Fantasy Fishing: You should have picked Christie

MANY, La. — The theme of the 2017 Bassmaster Elite Series seems to be a week late on the best bite of the year. That seemed to be true during the Bassmaster Elite at Toledo Bend presented by Econo Lodge. Numerous local anglers mentioned that the bulk of fish were on beds and biting fiercely just a week or two before the tournament began.

Nevertheless, the best bass anglers in the world showed up and showed off Toledo Bend Reservoir, which is a giant body of water along the Texas/Louisiana border. Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., was the best Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing selection among the 110 anglers.

Rookie Jamie Hartman of Newport, N.Y., maintained a strong lead for two days while Christie and John Murray of Spring City, Tenn., closed the gap on Championship Sunday.

Murray, a West Coast bass fishing legend, brought in an impressive 24-pound, 15-ounce final-day limit to take home his first Elite Series title since he joined the trail. His four-day total of 77-10 was nearly 20 pounds shy of Kevin VanDam’s 2016 victory, but the time of year and the bass in a postspawn transition was likely to blame on reduced weights.

BigfishNamo83” was the Fantasy Fishing Toledo Bend champion placing three of his five picks in the Top 12.

BigfishNamo83’s” selections:

Bucket A: Jason Christie, 335 points

B: Jamie Hartman, 300

C: Michael Iaconelli, 233

D: Brandon Palaniuk, 280

E: Skeet Reese, 207

Total: 1,355

Bpalmer8” is currently leading the 2017 Fantasy Fishing season with a total of 4,919 points after a solid showing at Toledo Bend.

Bpalmer8’s” team:

Bucket A: Jacob Wheeler, 305 points

B: Todd Faircloth, 268

C: Edwin Evers, 225

D: Matt Lee, 254

E: Takahiro Omori, 195

Total: 1,247

The Bend’s perfect team:

Bucket A: Jason Christie, 335 points

B: Jamie Hartman, 300

C: John Murray, 305

D: Brandon Palaniuk, 280

E: Drew Benton, 221

Total: 1,441

BUCKET A: CHRISTIE

Jason Christie is one of the most consistent anglers on tour, and a near win at Toledo Bend should be of no surprise. He earned his 5.8-percent ownership 335 points after a second-place finish. He earned 295 points for finishing second and 40 bonus points for catching the tournament’s Phoenix Boats Big Bass, which weighed 9-10.

The second best selection in Bucket A was Andy Montgomery who earned his 1.5-percent ownership 276 points after a strong sixth-place finish. This type of tournament set up well for Montgomery, especially when docks are as plentiful as they are at Toledo Bend.

The worst pick in this bucket was an ultra surprising Randall Tharp who held a strong 8.7-percent ownership coming into the event, but after a tough 109th-place finish, he produced only 57 points for his loyal supporters. Don’t worry about Tharp, though, he’ll bounce back strong.

BUCKET B: HARTMAN

Hartman almost won his very first Elite Series event at the 2017 Elite Series opener on Tennessee’s Cherokee Lake, and he almost won again at Toledo Bend. Sure losing hurts, but his career is off to a great start and you can expect a lot more from Hartman this year. The New York native finished in an impressive third place, and earned his 0.5-pecent ownership 290 points for his finish, five bonus points per day of leading the event (2), which totaled 10 bonus points pushing to his final tally to 300 points.

The second best selection was Casey Ashley of Donalds, S.C., who had a very strong showing at The Bend having earned his 2.6-percent ownership 285 points after a fourth-place finish.

The worst selection in Bucket B was Stephen Browning, who made the Top 12 cut last year, but unfortunately finished in 106th this year earning his 0.3-percent ownership only 63 points.

BUCKET C: MURRAY

A legendary angler in his own right, Murray won this year’s event and earned his 0.1-percent ownership 305 points. Murray’s win was long overdue, and celebrated by many anglers who stuck around to watch him finally hold his blue trophy high. Murray earned 300 points for winning and five bonus points for leading the final day.

The second best selection in Bucket C was Arizona native Brett Hite who earned his 6.5-percent ownership 264 points after a solid ninth-place finish.

The worst selection in Bucket C was this year’s Okeechobee champion Timmy Horton who earned his 1.6-percent ownership 81 points following a 97th-place finish.

BUCKET D: PALANIUK

Brandon Palaniuk of Hayden, Idaho, was the worst selection in Bucket C for the Classic, but he turned that ship around with a very solid finish at Toledo Bend earning his 19.1-percent ownership 280 points after a stellar fifth-place finish.

The second best selection was Alabama’s Randy Howell who earned his 10.5-percent ownership 257 points after an 11th-place finish.

The worst pick in Bucket D was rookie Tyler Carriere who finished in 107th place and earned his 0.6-percent ownership only 61 points.

BUCKET E: BENTON

After a surprisingly rough start to his season, Drew Benton of Panama City, Fla., and the 2016 Rookie of the Year, finished in 27th place to earn his 3.8-percent ownership 221 points.

The second best selection was California’s Skeet Reese who garnered 207 points for his 15.7-percent ownership

The worst selection in the final bucket was rookie Robbie Latuso who finished in 110th place and earned his 0.5-perecnt ownership only 55 points.

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