The Bassmaster Elite Series heads north this week for the Champion's Choice on Lake Champlain, the first of three tournaments in New York. Our pundits have assembled their picks for the first northern event of the season, and while many selections should come as no surprise, some might shock you.
Tommy Sanders, The Bassmasters on ESPN2
Kevin VanDam Well, sure I'd say that he's three-to-one to win any event remaining in the season. Here, it's more like even money.
Peter Thliveros Smallmouth bite in the height of summer seems to set the table for him.
Davy Hite He's got a Classic coming up at home in South Carolina and a big finish here would get him in good shape to qualify.
Timmy Horton Another southerner who knows his way around this kind of fishing.
Matthew Sphar Gotta give some respect to an Empire State angler and, especially this year, a rookie.
James Overstreet, ESPNOutdoors.com
Kevin VanDam This one is simple. KVD has won twice this year, and we're headed north to smallmouth country.
Tommy Biffle Biffle had a great showing at both New York stops last year. He will find a jig bite on Champlain, and be able to do what he does best.
Mike Wurm Had a great finish on Champlain last year, and is one of the best summertime pattern fishermen on tour.
Steve Kennedy He's been a little quiet lately, but that usually doesn't last long.
Chris Lane He found some water last year on the north end of the lake that allowed him to fish like he does in his home state of Florida. If the lake is a bit high, Lane will be a great pick.
Trey Reid, ESPNOutdoors.com
Kevin VanDam Why not? He's probably not as much of a favorite here as he will be on Lake Erie, but he's the man, especially when smallmouths are a factor.
Zell Rowland He hasn't exactly set the world on fire this year, but he has a solid record on Champlain.
Paul Hirosky This smallmouth specialist will be a force to be reckoned with.
Mike Wurm If he can stay away from Champ, the famed lake monster, I like his chances.
Skeet Reese His fall from atop the Angler of the Year standings should provide motivation.
Editor's note: Check in daily during the tournament for live video of the weigh-ins and a realtime leaderboard at 3 p.m. ET Thursday through Saturday. ESPNOutdoors.com will air Hooked Up, the live Internet shows, on Sunday at 8 a.m., 10 a.m. and noon ET on Sunday. The 45-minute Hooked Up show begins at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, leading into the final live weigh-in and a realtime leaderboard at 3:45 p.m. ET.
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