Fantasy: Rowland rules on Dardanelle

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. — If you didn’t get your Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing picks for Dardanelle right, don’t worry. No one did.

Here are the anglers who made up the perfect team for Fantasy:

Bucket A: Greg Hackney, 300 points

Bucket B: Jason Christie, 305

Bucket C: Rick Clunn, 285

Bucket D: Mike Iaconelli, 276

Bucket E: Zell Rowland, 321

Total: 1,487 points

No Fantasy Fishing player achieved a score that high.

Zell Rowland’s big bass on Day 2 made him the best Fantasy Fishing pick of all. With his Carhartt Big Bass of the tournament, he earned more than 100 points better than anyone else in the bucket.

Here’s how each bucket breaks down:

Bucket A: Hackney

A moderate number of players chose Hackney, with 4.7 percent ownership, and with two days of leader points and a third-place finish, he scored 300 points for his fans. And 1 percent of players chose Keith Combs, who delivered 280 points.

Gerald Swindle, who finished in second place, performed well for his very small number of owners (0.9 percent) with 295 points.

Mark Davis, who had very small ownership percentages until now, finally picked up a huge number of owners at 33.2 percent. But they jumped on the Davis train too late. He outscored most other anglers the last several events, but this time, he was a letdown. He only delivered 113 points.

Other big letdowns were Randall Tharp, 8.5 percent, 115 points, and Kevin VanDam, 17.7 percent, 133 points.

Look at it this way: If you were one of the 6.6 percent of people who chose Hackney, Swindle or Combs, you beat 59.4 percent of players — those who chose Davis, Tharp or VanDam – by an average of 170 points.

Bucket B: Christie

Jason Christie had a solid number of owners at 13.6 percent. Those owners are sitting pretty with at least a 33-point advantage over anyone else in Bucket B.

The next-closest angler was Cliff Crochet with 272 points and a 3.3 percent ownership. And John Crews was not far behind with 269 points, although a scant 1.5 percent of owners got to enjoy that.

Randy Howell’s Fantasy Fishing owners — and there were a lot at 22.2 percent — collected 235 points, which is strong, but it created a 70-point deficit behind the Christie pickers.

Ott DeFoe (11.3 percent) and Brandon Palaniuk (13.7 percent) similarly had high ownership percentages but posted lower scores (225 and 163, respectively).

Bucket C: Clunn

Rick Clunn’s ownership was not nearly as high as it should have been, considering the veteran angler’s tournament history. But with Stephen Browning and Edwin Evers sharing the bucket, he couldn’t garner the vote.

The 2.9 percent of people who believed in Clunn were rewarded with 285 points. The next-closest angler was 25 points back, with another veteran — Paul Elias — who had only 1 percent ownership.

The bandwagoners who chose Browning (26.3 percent) and Evers (34.7 percent) earned only 161 and 229 points, respectively.

In other words, if you were one of the 3.9 percent of people who chose the veterans (Clunn and Elias) over the younger hot sticks (Browning and Evers), you beat 61 percent of the bucket by an average of 77 points.

Anglers with moderate ownership numbers — Fred Roumbanis, 7.9 percent, and Davy Hite, 8.9 percent — gave their fans 101 and 221 points, respectively.

Bucket D: Iaconelli

Mike Iaconelli, despite his lack of helping out Fantasy Fishing players this year, was owned by 11.6 percent of players on Dardanelle. And this time, he was a big help, earning 276 points for his fans.

Chris Zaldain was the next-closest angler with 268 points that he gave to 4.4 percent of players.

Kevin Short was heavily favored for this tournament because it’s his home water. He was owned by 22.5 percent of players, despite the fact that his house was just destroyed by a tornado. Fantasy Fishing players who wanted to choose a local angler but thought Short might be preoccupied with his natural disaster issues went with Billy McCaghren instead, who garnered 9 percent of the vote.

Neither Short nor McCaghren were good choices. Short delivered 149 points, and McCaghren was even worse with 95 points.

Bucket E: Rowland

If you didn’t pick Zell Rowland in Bucket E, you flat-out lost. That means 97.5 percent of players were big losers in E.

Rowland’s big bass and high finish earned 321 points for his fans. The next-closest angler was Kenyon Hill at 213 points. The 2.5 percent of players who picked Rowland had at least 108 points over all the other players.

Most players chose Ish Monroe (24.9 percent) and Greg Vinson (24.5 percent). Those two anglers only posted 153 and 63 points, respectively. Ouch.

If you chose Rowland, you had twice the score of one-quarter of your opponents (the Monroe pickers) and five times the score of another one-quarter of them (Vinson pickers).

This tournament marks the second event in a row in which a Bucket E pick was the defining decision in a lineup. At Toledo Bend, it was Chris Zaldain who gave a huge boost to his Bucket E owners. Never ignore Bucket E.

The buckets are open now for Chickamauga Lake in Tennessee. It’s going to be a very different tournament, scoring-wise, so stay tuned for updates on how Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing will work for that event.