Editor's Note: We'd like to hear YOUR picks for the Bassmaster Classic trifecta. Go to Facebook.com/BASS to give us your guess and a chance to win a Plano Guide Series Model 787 Angled StowAway® Tackle Storage System.
Results as of 2/11:
Also receiving votes: Biffle (2), Swindle (2), Tharp (1)
How they voted
We surveyed several fans who will be closely watching the Bassmaster Classic, asking them to send us their predictions for who would finish in the Top 3. We asked them to rank them 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Then we assigned point values to each rank — 3 points for 1st, 2 points for 2nd and 1 point for 3rd to come up with our own informal Bassmaster Classic Predictions Ranking System.
How they picked archive: 2/10
We will update this list daily until Thursday, February 17.
Those surveyed on 2/11 and their thoughts include:
Host of ESPN's Mike & Mike in the Morning
First: Kevin VanDam
Second: Skeet Reese
*Mike Golic has attended several Bassmaster Classics in the past and still keeps up with B.A.S.S. competition. He told us he was picking the Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning of bass fishing.
Bassmaster Classic Television Host
First: Kevin Van Dam -- As everyone knows, this Classic will be about who can find a pile of fish and exploit them for 3 days. Last time I checked, he's the best at doing that.
Second: As everyone knows, no one remembers who finished second at the Classic. I can't even remember my second place pick.
Third: I just remembered who finished second at the last New Orleans Classic: Gary Klein. I wouldn't mind seeing him win, but if not maybe third would be better than the dreaded second place. Ditto for Aaron Martens and Tommy Biffle.
"Outdoors with Craig Hanson" KNBR-1050 San Francisco
First: Picking a Classic winner is like forecasting the winner of the Masters golf tournament. You've got to go with the participants who have been there and done it before. I know it's cliché, but if there's money on the table it's hard not to go with the Jack Nicklaus of bass angling, three-time Classic winner Kevin VanDam to take home the top prize.
Second: I've got to go with one of the hottest sticks on the circuit, and fellow left coaster Skeet Reese. Two-time Angler of the Year, and 2009 Classic winner, Reese is always in the mix. His experience with the tidal flows of the California Delta may work to his advantage in Louisiana.
Third: Skewing local is usually a safe bet, that's why Louisiana resident Greg Hackney has a legitimate shot at a top three finish. The eight-time Classic participate has been a top 10 finisher on the BASS circuit 31 times, and there's no reason to think this can not be his tournament.
They three pros I've picked have nerves of steel and that's what it takes to win this derby ... plus they're pretty damn good.
First: Gary Klein -- There are two reasons that I'm thinking it's Klein's time. He has proven to have a knack for finding fish on the Delta and after 29 attempts you really just want him to do it. But most importantly (to nobody else in the world but me) is the fact that if he wins the first classic I emcee, then somehow I can claim that me being there had something to do with Klein's victory.
Second: Gerald Swindle -- I really think that G's recent win on Lake Toho will give him a newfound confidence, unleashing a whole new Swindle on the tour. The Elite anglers better look out - there is a new shark in the tank and now he knows how good victory tastes.
Gerald prides himself on being a junk fisherman and having many different tricks in his bag may just be what he needs to find success in this year's classic with the potential of wacky weather. To be honest, I really wanted to pick Gerald for the win but I just did not have the heart to give Gary Klein 2nd.
Third: Greg Hackney -- I have about 10 anglers that I want to make my final pick. So I decided to go with the one angler I just felt there is no way I can leave out. Everyone has to have Hackney on their list somewhere. He is a proven winner that does not crack under the pressure and with the exception of Cliff Pace no other angler knows the Delta like him. With the possibility of some up and down weather, I really think his knowledge of the water will give him a huge advantage. The more the weather messes with the fish, the more this classic will play into his hands. He knows where the fish live so while bad weather may have other pros fishing over them without a bite. Hackney will have to confidence to slow down and get the job done.