- Mike Suchan, Outdoors
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Last week's Pride of Georgia saw three Elite Series rookies finish in the top eight, a stark contrast from last year's event on Lake Guntersville.
With a history of big-name anglers excelling on Guntersville, and with conditions that the veterans have excelled in, can the rookies continue their roll in this week?
Last year, Mike Iaconelli led a big-name assault in the top 12, edging Alton Jones by two ounces. Rookie of the Year Steve Kennedy was third followed by Kevin VanDam, Gerald Swindle and 2004 Classic winner Takahiro Omori. Edwin Evers, Timmy Horton and Dean Rojas also fished the final day.
BASS has held events on Guntersville the past several years, so the veterans might hold an advantage in that aspect, but don't count the rookies out altogether when filling out fantasy rosters for the Southern Challenge presented by Purolator.
Here's a rundown of fantasy plays this week:
Keep them coming
Despite not making the top 50 last week, Kennedy shouldn't be dropped. He had a bad first day in the Pride of Georgia (7 pounds, 1 ounce), but throw in the fact that he placed third on Guntersville last year just over than 2 pounds out of first.
A poor first day (7-11) left VanDam in similar position, missing the cut by three pounds, but the conditions this week set up to suit him well.
Iaconelli and Greg Hackney also struggled on Clarks Hill and didn't fish Saturday, but that's no reason to throw the lure.
Look to the past
Alton Jones would have won at Guntersville last year if not for a subpar Day Three total of 13-3. He eclipsed 20 pounds the first two days and his 17-1 on Day 4 left him 3 ounces from victory.
Evers, VanDam, Swindle, Horton, Zell Rowland and Aaron Martens have consistently put their names among the leaders in previous BASS events there. Other winners on Guntersville include Zell Rowland and Kelly Jordan.
Young and restless
How can you go against Derek Remitz? Another top 5 finish in his rookie season on Clarks Hill, and while climbing, the price is still right.
The West Coast trio of Skeet Reese, Jared Lintner and Fred Roumbanis haven't been slowed but the power fishing conditions will require some adjustments on Guntersville.
And don't forget last week's winner Mike McClelland, who could be on a roll.
2hMichael C. Wright