Fantasy Fishing: Tale of two spawns

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James Overstreet

Stetson Blaylock is no stranger to success on Lake Fork.

The spring winter storm that hit Texas so hard earlier this season definitely has Lake Fork fish a little further behind on their spawning cycle this year. Reports are saying that the spawn is kicking into high gear during the off week before the event. It will be interesting to see how many fish are left spawning for the Bassmaster Elite Series anglers between major waves and how quickly some of these fish get offshore or chasing shad.

On top of the bass spawn that should start kicking into gear, it sounds like shad spawns are in motion as well, which is not normal. On Lake Fork, there is both a gizzard and threadfin shad spawn that will draw bass onto shallow hard clay points and other areas much like we saw Brandon Cobb capitalize on in early May 2019. This could be a really strong pattern with more fish coming to it every day as they get off the nests and start looking to eat.

With all of this spawning happening, there should be a large amount of bass to be had shallow and fish in all three stages of the spawn. That being said, I think Lake Fork should be pretty wide open, and it could very well nullify any home-field advantage that experienced Lake Fork anglers may have.

BUCKET A: COX

Aluminum boats have won the last three Bassmaster Elite Series events. All signs are pointing to a shallow water/spawning event. John Cox got rid of his hideous cornrows, and his mojo is back. All signs point towards Cox hoisting a Blue Trophy above his new hairdo this week.

Not so sneaky good: We should all probably stop sleeping on Brock Mosely. Going back to last season, Mosely has four Top 10 finishes in his last five Bassmaster Elites Series events, which is pretty darn strong! Could Mosley be on a Skeet Reese circa 2010 type run in the making?

BUCKET B: BLAYLOCK

Sure, Stetson Blaylock has a pair of Top 20s on Lake Fork, but more importantly to my eyes is that he almost beat Brandon Cobb on his home lake during a spawning event. Also, he won two years ago on Winyah Bay in a springtime event. Put all that info into a springtime spawning burrito and I think we got a winning combo.

Flashy pick: Scott Martin is not afraid of a good time when it comes to a spawning derby. In his career, he has done very well on spawning fish from Florida to New York. It would not be a shocker to see Martin hanging around in contention on Day 4 at Fork.

BUCKET C: PALMER

Luke Palmer has been low-key catching them in most events the last two years, and he has a couple of solid finishes on Lake Fork. On top of that, Fork should set up for the way that Palmer likes to catch them. I just have a good feeling on this one.

Safer pick: Keith Combs can thank me now for not picking him on my Rapala Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing team. I think Combs has always been in the Top 10 at Lake Fork, but every time I tell myself somebody is a can’t miss this season, it doesn’t work out for me or the angler. With that being said, you’re welcome, Keith and the 50%-plus of players picking him this event. 

BUCKET D: HARTMAN

Jamie Hartman had a solid top 20 event in 2019 on Fork. He also had a similar finish on Hartwell that same season, which was largely a spawning event. Makes sense in my head, and he has been quiet for a while. I expect it is time for Hartman to make some noise this season.

Backup: Matt Arey feels like he is in the process of fishing his way out of a slump, and he had a decent finish at the Sabine. Arey had a top 20 in May 2019 on Lake Fork mostly fishing shallow, which should carry over to this year’s event and set him up to have a strong finish this April.

BUCKET E: ZALDAIN

I have resisted picking Chris Zaldain all season so far, and he has only had one good event in 2020. But in two events Zaldain has a pair of 13th-place finishes on Lake Fork, so maybe that’s a good luck sign? Hopefully, Zaldangerous can get back on track this week on this big bass factory!

Backup: My fantasy season has been a bit up and down so far this season, so I'm trying to not take myself so seriously with research and analytics. Let’s just have some fun and go with our gut. Darold Gleason is just a cool dude, he is from Texas, and what would be more fun than seeing Gleason on Bassmaster LIVE catching a few signature “ocean ponies?”

My Mercury Bassmaster Drain the Lake Challenge roster for Lake Fork:

  • Jason Christie 
  • Keith Combs 
  • John Cox 
  • John Crews 
  • Darold Gleason 
  • Ray Hanselman 
  • Lee Livesay 
  • Luke Palmer