MANY, La. — On May 1, the Bassmaster Elite Series pros will take off in the quest of winning the Evan Williams Bourbon Bassmaster Elite at Toledo Bend. The Elite Series has visited Toledo Bend twice before in mid-April 2011 and early June 2012. With as long as winter has hung around there may be some fish just coming off the bed, but look for the winner of this event to be targeting postspawn bass.
Therefore, your Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing team should be heavy on anglers who can grind out a solid limit when bass are in their postspawn funk.
Note that the Fantasy Fishing ownership percentages of the anglers discussed in this article are likely to change before the event kicks off next week.
Mark Davis has to be off to the best start to an Elite Series season ever. Davis has not won an event yet, but he has only missed five points through the first three events. Davis is also one of the best postspawn anglers on the Elite Series. Mark Davis took home a check the last two times the Elite Series visited Toledo Bend including a Top 12 finish in 2012. Davis is the fourth-most-owned angler in the Bucket A at 15.6 percent. Watch for Davis to carry his hot streak of consecutive Top 12 finishes to five after this event. (He ended 2013 with one on Lake St. Clair.)
Todd Faircloth is always a strong competitor anytime the Elite Series goes to a lake in Texas (Toledo Bend is on the Louisiana/Texas boarder). Two of Faircloth’s four wins have come on events in Texas. Faircloth is sitting in fifth in Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year (AOY) points, so he could use another strong event to move up the AOY leaderboard. Faircloth was also one of the most consistent anglers in the last two events on Toledo Bend, finishing 17th in 2011 and 15th in 2012. Watch for Faircloth to break through with his first Top 12 on Toledo Bend this time.
Faircloth was the first angler I thought of going into this event. The reason he is not on my Fantasy Fishing team is his ownership percentage. Faircloth is the most-owned angler in the bucket at 21.3 percent. If you do not mind taking the bucket favorites, Faircloth is a wise pick.
Ott DeFoe may seem like a dark horse pick for Bucket A at a 2.9 percent ownership, but he could be one of the safest picks in the end. DeFoe took home a check in the last two Toledo Bend events and just missed a Top 12 in 2012. He has excelled at almost every Elite Series stop since he joined the Elites. DeFoe could easily be the highest finisher of the entire bucket.
Matt Herren in Bucket B will be my true dark horse pick of the event. Herren is only owned by 0.6 percent of Fantasy Fishing players. If Herren can beat the others in the bucket, his owners can gain a lot of points over other players. Herren is sitting in 22nd in AOY standings and needs a solid event to stay in the Top 35 to qualify for the 2015 Bassmaster Classic. Herren finished eighth in 2012 and 38th in 2011 at Toledo Bend. Look for him to take another solid finish at Toledo Bend this year.
Timmy Horton’s last Top 12 came in 2012 on Toledo Bend. Horton finished sixth in that event and 47th in 2011 at Toledo Bend. He is sitting in 25th in AOY standings and needs a solid finish like Herren. At only 2.9 percent ownership, you can earn a lot of points by taking Horton if he has a strong event.
John Crews is always a name I overlook when deciding on my Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing team, yet he seems to have a solid finish at each event. I am not overlooking Crews this time. Others seem to be overlooking him with only a 1.0 percent ownership. Crews took home a check the last two times the Elite Series visited Toledo Bend. He may not be the highest finisher in the bucket, but watch for him to end up being one of best. That can help you beat the majority of players even if he just beats the favorites for the bucket.