Picks of the Top 10 Fantasy players

James Overstreet
Cliff Pace has been the best pick so far this season for Fantasy Fishing players.

About the author

Greg Huff

Greg Huff

Greg Huff hosts the podcast "Fantasy Fishing Insider." Listen or subscribe to it free on iTunes or here: http://bit.ly/9K5txd

The winning strategy in Fantasy Fishing so far this season has been picking locals in Buckets A and E, selecting anglers with the best past performances in Bucket B, and tapping the most-undervalued anglers in Buckets C and D (and sometimes E).

In reviewing the picks of the Top 10 B.A.S.S. Fantasy Fishing Challenge points leaders, several trends emerge. Learn from their success and you could improve your chances to win your own Fantasy Fishing league. 

First, however, mad props to the current Top 10 Fantasy Fishing players in the nation:

1. spencerfishon64

2. jkswampdonkey

3. toadsnatcher

4. spnrb8


6. WD Indiana

7. tnbigbass

8. bassnchiro

9. Bassbandit

10. MidSeasonRuleChangeNICE

Local heroes

Picking a local is both easy and productive. The strategy has yielded six key picks, mostly in Buckets A and E:

  • Every player in the Top 10 picked Terry Scroggins in Bucket A before he placed sixth on St. Johns River. Scroggins lives about 500 yards from the St. Johns and has fished it often, parlaying local knowledge into numerous strong tournament finishes there.
  • Nine players picked Ott DeFoe in Bucket A before he placed seventh on Douglas Lake. DeFoe lives in rural Knoxville, 30 minutes away from the lake, which he grew up fishing and competing on.
  • Nine picked rookie Brandon Card in Bucket B before he placed ninth on Douglas Lake. Card, the Elite Series rookie, grew up an hour away from the lake, in Caryville, Tenn, and had fished it often.
  • Nine picked rookie Kyle Fox in Bucket E before he placed 12th on Okeechobee. Fox grew up in Lakeland, Fla., which is a 2 1/2-hour drive from the Big O. And although Fox said he didn’t have much experience on Okeechobee, he said his familiarity with Florida bass fishing techniques contributed greatly to his Okeechobee success.
  • Eight picked Todd Faircloth in Bucket A before he placed 15th on Toledo Bend. From nearby Jasper, Texas, Faircloth grew up fishing and competing on Toledo Bend.
  • Seven picked Cliff Prince in Bucket E before he placed 16th on St. Johns River. Prince lives in Palatka, the St. Johns tournament host city, and grew up fishing and competing on the river.

Recognizing value

Selecting undervalued anglers in Buckets C and D (and in E, if there's no local available) is the best – but most difficult – key to picking consistently successful Fantasy Fishing rosters. Familiarizing yourself with anglers who don't routinely appear on TV and on magazine covers will help.

An "undervalued" angler is one you determine seeded one or two buckets below his skill level. Every other tournament or so, B.A.S.S. shuffles each bucket, moving some anglers up and demoting others, based on momentum, the local factor, past performance and/or technique-specific factors (sight fishing, deep structure, river fishing, etc.), or a combination thereof. And because the buckets must contain a somewhat similar number of anglers (although A and E always comprise the fewest), a few anglers every tournament are available in a lower bucket than they would be if you were assessing their entire career, rather than just the weeks preceding the current tournament.

By my calculations, picking undervalued anglers in the bottom buckets yielded nine key plays:

  • 10 picked Keith Combs in Bucket D before he placed 19th on Okeechobee.
  • Nine picked Brent Chapman in Bucket C before he placed fifth on Okeechobee.
  • Nine picked Combs in Bucket D before he placed third on St. Johns River.
  • Nine picked Aaron Martens in Bucket C before he placed third on Douglas Lake.
  • Eight picked Chapman in Bucket C before he placed fourth on St. Johns River.
  • Eight picked Martens in Bucket C before he placed 58th on Bull Shoals.
  • Six picked Cliff Pace in Bucket D before he placed 15th on Douglas Lake.
  • Six picked Brandon Palaniuk in Bucket E, before he won on Bull Shoals.
  • Four picked Pace in Bucket E before he placed sixth on Bull Shoals.

Notice some trends? Three anglers have been consistently undervalued: Brent Chapman, Cliff Pace and Aaron Martens.