The Bass Fishing Home Page picks the Classic
Known as "Beartrap" on the Bass Fishing Home Page
Group A: Tommy Biffle -- The Louisiana Delta is one big flipping fishery. Biffle will do well.
Group B: Matt Herren -- My favorite to win the Classic. He's an expert with a long pole and short string.
Group C: Randall Tharpe -- The hottest fisherman around. This guy finishes in top 5 everywhere he goes.
Group D: Steve Kennedy -- Who would have thought "Awbarn" would win national championship? Ditto for Kennedy and the Classic.
Group E: George Crain -- He uses a jet boat and finds water nobody else can get into.
Kown as "ButchT" on the BFHP. He's also the father of Elite Angler, J. Todd Tucker. His fantasy fishing team is called "Tucker Classic Team."
Group A: Tommy Biffle -- Tommy is one of the best flippers in the country and has the ability to figure out how fish are setting up on cover and pick it apart. He puts his nose to the grindstone and gets to work. If he's in the right area, it's his to lose. This venue should fit his style of fishing quite well.
Group B: Cliff Pace -- Cliff has been fishing extremely consistent the past couple of years. He has the work ethic and ability to figure the fishery out. He's an excellent flipper and is probably more versatile than some might think. If the fish are setting up on reed points and relating to current, Cliff will be hard to beat with a shallow running crank bait. If not, he'll be flipping.
Group C: Randall Tharp -- Randall is hot right now. He's coming off a second-place finish in a major tournament on Lake Okeechobee and did it flipping, not sight fishing. He's proven to be a strong contender on any body of water in the country. Might be the sleeper in this one.
Group D: Stephen Kennedy -- Just have to go with the "home boy." Steve's dad and I go way back and Steve and my son are great friends. But more importantly he has the ability and the "sixth" sense to catch fish no matter where he is. He's a very smart fisherman and has proven his ability.
Group E: Morizo Shimizu -- Morizo is my wild-card pick. He is an extremely smart and well-disciplined angler, as most of the Japanese anglers are. You can bet he has done his homework and is prepared for probably the most important event he's ever fished in regard to his career. He is on pace to make his mark and this could be it. I have to go with his preparation on this one.
Known as "Mike Whitten" on the BFHP. His Fantasy team is Team Meredith (which include Whitten and fishing partner Emory Scholar) in honor of Whitten's daughter.
Group A: Gary Klein -- He has had some good finishes in the Delta, probably should have won it there. He is a master with a flippin' stick, especially in cold conditions, and he wants this one worse than anyone in the field.
Group B: Cliff Pace -- He's a solid angler that has proven he can catch them in cold, shallow water, and he's an excellent pitcher/flipper with a good history on this type of water.
Group C: Kelly Jordon -- One of the best heavy cover, pitcher/flippers among the Elite Anglers, fearless in a boat, and is way overdue for a major breakout
Group D: Russ Lane -- Somewhat of a "dark horse" pick, but he is very good with a jig, and maybe better with a blade, and he's proved he can catch fish in a pressured situation with his performance on Lay Lake last year.
Group E: Morizo Shimizu -- This one was tough, and a bit of a flyer. But, he has proven that he can overcome amazing challenges, and has ALL the skill sets to fish these waters. Only unknown is if he has the network of information in place to cover such a vast area.
Known as "Wackoman" on BFHP. His fantasy team is Team Wacko.
I have no perennial favorites on my team although I would be happy if KVD or Ike, either one, won another title.
Group A: Aaron Martens -- Because he always figures them out.
Group B: Matt Herren -- Because the swamps will suit his style.
Group C: Randal Tharp -- He is as hot as anyone on the water right now and he has not stopped fishing since last season ended. He is in the zone. He is a great guy and would be a wonderful champion.
Group D: Greg Vinson -- I like his style and he has about paid his dues. Call him my dark horse. I will pull for him.
Group E: George Crain -- I have watched him dominate in local tournaments for years and I always pull for the Federation guys. That is the toughest route and a fellow has to be on his game to make the Classic that route.
Known on BFHP as "Brett M."
Group A: Terry "Big Show" Scroggins -- First off, I felt I must depart from the normal "must picks." This "A" bunch is a strong group from which any one could be a contender. This is "The Classic" and a lot of these pros will have an armada of boats following them from Day One, especially the big fan favorites. I can see that being factor. Keeping the banks clean and clear will be key in some areas. The more boats following you, the harder that will be.
Terry is arguably the best flipper in this group and will probably have less attention on day one making him my pick. Terry has a hot hand right now and hasn't been sitting home getting rusty. He's been fishing and cashing checks. He's been in the Classic a number of times but has yet to notch a win. It could be his turn and if flipping is part of the game, you just can't count him out.
Group B: Cliff Pace -- A great angler that has been in contention before. Cliff was second a few years back and nothing makes you want to be first more than being second! He adapts well and if things change during the event that could be what separates him.
Group C: Randall Tharp -- A master of the shallow water techniques. I looked at the rest in this group, all great fisherman but none can surpass Tharp when its this kind of fishery. Randall's record over the last few years can rival ANY top pro in the business. He has also been busy during the off season and keeping the rust off. He has the work eithic and knows how to close the deal. My overall pick to win!
Group D: John Crews -- There are only two techniques I see being winning patterns -- flipping or shallow cranking. John is my pick out of this group if shallow crankbaits dominate the bite. He's been to the Classic enough times to not be affected by the demands that are unique to this event so I give him the thumbs up here. Watch out for "Little John" if the flipping bite is off, or, even if its not!
Group E: Ryan McMurtury -- An Unknown. Really? Ryan is the winner of the BASS Weekend Series Championship. No small feat, not to notice he just won another BWS event on Lake Murray a few weeks ago. He's just hot right now. His stats don't show you, but this guy has won six figures in the last six months. If he can keep his head on straight and not get caught up in everything that is the Classic he can do well.
Known on BFHP as "jyarb."
Group A: Gary Klein -- A personal friend, one of the all-time greats, super flipper but versatile, way overdue for a Classic win. If he doesn't get shot, he's the man.
Group B: Cliff Pace -- One of the most consistent anglers on the trail. He always seems to be around the top and is very good at locating fish. Mississippi boys know their swamps.
Group C: Jason Williamson -- Seems to be coming on strong. Had a good year last year and will pick up where he left off.
Group D: Edwin Evers -- Seems to adjust well to water conditions, versatile and consistent, will be in the top 10.
Group E: Morizo Shimizu -- Just a hunch. He's been consistent and the Japanese anglers are due to win a big one.
Known on BFHP as "Jeff Hahn."
Group A: Tommy Biffle -- This Classic will be a flipper's paradise, so Tommy has to be considered a favorite. Plus, he's had so many second-place finishes in the Classic that he's long overdue.
Group B: Dean Rojas -- Dean's versatile and if Mr. Frog has even a chance to work, he's got a good shot to win.
Group C: Kelly Jordan -- Kelly is good on shallow, swampy type lakes, winning the B.A.S.S. tournament at Santee a few years back, fishing one of my favorite spring black water ponds. He's a good flipper and seems to locate those out of the way honey holes.
Group D: Edwin Evers -- He's been hot this last year, placing high and winning a PAA tournament. Maybe it will be his time to shine.
Group E: Paul Elias -- Paul is a sentimental pick (I'm an old guy, too!) and he grew up in Mississippi, fishing water similar to the Delta. He's a dark horse, but could get his second Classic win here.