Quick turnaround this week, guys. The Western swing continues after the Sacramento River event. Congratulations to Justin Lucas on the win. Next up: Lake Havasu.
We have a little history and a few locals for this event as well. Should be another event where you can make up ground or lose a lot of it because a few Elite Series pros with little to no experience on the lake will figure something out and make a run at this thing.
I will be making my Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing picks based off deep, clear water; momentum; history; ownership percentage (in an effort to maximize the ability to gain ground); and the ever-unreliable gut feelings. After the Sacramento event, I went from 84 percent to 88.5 percent, so I’m slowly making up ground.
Dean Rojas and Clifford Pirch have experience and are local to Havasu. Aaron Martens, Ish Monroe and Skeet Reese have been here before as well. Rojas has momentum and local knowledge in spades. He also has about 60 percent ownership.
I don’t doubt for a second Rojas will do well here, but I need to make up ground — and the one guy with a lower percentage and a great chance to win is Cliff Pirch.
Picking: At 6 percent ownership, I’ll take my chances here with Cliff Pirch
Gut says: Rojas, but Martens in a deep, clear lake sounds like a win-win as well.
Maggie says KVD because she has a picture signed by him, and Sam is picking with his heart and taking fan favorite KVD.
Brent Ehrler is garnering about 45 percent of the ownership here. He has had some success here recently, too. Because I am bucking the trend in Bucket A, I think I will do the same in Bucket B and again try to make up ground.
So who can beat Ehrler in this bucket? A few come to mind.
Picking: David Walker. Aside from the Sabine, Walker is having a great season and has some momentum. I can see him doing well here.
Gut says: The crowd might get this right, too, with Ehrler. I would also look for Ken Iyobe to place well.
Sam and Maggie say Todd Faircloth because he is another of their favorites.
The third bucket out of three is going heavy with one angler. This time, Western angler Brett Hite has a clear advantage. The mobs are going heavy on Rojas, Ehrler and Hite, and it is hard to argue with them logically.
Picking: Brett Hite. With three top-heavy buckets, odds are good one or two of these odds-on favorites are going to win their bucket and maybe the event. This bucket offers the biggest advantage of the first three in my opinion.
Gut says: Take Matt Lee. There have been several college events on Havasu. I think the college guys seem to network very well, and I anticipate both Lees doing well.
Maggie says Ott DeFoe because she drew him in her Classic pool and he is a good fisherman. Sam is taking Edwin Evers because he likes the sound of his name.
There is more local flavor in this bucket than B or C. John Murray, Josh Bertrand, Jared Lintner, Brandon Palaniuk and Byron Velvick all are Western anglers. Murray offers the most experience on this water.
Picking: Josh Bertrand at less than 10% and with some success here recently I like his chances to help my chances.
Gut says: A couple great lakes area guys who are used to deep clear water may fare well. Seth Feider, Jonathon VanDam and Chad Pipkens come to mind.
Sam is taking Jonathon VanDam, hoping he does some VanDamage on Havasu, and Maggie says pip Pickens or pick pippens or pink peppers or just pick Pipkens.
This bucket has some anglers who are now starting to feel the pinch of the season. The questions of qualifying for the Classic are likely starting to creep in. I am looking for someone who will not get spun out.
Picking: Stephen Kennedy. He does well in this type of water. He may pick up a swimbait and get to work on them. He is too good an angler to not have some success during the season and I feel this lake sets up well for Kennedy.
Gut says: Rick Clunn. He has fished here before and the stress of the season is likely less pressing to Clunn. I expect him to go fishing, and use his calm demeanor and vast knowledge to figure something out and catch some fish.
Sam is thinking Randall Tharp gets it all back on track this week, and Maggie is sticking with her other favorite, Morizo “Big Momma” Shimizu.