Well, Lake Fork turned out to be an incredible event. Lee Livesay doubled up on his trophies from that event, and I won the Mercury Bassmaster Drain the Lake Challenge in our staff group. Now I get to make myself a certificate and write my name up on the Fantasy Fishing marker board as the winner.
Actually, girls ruled this week in the office competitions. I took home the Drain the Lake title, and my friend Allison W. took home the Rapala Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing and the Monster Bag (we just guess what the biggest bag will weigh) titles.
Most fans are concerned with the Progressive Bassmaster Angler of the Year race, but in the office, most of us are concerned with the Fantasy Fishing and Drain the Lake AOY titles. I came in second place two years ago, top five last year and I’m probably out of contention this year. Fork was good to me but not a miracle worker.
Bassmaster LIVE host Tommy Sanders is still dominating our Fantasy Fishing leaderboard, and B.A.S.S. Digital VP Jim Sexton is leading Drain the Lake. With only four events left they all matter. So, for the Whataburger Bassmaster Elite at Pickwick Lake we will need a lot of points!
After five events, I’m still using my handy dandy spreadsheet, but without a lot of Elite history to use, I went back to find some Bassmaster Opens and College Series stats to help make my picks. I used to work the College Series events as a Tournament Coordinator, and I remembered we had a few Wild Card events on Pickwick a few years ago. The 2014 results have a lot of familiar names in them.
Justin Atkins finished third in the college event, Mike Huff ninth, Patrick Walters 18th, right in front of our own Ronnie Moore who finished 19th. That’s also the tournament where I learned what a magnum spoon (a Ben Parker spoon to be exact) was. I never knew you could catch fish on a shiny, flat piece of metal, but Randall Morris and Dalton Wilson sure did. They brought in around 27 pounds one day of the event, and they would end up winning.
BUCKET A: CORY JOHNSTON
This bucket was a tough sell for me. I was trying to choose between Cory Johnston (third place in 2021), Patrick Walters, Brandon Lester, David Mullins and Drew Cook. Lester and Mullins are sort of obvious options because it’s on the Tennessee River. Walters and Johnston had good past events there, but my final choice at least for today is Johnston. (Yeah, I’m 95% sure I will go with Johnston.)
Last minute Wednesday night choice: Patrick Walters
BUCKET B: WEBSTER
Joseph Webster had a top five finish in the Bassmaster Open on Pickwick last year, and he’s from Alabama. I haven’t picked a rookie in two events so I guess I’ll go with him. Rookie Jay Przekurat also had a good event at the 2021 Open with a 17th-place finish. He might be another rookie to watch here.
Backup pick: Tyler Rivet
BUCKET C: PIPKENS
I picked Chad Pipkens last week for Fantasy and then heard that LeHew was having a good week, so I switched my picks out the night before. I’ll go back to Pipkens this week. He had a Top 10 at Pickwick last year, so maybe he will repeat (or do better).
Backup pick: Ray Hanselman
BUCKET D: MOSLEY
Even though Brock Mosley is the highest selected in this bucket, I’m picking him. I hate doing that, but it kept me from picking Lee Livesay last week at Fork, and where did that leave me? Caleb Sumrall was another angler I wanted to pick and maybe rookie Cody Huff. He finished 25th in the Open here last year.
Backup pick: Caleb Sumrall
BUCKET E: KREIGER
Koby Kreiger had a an 11th-place finish last year at the Pickwick Elite. Also, my mom’s maiden name is Krieger (pronounced the same but spelled differently) so maybe a little family connection will bring us both some luck. Both mean warrior in German. I think Pickwick is German for “not gonna be your week,” but we shall see.
Backup pick: Bryan Schmitt
Mercury Bassmaster Drain the Lake Challenge
• Tyler Rivet
• Brock Mosley
• Chad Pipkens
• Cory Johnston
• Hank Cherry
• Michael Iaconelli
• Koby Kreiger
• Joseph Webster
Good luck, everyone!