Fantasy Fishing: Go with momentum and local flavor

I’d love to tell you that I had a good Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing showing at Toledo Bend, but to remain consistent with my season thus far, my picks tanked. I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record … scratch that, I AM a broken record that is titled “Woe was me.” Want to join the pity party?

Nah. I’m not losing any sleep over it, but I do plan on turning things around at the Texas/Oklahoma border reservoir, Lake Texoma.

What makes this event difficult is lack of recent history on the lake. There really isn’t much to go on, which will make the end result very interesting. I’m inclined to go along with Pete Robbins’ insight about this being another storybook ending.

I’m throwing out all statistical logic, and I’m making my selections based on living proximity and season momentum. Like I said before, I can really only go up from here.

BUCKET A: SWINDLE

Gerald Swindle is one of bass fishing’s favorite personalities, and that often overshadows his world-class ability to catch bass across the nation. He’s having a solid year, and I don’t think you’d find many fans, pundits or critics who wouldn’t like to see the G-Man take one home. He’s making a very strong showing in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year race and is way overdue for a title. Not only do I want him to win, I think he’s got a great chance to build on his momentum and climb the AOY leaderboard.

Dark Horse: Matt Herren just won the annual Toyota Texas Bass Classic. And, he’s done well in every Elite Series event this year; he is probably the most underrated stick in Bucket A. Herren will finish strong here, especially because he seems to excel in unfamiliar bodies of water.

A pair of Alabama boys in Bucket A for me.

BUCKET B: JORDON

I have no idea if Kelly Jordon of Flint, Texas, has even seen Lake Texoma before. But, he doesn’t’ live too terribly far from the lake, and he’s coming into this event in 25th place in the AOY race. He’s not way inside the Classic-bid bubble, but he’s having a solid year and looking to build on his AOY standing. It’s been a while since the veteran has won an event, and he’s certainly capable of doing so at Texoma.

Dark Horse: Stephen Browning is not only one of the nicest guys on tour, he’s a consistent angler who’s due a big win. Remember the storybook ending that Robbins mentioned? This could be the guy who makes that happen — wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest.

BUCKET C: FAIRCLOTH

Todd Faircloth is the kind of angler who will get my support in Fantasy Fishing nearly every time. He’s had an uncharacteristically difficult season, but he’s known for making checks and ending his season on a high note. He needs a good showing at this event, and with little history on this lake, like Herren, he also excels on unfamiliar bodies of water that might be a little extra difficult. Texoma is high and dirty, which could be a perfect combination for the Jasper, Texas, resident.

Dark Horse: Josh Bertrand is really coming into his own as a Bassmaster Elite Series pro. I think he’s fished very well this season, and he is due to crack one of these events wide open for his first major victory. One of the classiest guys on tour could make a big name for himself at Texoma.

BUCKET D: KRIET

This is an easy pick for me. Jeff Kriet of Ardmore, Okla., lives right up the road and is easily one of the most underrated sticks on the tour. Just like most of my other selections, he’s due for a good showing. This would be the best storybook ending possible at Texoma. Not only and am I confident in Kriet, I’m also rooting for him.

Dark Horse: Mark Davis is a veteran in this game, and he’s the kind of pro angler who could show up at any tournament and win. He’s been pretty quiet over the past few years, but the Old Guard is still very strong in a pool of young, hot sticks. Davis could shock them all at this tournament.

BUCKET E: MORGENTHALER

I’ve had Chad Morgenthaler selected more than once this year only to swap him out with a different choice before the event took place. Each time, it bit me. Not this time. I think he’s underrated this year and in the wrong bucket, which makes choosing him an easy decision. I bet he rights his ship at this tournament and surprises the field.

Dark Horse: Matt Lee is a very talented, young bass angler, and finding him in Bucket E is uncharacteristic. He knows that the time to change his luck will be at Lake Texoma.

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