chance of qualifying for his 12th consecutive Classic is at stake, and Aaron Martens, who has been undervalued almost all season in Fantasy. Other choices in this bucket include 2012 Bassmaster Classic winner Chris Lane, his brother Bobby, veteran pro Skeet Reese and Alton Jones, who won the first event of the season.
The clear favorites in Bucket C are Timmy Horton, with 22 percent of the vote, and John Crews, with nearly 15. Of all the anglers in the bucket, Crews has had the best performance all season, with a 25th-place ranking in AOY. Russ Lane, Steve Kennedy and Keith Combs are right behind him. Most anglers in Bucket C are on the bubble for the 2013 Classic, so make sure your pick here is highly motivated and not likely to crumble under pressure.
Two of Bucket D’s anglers, Brandon Palaniuk and Ish Monroe, have already qualified for the Classic, and they are both also out of contention for the AOY top prize. So for them, the only motivation to do well in this tournament is to get a good payday. Palaniuk has 40 percent of anglers’ votes. Another favorite among Fantasy Fishing players is Keith Poche, who — after leading on Day One of the 2012 Classic — can’t wait to get back to fish another one.
Even with a win and a 66th-place AOY standing, Jonathon VanDam is stuck in Bucket E. He’s been picked by 40 percent of Fantasy Fishing players, largely thanks to his recent victory on Green Bay. Travis Manson and Kotaro Kiriyama inspire confidence among the fans, too, based on angler ownership percentages.
Who will you pick for each bucket? Your choice could make or break your prize-winning ability — and bragging rights in your league!
Be sure to update your team by Wednesday, Aug. 22, at midnight ET.