It’s time for the final Bassmaster Elite Series event of the year, and as always when we get to the end of the season, there is a lot on the line at the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Mississippi River. As a fan of shallow-water power fishing, I have always enjoyed events on the Upper Mississippi River. They are some of the most visually appealing events with topwater blowups and flipping, yet there’s still the option to target smallmouth.
The weights will inevitably be stacked, and anglers will slide up and down the leaderboard each day of the event which is another reason this event has the potential to be a fun one.
After a colossal Fantasy Fishing meltdown at Lake Oahe, I’m going with my gut when it comes to Rapala Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing. As for Mercury Bassmaster Drain the Lake Challenge, I’m currently ranked 94th (99.5%) in the world and still have some strategically placed anglers left for this event.
Let’s get into my picks.
BUCKET A: PRZEKURAT
Jay Przekurat is undoubtably one of the hottest anglers on the Elite Series right now with back-to-back finishes of 13th place or better with a win at the St. Lawrence in that stretch. With that said, Przekurat has a wealth of knowledge fishing the Mississippi River and has looked forward to this event all year. As the current leader in Falcon Rods Bassmaster Rookie of the Year points, the Wisconsin native has plenty to fish for this week.
Solid secondary selection: If you’re looking for an angler with a lower player percentage, Gerald Swindle may be your pick. After back-to-back finesse smallmouth events, it’s fair to assume that Swindle is ready to do a little bit of power fishing.
BUCKET B: HACKNEY
Greg Hackney is another angler that is likely ready to switch gears and fish the way he likes. The Louisiana pro has experienced a couple of good events on the Mississippi River and a couple of bad ones, but expect him to finish the season strong with a solid finish this go-round. Anytime an event has the potential of being a shallow-water power fishing event, Hackney is likely going to be on my roster.
Solid secondary selection: Caleb Kuphall has established himself as a shallow-water hammer over the last couple of seasons, and the Mississippi River should suit his style perfectly. The Wisconsin native is also sure to have a decent bit of history on the river as well.
BUCKET C: LOWEN
Sticking with the theme of anglers who are ready to shallow-water power fish, Bill Lowen gets the nod in Bucket C. Sitting just a few spots outside of the Classic cut, Lowen needs to have a good final event to have a chance of making his 12th Bassmaster Classic. Also, in four Elite Series events at the Mississippi River, Lowen has made three cuts, including a seventh-place finish back in 2012.
Solid secondary selection: It was really a toss-up in Bucket C between Bill Lowen and Caleb Sumrall. The Louisiana pro is in a similar spot to Lowen in that he needs a good event to stay inside the Classic cut. In his lone Elite Series trip to the Mississippi River, Sumrall finished just inside the cut at 48th.
BUCKET D: LOGAN
Wes Logan may not have the same tournament experience on the Mississippi River as some of the veterans on the Elite Series, but from a style standpoint this event sets up perfectly for the Alabama native. Back in 2019, Logan finished third on the Mississippi River in a Bassmaster Open on his way to qualifying for the Elite Series. Look for Logan to go for broke and try to win this event and make his second Bassmaster Classic.
Solid secondary selection: At a significantly lower player percentage, Jake Whitaker is a great option in Bucket D. The North Carolina pro is coming off of his best finish of the season at Lake Oahe, and he loves to throw a frog which should be a player on the Mississippi River.
BUCKET E: COMBS
It’s no secret that Keith Combs hasn’t had the season he wanted, but with a “win and you’re in” format for the last event, he could be dangerous. In four Elite Series trips to the Mississippi River, Combs has three finishes of 32nd or better.
Solid secondary selection: If you don’t mind the high player percentage, Kyle Welcher is a perfect stylistic fit for the Mississippi River. The Alabama pro is having an unexpectedly tough season, but expect him to go for the win this week.
Mercury Bassmaster Drain the Lake Challenge
• Josh Douglas
• Bob Downey
• Seth Feider
• Caleb Kuphall
• Wes Logan
• Bill Lowen
• Jay Przekurat
• Gerald Swindle