Well here we are, the last Bassmaster Elite Series event of the year. What a whirlwind the last eight months have been. Only one victory this year and middle of the pack overall. It looks like Tommy Sanders, who started the year off leading Rapala Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing, will take the B.A.S.S. group’s crown, and the Mercury Bassmaster Drain the Lake Challenge overall B.A.S.S. winner will come down to Ronnie Moore or Kyle Jessie.
In the pundits group I am dead last in Drain the Lake, who would have guessed? Actually, I think Kyle Jessie predicted that would happen. But I am not last in Fantasy Fishing. That prize spot goes to none other than golden boy columnist Pete Robbins. He turns in every column before the due date, and here I am writing mine the day after it is due.
This year was my first year writing a column/blog for the Fantasy games. I think I was asked to start writing them by VP of Digital Jim Sexton as a curse. I think my past two-year streak made Jim nervous, and he came up with a way to defeat me.
I cannot share the knowledge of fishing techniques, lake conditions or the best baits that will work at each of the stops on the Elite tour. But I will always have my handy-dandy spreadsheet — OK, it didn’t work too well this year — as well as memes and other variables to get me through another season, and it has been a blast.
I have mentioned in previous columns that we take this very seriously in the office. We have a huge whiteboard wall in the office where we keep track of the winners from each event. For my last column I would like to share that list with the ones, maybe 10s, of you that read this.
|Tournament||Fantasy Fishing||Drain the Lake Challenge|
|Classic||Tommy Sanders||Jim Sexton|
|Elite – St. Johns||Tommy Sanders||Tim Sullivan|
|Elite – Harris Chain||Tim Carini||P. Henderson|
|Elite – Santee Cooper||Tommy Sanders||Laurie Tisdale|
|Elite – Chickamauga||Jim Sexton||Kyle Jessie|
|Elite – Lake Fork||Allison Winkler||Emily Hand|
|Elite – Pickwick||Mike Suchan||Ronnie Moore|
|Elite – St. Lawrence||Breanne Jackson||Mike Suchan|
|Elite – Lake Oahe||Tim Carini||Ronnie Moore|
|Elite – Mississippi River||TBD||TBD|
BUCKET A: WALTERS
I should probably pick someone with a little history on the river, but I’m going to pick Patrick Walters. Also on our whiteboard we make predictions for Progressive Bassmaster Angler of the Year at the beginning of the year, and Walters was my pick. I saw him win a college event in Georgetown, S.C., on Winyah Bay and that was river-ish, maybe?
Backup pick – Stetson Blaylock
BUCKET B: POWROZNIK
Jacob Powroznik had a second-place finish the last time we had an Elite here in 2018. Maybe he will have a similar event. He also had a 40th-place finish in 2016. Now that I have selected him, he will most definitely finish out of the cut.
Backup pick – Clifford Pirch
BUCKET C: SHRYOCK
Hunter Shryock had a top 20 finish in 2018, and he now lives close to the Tennessee River, which makes perfect sense for this selection.
Backup pick – Bryan Schmitt
BUCKET D: KENNEDY
College football season is about to start and as an Auburn University grad I love seeing Steve Kennedy walk across the stage in his Auburn hat. So, War Eagle!
Backup pick – Justin Atkins
BUCKET E: AOKI
I was torn between Daisuke Aoki and Alex Redwine, another rookie.
Backup pick – Mike Iaconelli
Mercury Bassmaster Drain the Lake Challenge
• Hunter Shryock
• Seth Feider
• Bob Downey
• David Williams
• Jay Przekurat
• Daisuke Aoki
• Matty Wong
• Caleb Kuphall
If we could predict the winners, this would be a breeze and a lot less fun. I was going to try and predict which staff members might win this week. Fantasy Fishing would be very hard to guess.
We have very talented players around the office, but if I had to guess from our Drain the Lake players who have played every week, I would guess Kerri B. might have a good chance to win this week. She has played every week, but for the first few weeks only picked five players, so she has a few more options than some of us do. The odds are definitely in her favor.
Good luck, everyone!