Evers and VanDam remain the top Classic picks


James Overstreet

Edwin Evers captivated fans in the Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing group on Facebook. They voted for him over and over in a whittling-down of the Classic fan favorite.

I don’t want to blow your mind or anything, but … fans think that Edwin Evers or Kevin VanDam will win the 2016 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.

It wasn’t entirely predictable. Aaron Martens and Jason Christie were heavy favorites, too. But when it came down to head-to-head battles, the man who won two Bassmaster Elite Series events last year and grew up on Grand Lake was sitting at the top alongside the man many call The Legend.

This whole poll started a few weeks ago. I conducted it — wholly unscientifically — in our Fantasy Fishing group on Facebook and among our fans on Twitter. I pit four anglers at a time against each other over and over again, hoping to whittle down to the overall fan favorite. It didn’t quite work out.

Why not? Because the fans on Facebook chose Evers in the very beginning and never dropped him — even when he went up against the likes of VanDam, Christie, Martens and Mike Iaconelli. And because the fans on Twitter chose Martens over Evers, then chose VanDam over Martens. So I didn’t get a clear fan favorite.

Here’s how it all shook out.

After two weeks of voting, we got down to the group of Marty Robinson, Mark Davis, Brandon Lester and Brandon Card. Davis won both polls, Twitter with 53% and Facebook with 55%.

The next vote was a choice among Mike Iaconelli, James Elam, Chad Morgenthaler and Billy McCaghren. Iaconelli won by the biggest margin of any of the polls so far, 81% on Twitter and 68% on Facebook.

“I will always vote for Ike!” wrote Twitter follower @fishingwithDom.

Then we moved into the group of Opens anglers who qualified for the Classic: James Watson, Brandon McMillan, Whitney Stephens, Chris Dillow and Gene Bishop. Watson won both, Twitter with 45% and Facebook with 51%.

Facebook fan J. Paul Sansing has the best logic I’ve ever heard for why Watson will win.

“Sure, he can fish,” wrote Sansing, “but he also wrestles giraffes and only dates supermodels. The interwebz told me so.”

Then, we asked fans which of the B.A.S.S. Nation qualifiers had the best chance: Albert Collins, Greg Vance, Fabian Rodriguez, John Proctor, Charles Sim and Levi McNeill. The vote was split. Twitter said Proctor with 31%, and Facebook said Collins with 33%.

OK, enough with the narrowing down. Let’s get to the meat of this thing.

We pitted the anglers with the highest votes from Twitter against each other: VanDam, Davis, Iaconelli and Watson. VanDam won hands-down, with 75% of the vote.

And we did the same on Facebook: Evers, Iaconelli, Watson, Collins and Davis. Evers got 48% of the vote.

Although Iaconelli gave them both a run for their money, VanDam and Evers prevailed. What does this tell you? Not much, other than that when Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing opens today, that’s about how the buckets will stack up.

I will point out, though, like I did in a previous article, that the fan favorite for the 2015 Classic was Casey Ashley and, well, you know how that went.

Other anglers who pulled very strong support were Martens, Palaniuk, Elam, Christie, Brent Ehrler, Greg Hackney, Alton Jones, Chris Lane and Todd Faircloth. So if you’re looking for someone to root for who gets lots of votes but just isn’t at the very top of the pile, consider them.

Enough of this polling stuff: Let’s get to the Classic! It’s only a couple of weeks away. If you’re ready to pick your own favorites, go set a team in Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing.

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