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Elite Series: Blue Ridge Brawl pundit picks

6/5/2007

Our pundits give their predictions on who should be able to solve this week's mystery that is Smith Mountain Lake and the Blue Ridge Brawl presented by Advance Auto Parts.

Tommy Sanders, The Bassmasters on ESPN2

Skeet Reese Not much of a Skeet Reese sighting for two tournaments now. Could be he's ready to shake off the disappointment of a runner-up finish at Clear Lake with a win in the east.

Kevin Van Dam It's never a good week to bet against Tiger Woods or Microsoft.

Mike Wurm Knows what Southern mountain lakes are all about in the summertime.

John Crews A smart guy who should know what's happening close to home.

Randy Howell His North Carolina upbringing could come into play here.

Mark Zona, The Bassmasters on ESPN2

Randy Howell This is one of the quiet picks that may win this event. Randy has a ton of history on this lake — with a few pretty big wins. If you want all of your fantasy dreams to come true, get him on your roster!

Gerald Swindle Twelve pounds a day here could end up strong by week's end, therefore, Swindle will "junk" his way around every boat dock Smith Mountain has to offer.

Aaron Martens The schooling fish started here about 2 weeks ago, so it should be getting strong by week's end. Look for Martens to break out some Snagless Sally/ German shepherd hair lure that was invented back in 1968 to knock their lights out.

Mike McClelland There is no denying momentum, and as of right now, MM is full of it. Look for him to figure the deep ones out better than anybody this week.

Greg Hackney I'm a Chicago Bears fan when they win and when they don't. Same with Hackney. He'll definitely figure the dock fish out in this one … I think.

James Overstreet, ESPNOutdoors.com

Mike Iaconelli Were finally getting to the part of the schedule where pattern fishing, putting your nose to the grindstone and attention to small details are required to get it done. Look, this guy is wizzed off and sick of the poor finishes, but he appeared very focused at High Rock. Ike is just too good to keep down long, and you know he's not going to go away quietly.

Paul Elias This is one of those 'hunch' picks, but fish will be moving toward a summer type pattern, and Elias will find a deep crankbait bite somewhere on Smith Mountain, and grind it out to a good finish. But here's what I really like —I watched him throw the drop shot a lot on Clarks Hill, so he's added a great tool to slow down on those deeper fish when he needs to. The old pro is bringing it with some newer tactics to stay in the game … got to love that.

Gerald Swindle The way this tournament is setting up, Swindle, one of the tour's ultimate junk fishermen, may have 40 rods on the deck of the boat. But look for him to go through a lot of different baits, and cull a lot of fish on the way to a Top 10 finish.

Edwin Evers Another guy that can do a lot of things really well. Evers was on a roll during the last tournament, but couldn't run his pattern effectively once the tournament moved to the 'hole course' on a different lake. He'll find a solid pattern on Smith Mountain and put together another good tournament.

Jared Lintner Has anybody really taken a good look at Lintner's BASS tournament history? Here's the summary: 24 tournaments entered, 19 times in the money, 7 top 10s, and 13 top 20 finishes! He's currently third in the Angler of the Year standings, only 54 points out of the lead. I'm officially on the Jared Lintner bandwagon, and he's a great fantasy value pick at only 9.9 points.

Trey Reid, ESPNOutdoors.com


Mike Iaconelli
Smith Mountain could be the place for the Jersey boy to turn around a lackluster 2007 campaign. He finished sixth here in a 2004 Open, and if the fish are in the transition from post-spawn to summer patterns, Ike will find a way to figure them out.

John Crews He's a local favorite pick.

Kevin VanDam No surprises here.

John Murray He's coming off a strong performance in the first Major, and with his background on Western fisheries, he can figure out the deep fish, which should serve him well on Smith Mountain.

Mike McClelland A victory at Clarks Hill and a solid showing in the first Major make McClelland a logical choice here. His value points won't bankrupt your fantasy franchise, either.