The Keys To Fantasy Fishing

By Published On: 01.30.2024Categories: Blog0 Comments on The Keys To Fantasy Fishing

Excitement and New Beginnings

Experience the excitement of Fantasy Fishing as I gear up, stock baits, and finalize arrangements for the new year. Join me on the thrilling journey into the world of competitive angling. I’ve never been more excited to get back on the water with a new rig, new equipment, get into a warmer climate and in the midst of the competition that drives me. 

Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing Predictions

It’s that time of year when tournament followers are making preseason predictions as excitement for Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing builds. Even my family members have been coming to me asking for my thoughts on whom they should pick for each event. They know I have a lot of inside information about each Elite angler and their strengths. 

Unpredictability in Predictions

While that’s true and I’m close to the sport, I’ve found that even my own predictions can be as wrong as they are right. As a side note, I must admit that I saw my good friend Mark Zona’s preseason’s predictions, and I was extremely disappointed I was not among any of his favorites. That motivates me even more to prove him wrong!

Similar Assessments and Elements of the Game

On the other hand, his overall assessment was very similar to mine; he’s been around the sport, talked to enough pros and shared boats with them to know which ones could do well with this grueling 2018 schedule. It’s important to note that there are several elements that come into play at each event and none is more important than momentum and confidence an angler retains if the waters and conditions fit his style.

Momentum and Confidence in Bass Fishing

Many of Zona’s picks were based on guys riding momentum from last year. You cannot underestimate that, whether it’s Brandon Palaniuk coming off his first Toyota Bassmaster Angler of Year title or Jason Christie and Keith Combs who have been riding tremendous success the past couple of years. Those guys are layups when predicting who should have great seasons in 2018.

But don’t overlook the challenging part of the schedule and its seasonal timing as well as how that fits each angler’s style.

And remember the Elite Series is the toughest tour out there. Just look at the attrition we’ve seen the past few years and how the standings change throughout the season. 

Chris Lane’s Example

Chris Lane is a good example. He’s a tremendous angler who had an uncharacteristically brutal year last year. That shows you how quickly momentum can go the other way. On the other hand, Chris finished strong and that could be the confidence boost he needs to turn it around this season.

Unpredictability in Bass Fishing

One of the unique oddities of this sport is how an angler can get on a roll and then hit an unexpected bad streak. Last year I was having a very good season heading into northern waters Lakes Champlain and St. Clair that I know well. I had a ton of confidence but still underperformed, and it prevented me from making a more serious run at the Angler of Year title.

Factors for Fantasy Team Picks

So how do you pick anglers for your Fantasy team? Obviously, it’s important to do research on each angler’s strengths and how they fit into each lake and conditions they might encounter. 

But there is another deciding factor to consider. Which anglers have the strongest work ethic, spent time pre-scouting the lake, and show up at the ramp early every practice day and stays until dark? 

Work Ethic and Passion

Which ones have no trouble getting up early with a positive attitude when the weather is cold, wet and windy? Which ones have the drive and passion for the competition, characteristics you find in all the top guys?

Momentum, Confidence, and Work Ethic

And above all, which ones have the momentum and confidence in their skills to match their strong work ethic? Those are the ones you must always consider.

If you do not love this game and can’t give it 110 percent, you won’t be successful because the ones who do will eat you alive.

So have fun with your picks and remember that in pro style bass fishing, it’s all about the attitude.

Kevin VanDam’s column appears weekly on You can also find him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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