Shallow and local for the St. Johns

PALATKA, Fla. — The Bassmaster Elite Series pros take on a new playground this week, the mighty St. Johns. This event will be one for the books, as the bass are on the beds, and they’re big!

I was there not too long ago myself, so I sort of know how this will play out. When I pick my Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing team, I’ll be looking for shallow power fishermen who dominate Florida, as well as sight fishermen.

A lot of guys will be moving around slowly looking for beds, as well as searching for bass with a topwater or burning a spinnerbait. Either way, it will be a shallow bite, as the river is an average of 9 feet deep.

Here are my picks:

Bucket A: Grigsby

Florida native Shaw Grigsby is looking for redemption after Seminole, where he busted that 30-pound stringer on Day 1. He is the sight fishing guru and, with his experience/knowledge, he’ll push his way up to the front of the leaderboard. I really feel this will be Grigsby’s tournament to win!

Bucket B: Tharp

Randall Tharp moved from Alabama to Florida because he loves the fishing so much. Making the transition from FLW, his track record with both tours is exceptional in Florida, especially Okeechobee, which sets up a lot like the St. Johns as far as the patterns goes. He’ll put the flipping stick in his hand and go to work; Tharp will have another strong finish here. Besides coming off some back-to-back final-cut finishes, he has momentum on his side and is fishing well.

Bucket C: Scroggins

They don’t call Terry Scroggins “Big Show” for nothing, and we are on his home water this week. With his shallow experience and his local knowledge, you should have Scroggins on your team. He loves to flip, sight fish and throw a Devil’s Horse — things that just catch Florida bass! If you look at the last time the Elites came here, you can find his name near the top of the board.

Bucket D: Clunn

Rick Clunn, the legend, will finish strong at this event. He has a great knowledge of Florida fishing, and he has won a few events in this state. He is an exceptional topwater and spinnerbait fisherman. He’ll catch some lunkers by burning some banks and fishing around grass mats. He might have had a rough start to this season, but you can never count out Clunn.

Bucket E: VanDam

Jonathan VanDam is a VanDam, one of the greatest names in fishing! He might not be your run-of-the-mill pick for Florida, but he will do well here. He is known for deep fishing, but he catches bass in all the ways known to man. I think he’ll go burn a spinnerbait, find beds, slow down and sight fish until he gets them. He’s young, and has good eyes. Also, it doesn’t hurt that he is his uncle Kevin’s practice partner.

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