Fantasy Fishing: Tennessee River's best

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Seigo Saito

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The 2021 Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Tennessee River was a tough tournament for the majority of the Elite Series field. The cut weight to make Day 3 of the event was just under 7 pounds per day. Although the event was a slow grind for most, it was still an extremely interesting event to follow.

The Tennessee River provided a very large playing field, yet fished pretty small at times with multiple anglers fishing around each other in the backs of creeks where the water was the warmest. Jeff Gustafson dominated the event with smallmouth bass, but there was a solid mixture of both largemouth and smallmouth bass weighed in.

Choosing a Fantasy Fishing team for this was tricky. Several anglers who had high playing percentages and solid history on the Tennessee River struggled this time around. For example, Brandon Lester and Chris Zaldain were both heavily played and both missed the cut.

Haven’t created a Fantasy Fishing account yet? No problem! Sign up and play for free at BassmasterFantasy.com. Players win prizes at each specific event and there are prizes for overall winners at the end of the season as well. You can still play the remainder of the season even if you missed out on the first two events.

The overall winner at the Tennessee River was “Bass-Bandit” who was one pick away from picking the perfect team: Overall Rank: No. 1, total points 1,471

Bucket A: Greg Hackney, 272

Bucket B: Jeff Gustafson, 320

Bucket C: Hunter Shryock, 268

Bucket D: Stephen Kennedy, 335

Bucket E: Jake Whitaker, 276

Total: 1,471 

The perfect Fantasy Fishing team at the Tennessee River would have been: 

Bucket A: Greg Hackney, 272

Bucket B: Jeff Gustafson, 320

Bucket C: Hunter Shryock, 268 

Bucket D: Stephen Kennedy, 335

Bucket E: Brock Mosley, 304

Total: 1,499

BUCKET A: HACKNEY

Greg Hackney is off to an incredible start to his Elite Series return. The Louisiana pro has registered back to back Top 10’s to open his 2021 Elite Series campaign. Hackney scored 272 points for the 16.4% of Fantasy players who chose him.

Second best selection: Keith Combs ended the event in 13th place and scored 251 points for his Fantasy Fishing players. Combs is also off to a great start in 2021, after just missing the Bassmaster Classic cut in 2020.

Lowest scoring angler: After a stellar opening event in 2021, Gary Clouse was not able to back up his St. Johns success in Knoxville. Clouse only scored 89 points for the 3.1% that chose him.

BUCKET B: GUSTAFSON

Jeff Gustafson led the event wire to wire, and weighed 20 smallmouth bass for his first Bassmaster Elite Series win. The Canadian scored 320 points for the 3.28 % of players that selected him. Gussy received 20 bonus points for leading the event all four days.

Second best selection: John Cox did John Cox things on the Tennessee River. Cox made his way to the very backs of creeks off the main river to finish the event in third place. The Floridian scored 290 Fantasy points.

Lowest scoring angler: Luke Palmer had a tough event in Knoxville, finishing with 85 points for his .7% of players. 

BUCKET C: SHRYOCK

Hunter Shryock cranked his way to a Top 10 on the Tennessee River and scored 268 Fantasy points. Only .75% of players selected Shryock in Bucket C. 

Second best selection: Matthew “On ’Em” Robertson bounced back on the Tennessee River after missing the cut in the first event of the season. Robertson scored 241 Fantasy points for the 8.5% of players who chose him.

Lowest scoring angler: Quentin Cappo struggled on the Tennessee River, only netting his players 75 points.

BUCKET D: KENNEDY

If it wasn’t for a poor Day 2, Steve Kennedy would have had an outstanding chance at winning the Tennessee River event. The Alabama native was able to catch shallow largemouth and finish the event in second, scoring 335 points for the 1.5% of players that chose him.

Second best selection: Brandon Card was relatively overlooked in Bucket D considering he has spent much of his life fishing the Tennessee River in Knoxville. Card finished the event in fourth place and scored 285 points for the 3.4% that selected him. 

Lowest scoring angler: The Tower of Power, Jason Williamson, struggled on the Tennessee River. Williamson only scored 83 points for the .4% that selected him.

BUCKET E: MOSLEY

Brock Mosley finished the event in ninth place and scored his Fantasy players 304 points. Mosley received 40 bonus points for big fish. 7.2% of Fantasy players selected Mosley in Bucket E. 

Second best selection: Jake Whitaker ran all the way to Tellico all four days of the event to secure a sixth place finish. Whitaker scored 276 points for the 12.5% of Fantasy players who chose him.

Lowest scoring angler: The veteran Rick Morris had a tough event in Knoxville, only scoring 79 points for the .7% that selected him.