Fantasy Fishing: Can it get better?

We just watched back-to-back weeks where it was an absolute smallmouth smash fest with some flashes of impressive green fish sightings included. Is it possible that things may actually be better at Lake St. Clair? I think, yes.

I do believe there is a chance that the top-end weights could challenge that of the Clayton, N.Y., event, but on top of that, I think the weights to make the Day 3 and 4 cuts are likely to be higher. Just look at the weights from last year’s Angler of the Year Championship event on Lake St. Clair.

It looks like the Canadian waters will be off limits for this event. This will alter the playing field a bit compared to what anglers have fished in the past, but Lake Huron will be in play which may add some interesting wrinkles. 

BUCKET A: SETH FEIDER

There is a lot of Lake St. Clair experience and smallmouth catching talent in Bucket A, but I am keeping my wagon hitched to Seth Feider. He has been fishing out of his mind, almost won Champlain on a mixed bag and he dominated the AOY Championship event last year. On top of that, his wife just gave birth to their second child between the events. More often than not, that is just good bass fishing mojo. 

Backup: If you don’t like the high percentage that Seth is holding down, it’s really hard for me to decide between Paul Mueller and Brandon Palaniuk this week. I'll give a slight nod to Mueller. 

BUCKET B: CHRIS ZALDAIN 

Chris Zaldain has been slowly creeping back into Bassmaster Classic qualifying contention after a rocky start to his season. Zaldain has been flying under the radar, but I think there is a good chance he peaks this week. Not to mention, it really seemed like he was on the verge of something special in last fall’s AOY Championship. I think Zaldain makes some brown magic happen on Lake St. Clair.

Backup: Need an angler with a nose for brown fish and who is deadly with a spinning rod in his hand and who has a low ownership percentage? Then Austin Felix is your guy this week in Bucket B. Quietly Felix finds himself 20th in Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings after a rough Florida start.

BUCKET C: CHRIS JOHNSTON 

I'm tempted by Garrett Paquette being on his home waters, but now that Chris Johnston should be done celebrating his win from a few weeks back, I expect him to be back to business. He should throw down on some big-water smallmouth for this event.

Backup: Cliff Pirch is often in the mix when it comes to smallie fishing. He has been awfully quiet this season, and I think that changes this week.

BUCKET D: DESTIN DEMARION

Destin DeMarion has been holding his own on the northern swing, and I know he got to do a little pre-practicing for this Michigan event. It sounded like he liked what he saw. I like his odds for having a solid event this week.

Backup: Caleb Sumrall had a pretty solid event last September in Lake St. Clair. On the surface it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but then again to be a dark horse it should be a little obscure and risky.

BUCKET E: BRETT PREUETT

Brett Preuett doesn’t have a stellar northern fishery track record, but there is one bright spot — a 18th in 2017 on Lake St. Clair. When you get to this point in the season, the guys in Bucket E are having a rough season. Preuett is my pick to make a little noise this week and breathe some life into his season before the Elite Series heads back south.

Backup: One has to think Lee Livesay is going to get things back on track sooner or later. He got to see this body of water last fall and fared well enough to finish in the middle of the pack. Most of the time, if you can get a Day 3 cut out of your Bucket E pick, you’re doing just fine.