Fantasy Fishing: Ehrler tops Fantasy Fishing picks at Texas Fest

LUFKIN, Texas — One of the finest big-bass factories in Texas did not disappoint at the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on Sam Rayburn Reservoir.

Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing players went all-in on the Bassmaster Elite Series anglers who have a history of doing well in Texas, and at the event formally known as the Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TTBC).

The format was nearly the same as the previous events as anglers weighed fish on the boat, recorded the weight and immediately released each bass. The only exception was if any angler caught a bass over 21 inches, they were required to bring one in for research with the TPWD. The big bass were later released alive.

There were certainly some surprises at this event, however watching the young and highly talented Brandon Palaniuk of Hayden, Idaho, claim the coveted $100,000 paycheck along with a sole berth to the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods was long overdue, but hardly a surprise.

Palaniuk won with an impressive 93-12 four-day limit of bass.

It was also no surprise to see California angler Brent Ehrler — former TTBC champion — earn the runner-up slot, and win the Toyota Tundra reserved for the angler to weighed the biggest bass of the event, which tipped the scales at an impressive 9 pounds and 1 ounce. His four-day total was 91-12.

It should also come as no surprise that Ehrler was the best pick among this week’s Fantasy Fishing selections. He earned his 9.4-percent ownership 345 points.

Sam Rayburn

“Wilson56” was the Fantasy Fishing Texas Fest on Sam Rayburn Fantasy Fishing champion posting a top score of 1,325 points.

“Wilson56’s” selections:

Bucket A: Jacob Wheeler, 290 points

B: Brent Ehrler, 345

C: Aaron Martens, 219

D: Drew Benton, 195

E: Greg Vinson, 276

Total: 1,325

At the halfway point, “SowsChoice” is currently leading the 2017 Fantasy Fishing season with a total of 6,931 points

“SowsChoice” team for Ross Barnett:

Bucket A: Kevin VanDam, 171 points

B: Brent Ehrler, 345

C: Aaron Martens, 219

D: Jacob Powroznik, 197

E: Tommy Biffle, 217

Total: 1,149

Sam Rayburn’s perfect team:

Bucket A: Brandon Palaniuk, 310 points

B: Brent Ehrler, 345

C: Kelly Jaye, 260

D: Alton Jones Jr., 308

E: Greg Vinson, 276

Total: 1,499

BUCKET A: PALANIUK

Palaniuk wasn’t the top pick in this bucket, but he did earn his loyal 1.5-percent ownership 310 points. He produced 300 points for the win, and five bonus points per day of leading the event.

The second best selection in Bucket A was Jacob Wheeler of Indianapolis, Ind., who remained consistent and earned his 2.9-percent ownership 290 points after finishing in third place.

The worst pick in this bucket was Keith Poche of Pike Road, Ala., who endured a tough tournament and earned his 0.2-percent ownership only 75 points.

BUCKET B: EHRLER

If a 9-pound bass guaranteed a win, Ehrler would have won the Classic and Texas Fest, having weighed one in each event so far this year. And both times he came up short and had to settle for second place. He was certainly a bargain in Bucket B with 9.4-percent ownership, for which he produced 345 points for his second second-place finish of the year. He earned 295 points for second place, five points per day of leading the event (2) and 40 bonus points for catching the event’s largest bas.

The second-best selection was Hank Cherry who produced 280 points for his 0.3-percent ownership after a fifth-place finish.

The worst selection in this bucket was Andy Montgomery who earned his 2.3-percent ownership 95 points after finishing 90th place.

BUCKET C: JAYE

Kelly Jaye of Dadeville, Ala., has been relatively quiet, but after a solid 10th-place finish he’s sitting in the middle of the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings, and earned his 0.1-percent ownership 260 points.

The second best selection in Bucket C was Tennessee pro David Mullins who earned his 0.6-percent ownership 245 points

The worst selection in Bucket C was Timmy Horton who finished in 107th placing having earned his 7.2-percent ownership only 61 points.

BUCKET D: JONES JR.

Alton Jones Jr. was a popular selection in Bucket D claiming 14.8 percent of the ownership, and his faithful were proved correct in their assumption after the younger Jones finished in eighth place. He earned 40 bonus points of the 308 points after weighing the heaviest limit of the event on Day 2 with 26-10. Interestingly, following Texas Fest, both Alton Jones and Alton Jones Jr. are tied in the AOY standings with 286 points. That puts the elder jones in 52nd place and Jones Jr. in 53rd.

The second best selection was Cliff Crochet who finished in ninth and earned his 12-percent ownership 264 points.

The worst pick in Bucket D was Shane Lineberger who earned his 0.1-percent ownership 57 points after finishing at the back of the pack.

BUCKET E: VINSON

Greg Vinson of Wetumpka, Ala., was the top choice in Bucket E after finishing in sixth place having earned his 0.3-percent ownership 276 points.

The second best pick was Oklahoma pro Tommy Biffle who earned his 2.4-percent ownership 217 points for a respectable 29th-place finish.

The worst selection in the final bucket was Paul Elias who finished in 105th having earned his 0.7-percent ownership only 65 points.

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