WADDINGTON, N.Y. -- This is the first time a Bassmaster tournament has been held on the St. Lawrence River out of Waddington, N.Y. That means that no Elite Series angler has an edge from previous experience.
However, the river here is deep, swift, gin-clear and grows heavyweight smallmouth bass. These conditions favor some pros more than others. Here are the top picks of the Elite Series pros.
1. Jonathon VanDam. He’s a Yankee with a lot of experience with northern smallmouth bass. This tournament will be dominated by smallmouth bass. Jonathon won with smallmouths last year at Green Bay.
2. Aaron Martens. I’ve been catching smallmouths as deep as 62 feet on a drop shot, and Martens is an expert with that technique. He’s sure to catch them.
3. Terry Scroggins. He likes fishing finesse baits and he likes fishing deep.
1. Brandon Palaniuk. He is going where no man has gone before.
2. Aaron Martens. He’s the best drop-shotter in the world.
3. Me. I’m in the hunt for the Angler of the Year title.
1. John Crews. You always have to bet on yourself.
2. Ish Monroe. He is always good when we fish up North.
3. Michael Iaconelli. Mike is the champion of the North.
1. Jason Christie. He’s just a tough competitor.
2. Aaron Martens. Martens is a deep-water specialist and the bass are going to come deep at this one.
3. Kevin VanDam. This is his cup of tea. KVD has won tournaments before on the St. Lawrence River.
1. Timmy Horton. I saw him practicing by me today. He’s a really good fisherman.
2. Ott DeFoe. He’s just good.
3. Edwin Evers. Edwin is usually good on smallmouth water and he’s focused on winning the AOY.
1. Kevin VanDam. This will be a smallmouth tournament and VanDam always does well with them.
2. Aaron Martens. Fishing deep with a drop shot will score big here.
3. Edwin Evers. He always does well with smallmouth bass.
1. Aaron Martens. This tournament is right up his alley. He is great at reading electronics and finding deep bass.
2. Jonathon VanDam. The fish are scattered, so you can’t sit in one spot and load up on them. This kind of fishing is JVD’s thing. He grew up doing this.
3. Edwin Evers. He’s been on a roll all year with all three species of bass and he has put in his time.
1. Aaron Martens. I’ve caught some really big fish this week in off-the-wall places. Aaron is really good at finding oddball stuff like that.
2. Kotaro Kiriyama. The big ones live reel deep here. You can see bottom in 30 feet of water. Kotaro feels right at home fishing deep.
3. Chris Zaldain. I think he gets better every tournament and the fishing here fits his style.
1. Kevin VanDam. Because he’s the obvious choice.
2. Jonathon VanDam. He’s good with a drop shot.
3. Gerald Swindle. The G-Man is good with his electronics. He’ll find those deep bass.
1. Michael Iaconelli. Experience on these northern waters gives him an advantage. His back is against the wall this year. I expect him to do well.
2. Britt Myers. Britt has had some bad breaks this season. I expect things will break his way this time.
3. Charlie Hartley. He’s got that look about him this time.
1. Kevin VanDam. He’s won here before.
2. Todd Faircloth. Todd’s good with a drop shot.
3. Edwin Evers. He’s tough.