Pros pick three

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA – One thing was pretty much certain coming into the Bassmaster Alabama River Charge presented by Star brite, which begins Thursday on the Alabama River.

The near certainty? Well, that would be that this Elite Series event is a wide-open tournament, with any of the pros capable of staking a claim for the title.

But after 13 of the Elites were interviewed on Wednesday before the anglers’ meeting at Montgomery’s Multiplex at Cramton Bowl, there are two more certainties – the pros seem to believe that two among them, in particular, have the inside shot at winning this event, which leads to an automatic Bassmaster Classic berth.

Russ Lane and Aaron Martens, both of Alabama, were the two anglers who consistently were mentioned by their peers. Lane was named by seven of 13 anglers surveyed as a man to watch. Martens was named by six anglers. Both included themselves in their Top Three picks for this event, as well.

A sidenote – the ever-dangerous Kevin VanDam, who has a history of success on this fishery, was named on four of the 13 ballots.
Here’s a look at what the Elites said on Wednesday:

1.Gerald Swindle – “He knows the river and is not afraid to run to 100 spots to get the right bites.”
2.Bill Lowen – “A good river fisherman.”
3.Mark Davis – “He’s a grinder and he’ll find some spots and finesse them.”

1.Russ Lane – “Because I feel like I will catch them.”
2.Greg Hackney – “He’s one of the best river fishermen out there.”
3.Aaron Martens – “The fish are acting goofy and he’s the perfect one to figure it out.”

1.Kenyon Hill – “He’s done well here and he knows current through his fly fishing skills. He’ll put the bait where the current is.”
2.Bill Lowen – “He’s a river rat and that should come into the mix here.”
3.Stephen Browning – “I like fishing dirty running water rivers. It just makes me happy.”

1.Jamie Horton – “It’s his home water.”
2.Cliff Perch – “Quietly having a good season.”
3.Skeet Reese – “He’s having a good year and Angler of the Year is in his sights.”

1.Tommy Biffle – “A flipping deal.”
2.Russ Lane -- “He’s local.”
3.Jamie Horton – “Same reason.”


1.Aaron Martens – “He loves fishing these river spots.”
2.Kevin VanDam – “Because he’s VanDam.”
3.Russ Lane – “He’s due for a good one.”

1.Todd Faircloth – “Because I know him.”
2.Edwin Evers – “Because he beat me last time here.”
3.Aaron Martens – “Because I love current and love spotted bass.”

1.Mark Davis – “I consider him to be one of the best river fishermen.”
2.Russ Lane – “He’s won more boats and trailers here than any other river system.”
3.Greg Hackney – “Because I never bet against myself.”

1.Kevin VanDam – “Because there’s a good crank bait going.”
2.Greg Vinson – “He has experience here.”
3.Gerald Swindle – “A lot of past experience here and he’s a good jig fisherman.”

1.Russ Lane – “He’s sleeping in his own bed here.”
2.Todd Faircloth – “He’s on a roll and he’s a river guy.”
3.Aaron Martens – “There are spotted bass and tougher conditions.”

1.Russ Lane – “A hometown guy. The more knowledge here could the winning ticket.”
2.Kevin VanDam – “I think he has it in his eyes. And he’s done it here before.”
3.Dennis Tietje – “I like river stuff. It’s setting up right up my alley.”

1.Russ Lane – “He lives here.”
2.Kevin VanDam – “An obvious choice.”
3.Aaron Martens – “It will set up to his strengths with the current rolling.”


1.Steve Kennedy – “He’s a specialist in current.”
2.Aaron Martens – “We’re in Alabama and he’s very good at catching spots and also getting into big schools of fish.”
3.Fred Roumbanis – “He’s really good in situations where largemouth are hard to get to. Plus, there’s going to be some running and gunning.”