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Picking your peers

2/13/2008

It's unfair of us to even ask the question, really. The Bassmaster Classic anglers have spent the last three months trying to block everything and everybody else out, focusing on the one event that could make their career — and make them the face of the sport.

But we, like you, are interested in building the finest, most information-laden Fantasy Fishing team we can possibly build, and to do that, we had to get Classic picks straight from the source: We needed to talk to the guys who are on the water, and we weren't letting them pick themselves.

"Hadn't really thought about it — I don't even want to think that way!" said Fred Roumbanis, who was one of six anglers who refused to turn that mental corner.

The answers were all over the board with 23 different anglers getting picked with varied areas of expertise. Jeff Coble, who finished with one vote from Kevin Short, was one of the few who think — or at least admitted — it's going to be won shallow.

"I would say any of the jig fisherman like Tommy Biffle, Gerald Swindle, Derek Remitz or Greg Hackney," he said. "I think everybody's thinking deep, but I don't think that's where it's going to be won. I'm not saying you can't catch fish deep but …"

Aaron Martens had the most nods, with five anglers mentioning him exclusively and three others mentioning him in a list of possible winners. Reigning Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year Skeet Reese had the fourth-most votes with four, falling just under his 2007 rival, Kevin VanDam.

"Have to put some money on Skeet Reese," said Jamie Laiche, who qualified from the Federation Nation Central division. "He's on a roll, he's won Angler of the Year, he's a very skilled fisherman, and I guess I'd better say him, because he's my wife's favorite … next to me."

Score:

1.) Aaron Martens: 7 ½

2.) No Pick: 6

3.) Casey Ashley: 5

4.) Kevin VanDam: 4 ½

5.) Skeet Reese: 4

6.) Gary Klein: 2 ½

7.) Todd Auten, Jeff Kriet, John Murray: 2

10.) Gerald Swindle: 1 ½

11.) Alton Jones, Charlie Hartley, Boyd Duckett, Brent Chapman, Jeff Coble, Dave Wolak, Bobby Lane, Kotaro Kiriyama, Todd Faircloth, Mike McClelland: 1

21.) Tommy Biffle, Derek Remitz, Greg Hackney, Steve Kennedy: ½

NOTE:

• Of the 50 total anglers, 23 were mentioned by other Classic anglers as possible Classic Champions. Those 23 are ranked below by how often they were picked.

• Anglers were given a full point if they were the only pick from an angler, and half a point if they were thrown into a group of two or more.