GREENVILLE, S.C. — With the 2015 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro behind us, now we can look back with 20/20 hindsight at Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing teams we created.
Here is the perfect team:
Bucket A: Dean Rojas, 330 points
B: Casey Ashley, 305
C: Michael Iaconelli, 276
D: Bobby Lane/Takahiro Omori, 295
E. Jacob Wheeler, 248
The highest score any Fantasy Fishing player could have achieved was 1,454. Two players earned that score, so the new tiebreaker feature in Fantasy Fishing came in handy! (Be sure to make your best guess each tournament!)
Bucket A is notoriously the toughest bucket to choose from. It’s filled with high-talent anglers with a low failure rate. Most of the pundit picks articles before a tournament focus most heavily on this all-star bucket.
In this case, the best competitor by far in A was Dean Rojas with 330 points, thanks to his fourth-place finish added to a 5-point bonus for leading on Day 1 and a 40-point bonus for catching the biggest bag of the tournament.
Jacob Powroznik finished the tournament only one place behind Rojas, but his lack of bonuses put his Fantasy Fishing owners a solid 50 points behind Rojas owners, with 280 points.
Rojas was the second-least popular pick in A, with only 1.3 percent of players having faith in the longtime big-bag record holder. Aaron Martens swept the bucket by being the highest-owned at 28.6 percent. He didn’t even make the Day 3 cut, but his 40-point big-bass bonus made up for it. He ended with 255 points.
Cliff Pace and Greg Hackney were the second-most popular picks behind Martens, but they were the worst performers. If you’re among the 31 percent of players who chose either Pace or Hackney, you were beaten by more than 100 points by the Rojas owners.
This one was easy. Casey Ashley was the heavy favorite going into the tournament, and 48.4 percent of players chose him. He earned 305 points for his owners. And if you were one of the 51.6 percent of people who didn’t jump on the bandwagon, you lost this bucket by a minimum of 41 points to all the Ashley pickers.
Justin Lucas was the second-best scorer in this bucket with 264 points, but only 1.6 percent chose him.
Brandon Palaniuk was the second-most-popular pick at 16.3 percent, but he was the worst performer. His owners earned only 169 points, a painful 136-point difference between them and the hordes of Ashley fans.
Mike Iaconelli was the most popular pick in Bucket C with 32.8 percent of the vote, and he delivered with 276 points. But if you are among the 25 percent of players who chose Mike McClelland or Brett Hite, you didn’t do too bad. Hite was only 4 points behind Iaconelli, and McClelland was only 8 points behind.
Edwin Evers was the second-most popular pick with 29.6 percent, and he earned a middle-of-the-road 211 points.
The worst performers were also among the least chosen: Morizo Shimizu, Paul Elias and Cliff Crochet.
It was a tie in Bucket D. Bobby Lane finished in second place in the Classic and Takahiro Omori finished third, but Omori led on Day 2, earning the 5-point daily leader bonus that made him even in Fantasy Fishing points with Lane.
Omori and Lane delivered 295 points to the 14.4 percent of players who picked them.
The favorite in the bucket was Ott DeFoe, who was owned by 41.1 percent of players and earned 257 points for them.
Andy Montgomery was owned by a hefty 23.6 percent of players, but he only put up 189 points.
Jacob Wheeler made a sign on his dash that said “E??!!” because he felt he didn’t belong in this bucket, and he used it as inspiration to perform well during the Classic.
He made good on that, earning 248 points and winning Bucket E for his 56.7 percent of owners.
But the 3.8 percent of players who chose Coby Carden did almost as well with 245 points.
The real pain in this bucket goes to the players who chose Troy Diede and Van Soles. Because they weighed in zero fish, they earned zero points. Which means that their collective 1.7 percent of owners were 248 points behind the Wheeler owners.
In the Fantasy Fishing game for the Classic, you have to score a perfect bucket for it to count toward anything because the only prize is for the overall winner. Your points for this tournament do not carry forward into the upcoming Bassmaster Elite Series season, so whether you did well or poorly, your slate will be wiped clean for 2015.
Good luck this season! If you want to discuss your picks throughout the year, join the Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing group on Facebook.