February 12, 2013
I’m not going to say Fantasy Fishing is easy – that would be an out and out lie, since I’ve won very little for my FF efforts – but it’s gotten a bit stale. Everyone wants to pick the same anglers over and over again. You ride KVD, the top local and whoever’s got the most momentum as long as you can and hope for the best.
I have a few ideas for how we could reform this not-quite-broken system, but for the Classic only I’ve come up with a doozy.
The Classic field consists of 51 anglers who qualified through seven different routes. B.A.S.S. has placed them in five different “buckets.” You choose one angler from each of the five and follow them for two or three days, however long they fish. That’s probably the way it should be, but my system tinkers with it a little bit.
First, cut out the eight former Classic winners in the field (Mark Davis, Boyd Duckett, Mike Iaconelli, Alton Jones, Chris Lane, Takhairo Omori, Skeet Reese and KVD). Picking KVD is soooo 2001 (and 2005, 2010 and 2011).
Next, cut out all the Okies. That means you, pre-tournament favorite Jason Christie, along with Mr. Biffle-O and E-Squared. Now we’re down to an even 40.
If we’re going to cut out the Oklahomans, we’ve got to get rid of the other locals, even if they don’t have an Oklahoma mailing address. Mike McClelland? You’re fired. Brent Chapman? Out of the buckets. I don’t know Casey Scanlon but I think I read somewhere that he’s fished Grand a lot, so let's ax him as well.
Now we have 37. Let’s drop AMart, because he’s another go-to pick, as well as Ott DeFoe, who is about as much of a steel lock to win some sort of a title as this sport has ever seen. Down to 35, which is also convenient because we can divide it into five equal buckets of seven apiece.
Bucket A (Federation, Weekend Series and College Anglers)
Albert Collins (Weekend Series)
Matt Lee (College)
Andy Bravence (Federation)
Jonathan Carter (Federation)
Mark Dove (Federation)
Gerry Jooste (Federation)
Mark Pierce (Federation)
Bucket B (Open Winners and First Time Classic Qualifiers)
Tracy Adams (Southern Open)
Hank Cherry (Southern Open)
Pete Gluszek (Northern Open)
Josh Wagy (Northern Open)
Yusuke Miyazaki (First Timer)
Cliff Prince (First Timer)
Jeremy Starks (First Timer)
Bucket C (Anglers from the West and Florida)
Jared Lintner (California)
Ish Monroe (California)
Brandon Palaniuk (Idaho)
Dean Rojas (Arizona)
Shaw Grigsby (Florida)
Bobby Lane (Florida)
Terry Scroggins (Florida)
Bucket D (Anglers who are from Alabama, Tennessee or Mississippi – the Pickwick Trifecta)
Matt Herren (Alabama)
Randy Howell (Alabama)
Russ Lane (Alabama)
Gerald Swindle (Alabama)
Brandon Card (Tennessee)
David Walker (Tennessee)
Cliff Pace (Mississippi)
Bucket E (Everyone Else)
John Crews (Baitmaker)
Greg Hackney (Scary eyes)
Jason Quinn (Hardware)
Marty Robinson (will play Danny Terrio in the movie)
Bill Lowen (Looking for shallower water)
Todd Faircloth (Most accomplished angler without a title)
Nate Wellman (Would have been a first-timer except he sorta qualified once before)
Pick one from each bucket and go to town. A lot more fun than picking KVD, Skeet and Christie, ain’t it? Well, sort of.