Fantasy: You should've picked Hackney

UNION SPRINGS, N.Y. — Greg Hackney was not only the star of the A.R.E. Truck Caps Bassmaster Elite at Cayuga Lake. He was also the star of Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing, not just because of his win, but also because he caught the biggest bag of the tournament and earned the commensurate 40-point bonus.

Here’s the perfect team:

Bucket A: Greg Hackney, 355 points

B: Edwin Evers, 285

C: Chris Zaldain, 290

D: Brent Chapman, 272

E: James Elam, 209

Total: 1,411

No Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing player picked the perfect team.

Here’s the breakdown, bucket by bucket.

Bucket A: Hackney

Greg Hackney’s 355 points is an impressive number achieved by only one other pro this season — Chris Lane at the St. Johns. It’s 300 points for a win, 40 for a big bag and three days of 5 bonus points for being the leader. So if you were one of the 9.6 percent of people who chose Hackney for Cayuga, you were the fortunate winner of not just points for this tournament but extra overall points leading toward the Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing grand prize.

But, as always, Bucket A is full of good choices that are tough to sort through. The highest number of confidence points went to Aaron Martens, who was chosen by 16.4 percent of players. Although he didn’t perform terribly, his owners got 245 points — strong compared to most of the bucket, yet more than 100 points behind Hackney owners.

Jason Christie, who rarely disappoints, had 12.5 percent of the vote, but he scored the third-lowest of the bucket with 121 points. That’s really tough on his owners, who earned more than 230 points less than Hackney owners. That’s a big swing to be on the losing end of.

Two other high-percentage picks were Dean Rojas, 10.5 percent, 257 points, and Skeet Reese, 11.6 percent, 175 points.

The worst pick of the bucket was Takahiro Omori, who delivered only 95 points. But only 0.6 percent of players chose him, so not many were stuck with such low points.

The next-best picks behind Hackney were Jacob Powroznik, Todd Faircloth and Jared Lintner. Powroznik, who garnered only 2.2 percent of players, earned 316 points for his fans, which includes a 40-point boost for bringing the biggest bass to the scales. Faircloth, with 7.2 percent, got 295 points, and Lintner, with only 0.6 percent, earned 280.

Bucket B: Evers

Edwin Evers, who had a rough start this season, was the biggest points earner in Bucket B with 285. Because he’s been in lower buckets most of the season, he has repeatedly been the highest-owned angler in his respective bucket. That’s not so this time. He had a respectable 11 percent, but that was largely overshadowed by two huge names with whom he shared the bucket: Mike Iaconelli and Kevin VanDam.

Many fans felt Iaconelli’s momentum from his win a couple of weeks ago would lead to another top performance. They were partly right; he did well, but he wasn’t top dog. His 27 percent of fans earned 237 points, which is only about 50 points behind Evers. So he wasn’t a horrible pick, but Evers was obviously better.

Likewise, many fans felt VanDam was going to blow this one out. It was his last shot to make the Bassmaster Classic, and seeing as how he hasn’t missed a Classic since he started fishing professionally in 1991, it seemed like a safe bet that he would go into overdrive on Cayuga and — if he didn’t get a win — would at least deliver a Top 5 performance.

His 21.6 percent of players were left disappointed, though, with only 135 points to their credit. That’s 150 points behind Evers. Ouch. However, this weekend’s tournament was a much bigger blow to Kevin VanDam himself than to Kevin VanDam’s Fantasy Fishing owners. As comfort to those who picked him, you did do better than 12.1 percent of field, who chose lower performers. So there’s that.

The 9.2 percent of Brandon Palaniuk owners can rejoice, thanks to the 273 points he scored for them. He was the next-best pick behind Evers, with only 12 points less than the leader. And Matt Herren was right behind with 260 points, but only 0.7 percent of players reaped that benefit.

Bucket C: Zaldain

Chris Zaldain has been a Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing star this season. Always mired in lower buckets, he’s delivered very strong performances three times, and this was one of them. Zaldain was owned by 8.6 percent of the bucket, and this time, he earned his owners 290 points.

Next behind him was Kevin Short, 26 points back with 264. Short was owned by 5 percent of players. Brandon Lester was the next-best pick with 241 points to his 1.5 percent of players.

The most-picked anglers didn’t deliver well. Fred Roumbanis was the top pick at 19.5 percent, but his owners lost out on nearly 60 valuable points by picking him instead of Zaldain. Roumbanis scored 233.

Behind Roumbanis in popularity were Shaw Grigsby (13.5 percent, 165 points), Chad Pipkens (11.3 percent, 147 points) and Jeff Kriet (10.1 percent, 191 points).

Bucket D: Chapman

Choosing recent Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Brent Chapman in Bucket D was the way to go. He earned 272 points for his fans, and he was chosen by 15.3 percent of players.

Jonathon VanDam was the worst pick in all of Fantasy Fishing two weeks ago on the Delaware River, but regardless, 15.7 percent of players had faith and picked him this time around. He was fifth in the bucket, earning 195 points, but that’s still nearly 80 points behind Chapman.

Ish Monroe, who just moved up from Bucket E to D, was owned by 16.7 percent of fans and came in with 177 points.

The biggest pick of D was Hank Cherry at 28.3 percent, but those fans were left with a disappointing 113-point finish, meaning more than a quarter of players ended 159 points back of Chapman owners.

The best picks behind Chapman were Brandon Card with 235 points and Derek Remitz with 211. But only 1.6 and 0.9 percent of players, respectively, picked them, and Card’s and Remitz’s points weren’t that close to Chapman’s.

Bucket E: Elam

James Elam won Bucket E with 209 points, but very few people — only 0.3 percent — reaped that reward. If you didn’t pick him, you should have gotten Matt Reed, 197 points, or Tracy Adams, 187, but almost no one did, at 1 and 3 percent respectively.

Instead, most people selected Boyd Duckett, 34.9 percent, Yusuke Miyazaki, 11.1 percent, or Joe Sancho, 11.8 percent. Two of those didn’t turn out to be great picks.

Duckett was fourth in the bucket with 181 points. That’s 28 points back of Elam, but really, considering how few people chose Elam, Reed or Adams, players did well with Duckett. Even though the pickers of the top performers had small gains on Duckett owners, the ones who chose Duckett were only beaten by 4.3 percent of the field, so that’s not bad.

However, Miyazaki and Sancho owners paid for their choice. Miyazaki earned only 87 points and Sancho — the local — earned 69. Their owners were beaten by at least three-quarters of players, most of whom had at least 100 points in their favor.

AOY Championship

If you’ve failed to put together a winning team so far this season — or ever — you’ve got one more chance. The Top 50 anglers will compete on Bays de Noc in Escanaba, Mich., on Sept. 18-21, and you’ll get to play along in Fantasy Fishing. The buckets will work the same; you’ll just have 10 anglers to pick from in each bucket. So that could make it harder — or easier? — to choose your anglers.