Fantasy Fishing

Fantasy Fishing: Water is low and so are expectations

OK, so letting my nieces and nephew help me pick my team for the last event was a bust. It’s been a few weeks, and I just stopped shunning them for the shameful performance they had.

The Lake Fork event always seems to be a favorite for most of us here. The famed big bass fishery usually puts on a good show, and what kind of social media editor would I be if I didn’t point you in the direction of our YouTube channel to watch some of the coverage from last year? Click here to watch some of the most exciting footage we have from the 2021 event. If you missed it, you have to check it out! If you’ve watched it, rewatch it. I guarantee it will get you pumped for the 2022 Simms Bassmaster Elite at Lake Fork.

I started this year using my spreadsheet with all the past results, then switched up to a random selection, this time I’m going to utilize both. Nothing else I have done this year has worked, so we will just roll with the punches. It’s been so long since we last played, so I’m hoping a little reset is what we all (those of us who are struggling) need.

Kyle Jessie came over to my cubicle the other day to remind me to write this column, and he said his golden boy Pete Robbins had already written his and turned it in days ago. I’m indecisive and a procrastinator, so he will get this column the day it is due and not a second before. He also told me that the water levels are lower than usual for this time of year. As if that should or would mean something to me. I understand it’s a lake with a lot of stumps/trees in it. I’ve skimmed over a few issues (pages) of Bassmaster Magazine so I understand those conditions make for good fish habitats, but beyond that, it means nothing to me. Maybe by the end of B.A.S.S. 101 (a class we have at work to teach some of us about fishing), I will understand it more. Probably still won’t affect my selections for Rapala Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing.


I really wanted to pick Patrick Walters, but I cannot pick the highest selected person. I can’t. I won’t. For the last three years at Lake Fork, Stetson Blaylock has had consistent good finishes, finishing 26th or higher.

Backup pick: Brandon Palaniuk


Even though Chris Zaldain is an obvious pick here, Seth Feider actually has the same average finish on Fork as Zaldain. With a 12th-, 11th- and sixth-place finish he’s moving in the right direction. My friend Mandy P. always picks Feider, so I’m copying her on this one.

Backup pick: Chris Johnston


I want to pick Brandon Card, Matt Herren and Jay Yelas. I’m going to pick Yelas. He hasn’t finished outside of the top 20 since we went to Fork in 2019. Of course, me saying this will probably jinx it, so sorry Jay!

Backup pick: Brandon Card


Isn’t this where the video clip of Chad Pipkens screaming “personal best” came from? All the clips merge together and blur a little bit. But if he is wearing a pastel color pant it should be a good day for Pipkens.

Backup pick: Masayuki Matsushita


This bucket was tough. The obvious choice is Keith Combs, but I can’t do it. I can’t pick the most popular angler in the buckets. I want to pick Justin Atkins, but every time I pick him I think it’s bad luck. I can’t do that to him. So, I’m going with Skylar Hamilton because I haven’t cursed him by picking him yet. Hamilton it is!

Backup pick: Justin Atkins (Y’all can pick him, I can’t.)

Mercury Bassmaster Drain the Lake Challenge

• Lee Livesay
• Jay Yelas
• Keith Combs
• Chris Zaldain
• Brandon Palaniuk
• Joshua Stracner
• Skylar Hamilton
• Joshua Douglas

Just an update on the staff leaderboards, Tommy Sander is still the king of Fantasy Fishing. In the last few years, the girls in the office have had so much good luck, this year my friend and co-worker Natalie Landers (editorial assistant) is carrying the girls and holding her own in third place. And for Drain the Lake if you want a Kerri B. update, since she started picking a complete roster she hasn’t come in last.

Good luck, everybody!