Rivers are strange. One thing is for certain; if someone has a chance to catch a big bag they better do it. Expect several anglers to do well and then simply run out of fish or have the water condition prevent them from continuing to do well. Every tournament is this way but this the Classic on a river. Anything can happen!
Here are IBASSIN’s Classic picks.
Kevin Van Dam
Who wouldn’t pick him? He has the chance at three Classics wins in a row and top Rick Clunn’s benchmark of four Classic wins. Van Dam is made for this tournament. Plus, and this is a big plus, he is genius at calculating daily and hourly positioning of bass during the pre-spawn period. Another huge advantage is this tournament should be won with a shallow crankbait, spinnerbait or flipping or a combination of all three. KVD is super strong at all them. All these factors make him a clear standout.
Having lived in Texas for decades, he knows how to find fish in muddy, stump filled waters. Being a pure power fisherman will serve him well here. Historically, all of Omori’s wins, except his Classic, have been spring tournaments. He won his Classic by cranking shallow wood and the Red River is choked with it. Another factor and I consider this a major contributor to this year’s potential winner is that Omori can finesse fish. He is deadly with a senko and flipping. Many veteran anglers clearly stated that they are gunning for a win and will not adjust to simply catch a limit. This is why I didn’t pick Gerald Swindle and a few others. You cannot win the Classic on the first day but you can put yourself deeply behind the eight ball if you don’t catch a limit each day.
Another strong angler with a large range of talents, Edwin does well shallow. He can crank and flip well and has been very consistent. Even though the water is not clear enough to truly sight fish, there is a strong possibility of some early spawners. The weather on Thursday was over 80 F and that is very warm. It should trigger some bass to look for spawning areas. Edwin knows how to catch spawning fish and he has the mental and emotional determination to win. He might not be my strongest choice here, but he is already my choice for Classic 2013.
He is always one of my favourites. Being strong at so many techniques, his junk style should do well. Expect the conditions to change, especially if the weather is on a warming trend. Ike’s style will serve him well as the fish reposition during the three. He might be my second choice after Van Dam.
Ott is no rookie. I expect him to do very well. He is a strong river angler and wise enough to find a little magic here. Having experience fishing the large fields of FLW has taught him how to deal with fishing in crowds and judging from all the reports, the best areas will be crowded. I’m not very knowledgeable of Ott but from what I read, he has a good chance at glory.
Without picking the whole field, I still like the following: Aaron Marten and Brent Chapman. All have done very well in difficult tournaments and have the charisma to finish on top when it counts.
Stay turned for some up-dates on how the first day is unfolding.