Our pundits take a stab at this season's first Elite Series event east of the Mississippi River, the Pride of Georgia presented by Evan Williams Bourbon. It's a return to more familiar territory for many pros not to mention our experts.
Tommy Sanders, co-host of The Bassmasters on ESPN2, gives the nod to some hot sticks and past achievers at Clarks Hill, while his colleague, Mark Zona, picks a traditional lineup with one very interesting, and decidedly bold, twist.
Bass fishing writer Andy Canulette gives us a golf-themed lineup this week, deferring to another popular sporting event in the greater Augusta, Ga., area. Trey Reid, ESPNOutdoors.com fantasy fishing guru, plays some favorites but can't get the Western Swing off his mind.
Tommy Sanders, co-host of The Bassmasters on ESPN2
Michael Iaconelli Time for him to snap out of a lackluster California campaign and take out all frustrations on the field at Clarks Hill. He seems to know how to work this place.
Gerald Swindle Picked up a lot of momentum on the final day at Clear Lake. Clarks is a completely different deal, but he is getting ready to win a Bassmaster event soon.
Steve Kennedy Why would you ever leave him off the team (like I did last time)? I've learned my lesson about this guy being the real deal no matter where.
Kevin VanDam See above, except I didn't leave him off last week.
Davy Hite Hard to repeat in a place, but he just made it look so easy last year that you can't feature him out of the top five.
Mark Zona, co-host of The Bassmasters on ESPN2
Greg Hackney Oh, where have you been my Hackosaurus rex? I kinda thought you would be brutal out West, but take the Delta away, and it was a par trip for Hackney. The whole lake should be shallow, and things will start clickin'.
Mike Iaconelli He's got something figured out on this lake. For the last two years, he's been barking at the door for a victory here. Partner that with his sweet new move of bashing his skull into the console, and Ike's one word MONEY!
Byron Velvick Yeah, that's right players: I'm picking "Blue Steel" to come out of his slump this tournament. Granted, it's a bold move. But picks like this are what dreams are made of or lose all credibility I once had.
Gerald Swindle I really think you're going to need a few different techniques to last the week here. Last year, Davy Hite won with pretty much one deal, but I don't look for that to play this time.
Jason Quinn When you combine his striking resemblance to Cap'N'Crunch and "fairly local" knowledge of Clarks Hill, Quinn should navigate just fine through the Elite Series field this week!
Andy Canulette, New Orleans Times Picayune and ESPNOutdoors.com:
Davy Hite Hite is sort of like the Tiger Woods of this fishery. He's been a stud here time after time, including last year's Elite Series stop. It amazed me when he told me his winning patter last year was one he used 20 years ago. He lives only a couple of 5-irons away from here. Need I say more?
Peter Thliveros Peter T is fishing well though the start of the 2007 season. Eighth at Clarks Hill last year. I like the big guy. He's consistent and consistently good. My Vijay Singh pick.
Jared Lintner This is the up-and-coming guy, a Charles Howell, if you will. He did so well on his side of the continent, and now he returns to the other side, which just so happens to be the place where he broke out last year (7th place at Clarks Hill in 2006). The Milkman will deliver again.
Randy Howell Speaking of Howells, this Alabama angler placed fifth at Clarks Hill last year. He finished 18th at Clear Lake on the last Elite Series stop three weeks ago. I like his chances. He's like the David Toms of golf fame always in the mix.
Jason Williamson This guy calls Aiken, S.C., home, which is a chip shot from Clarks Hill. I can't imagine he won't do well here. He struggled during the first two Elite Series events but finished 13th at Clear Lake. This guy was a beast on the Southern and Northern Opens in '06. He's coming home to fish. He's my Zach Johnson, and we all know how that other tournament in Georgia ended.
Trey Reid, ESPNOutdoors.com Fantasy Fishing writer
Mike Iaconelli The Western Swing didn't treat Ike too well, but Clarks Hill has the cure for what ails the reigning Angler of the Year. Ike has caught them here every time.
Steve Kennedy He proved once again at Clear Lake that he's truly a force to be reckoned with in this league.
Skeet Reese How can you stop picking him now? Even though he doesn't have the best track record at Clarks Hill, his confidence will carry him farther this time.
Rick Clunn He has finished no worse than 20th the past two years at Clarks Hill. The mystic will mystify his adversaries.
Jared Lintner –e was a no-brainer pick out West, and I can't go against him at Clarks. He showed promise (7th place) here last season during his rookie campaign.