Daily Limit: Go with your gut in Fantasy

Falling into a common trap, Matt Jensen wasn’t totally satisfied with his year competing in Rapala Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing.

“Well, I was very average,” he said. “I was probably a homer too much in picking the Rapala Pro Staff when it may not have been set up for them.”

That’s totally understandable since Jensen is Rapala’s Director of Marketing in Minnetonka, Minn., but he would have done well picking “his guys” Brandon Palaniuk and Patrick Walters, who won three of the 10 events.

“I’m not a big researcher. I just love playing the game,” said Jensen, who admitted he forgot to set his lineup one week.

It’s all good, he said, because he wasn’t eligible to win any of the $90,000 in prizes anyway, including $4,000 for each event and a $20,000 grand prize for the season-long point leader. Jensen was pleased overall with Fantasy Fishing, especially that his brainchild of offering prizes down to 20th place at each Elite helped gain a 36% increase in participation to around 38,000 players.

“We loved last year’s results,” he said. “We’re excited to just keep it growing. We learned a lot. Bassmaster grew the population of people participating. The fact that Bass Pro Shops is behind it with their gift cards on top of the cash, it’s been really cool.

“I’m excited just about the total number, and I want to see 35,000 go to 50,000, go to 100,000. That’s our goal. If we get 100,000 people playing fantasy fishing, that’s going to be really cool to see.”

Rapala Fantasy Fishing is simple. Register at Bassmasterfantasy.com and select the angler from each of five buckets who will place highest in the standings. Ties are broken by guessing the winning weight. Beware that bonus points are given for an angler leading each day (5 points) and the big bass and big bag of the event earns a whopping 40 points each.

Players can join groups, like BeatRonnieMoore, many of which offer their own prizes. Ronnie’s group only doles out bragging rights, but your name could be mentioned during weekend shows on FOX Sports 1.

“How cool is that going to be that the team at Bassmaster LIVE will talking about Fantasy Fishing on FOX Sports?” Jensen said. “We’re excited about where it’s gone. I think Bassmaster and their audience is growing, along with Rapala. I think we’re putting something cool together, to make it a very popular thing in fishing.”

It was hugely popular with winners, like one featured on Rapala’s blog. Cody Furr of Rootstown, Ohio, received back-to-back second-place prize packages after his anglers at the St. Lawrence River and Lake St. Clair excelled. Furr, who competes in bass events, said he puts in research and, “I’m a much better fantasy fishing angler than a real-life angler.”