Terry Scroggins has been a major threat for the last several years on the Elite Series. Now he gets to return to his home water to better his second-place finish in 2011 and sixth-place finish in 2012. Scroggins is considered a steal for his fantasy bucket. Only 3.6 percent of Fantasy Fishing owners have picked Scroggins so far. I hope it stays that way and that a lot of Fantasy Fishing players are kicking themselves if and when he makes it to fish Sunday.
Cliff Crochet is another solid choice for Bucket C. Like Scroggins, it is hard to believe Crochet has such a low Fantasy Fishing ownership number at 4.5 percent after Top 25 finishes in 2011 and 2012 at the St. Johns River. Crochet had a disastrous Day 2 last week at Lake Seminole, so look for the Cajun Baby to come out and take some revenge on the bass.
Bobby Lane is owned by 5.9 percent of Fantasy Fishing players, but that still seems low for a Florida angler at a Florida event. Lane took home a Top 20 in 2011 but struggled in 2012, missing the Day 2 cut. Look for Lane to return to the St. Johns River looking for another Top 20 and a chance to get back into the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year (AOY) race.
If history is to repeat itself, Keith Combs will be leaving Florida with his first Top 12 of the year. Combs was ninth in 2011 and third in 2012 at the St. Johns River. Fantasy Fishing owners still seem to not be paying attention to angler history on the river because Combs is only owned by 3.7 percent of players. It is still early in the season, but I expect Combs to make up a lot of points in the AOY race and not dig too big a hole to make it to the 2015 Bassmaster Classic.
Greg Vinson is only owned by 5 percent of Fantasy Fishing players and made a check finishing in the 30s in 2011 and 2012 at the St. Johns River. Vinson needs to leave Florida with at least a check to have a decent shot at qualifying for the Classic on AOY points.
John Murray claimed a check in 2011 and was the first angler out of the money in 2012 at the St. Johns River. Like the other two anglers picked in this bucket, Murray needs a solid point finish to not fall behind a quarter of the way through the season. Murray is a solid choice for bucket D.
Edwin Evers, like KVD, is an angler I never expected to see outside of Bucket A. For Evers to be all the way down in Bucket E is almost a crime. Evers left Lake Seminole with only seven AOY points. It is early for an angler to be trying the “win and you’re in” strategy for the 2015 Classic, but Evers should look to take a shot at it this week. After winning in 2011 at the St. Johns River and just missing the Top 12 in 2012, Evers could legitimately qualify for the Bassmaster Classic by Sunday. Evers is the favorite for the bucket at 21.6 percent, but I will take that if he can make another Top 12.
Stephen Kennedy is owned by 9.8 percent of players, but he also has a Top 12 finish at the St. Johns River. Look for Kennedy and his Auburn Tigers boat to make a comeback from being the last angler to get a point toward AOY last week at Lake Seminole.
The 2014 Bassmaster Classic Champion, Randy Howell, has fallen into Bucket E going into the second Elite Series event of the year. I am sure that has not dampened his spirits for the way his year has started out. Like Kennedy, Howell has a Top 12 on the St. Johns to his name. The Classic champion seems to be overlooked in Bucket E, with only a 5.1 percent ownership. Look for the champ to recover from his zero AOY points last week at Lake Seminole.
Thursday kicks off the second Elite Series event of the year, and if the Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing buckets are any indication, look for high Fantasy Fishing scores — as well as big changes to the AOY standings.
Remember to get your picks in for this event before launch on Thursday! A $2,500 gift card to Bass Pro Shops is up for grabs again, along with a season-ending prize for the overall best Fantasy player.
Who are your picks? Let us know by commenting below.