Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Pundits picks for Sooner Run
By Trey Reid ESPNOutdoors.com
Mike McClelland, hauling in a fish on Day Three of last year's Sooner Run, is being picked to repeat.
You'll notice some overlap in our pundits' picks this week. Mike McClelland, last year's runaway winner on Grand Lake, is a consensus selection of our panel, along with Dean Rojas, Tommy Biffle and Edwin Evers.
With a lake that's much higher than usual, Biffle and Evers could use local knowledge to make the adjustments others won't.
Tommy Sanders, The Bassmasters on ESPN2 Mike McClelland I think he actually should have slept in last year just to prove he could do it and still win. He definitely could win again this year, but no sleeping in this time.
Dean Rojas He has embraced the frog just about every event this year, and this time it could mean a princely reward.
Alton Jones Hasn't had a big finish this year, and he's been around long enough to pick up on changing conditions.
Edwin Evers One of two Oklahoma picks and another guy who's likely to figure out the over-full lake quickly.
Tommy Biffle If shallow targets remain in play every day here, he could bring it.
Mark Zona, The Bassmasters on ESPN2 Dean Rojas I am not going to lay my picks and choose Mike McClelland like Tommy Sanders has. I'm going to go with a guy with loads of momentum. The water is high and if it stays that way throughout the week, Dean Rojas will not run out of places to fish.
Tommy Biffle Like I said about Dean, I really think the shallow water guys are going to shine a lot more here this year than they did last year. Plus, pretty much growing up here on the lake, gives Biffle kind of a slight edge.
Fred Roumbanis This is such a naughty, dirty, filthy little pick, the reason being, he recently moved a couple miles down the road from Grand Lake and has spent every free minute studying, learning, absorbing the knowledge of this lake.
Jeff Kriet Only reason I'm picking Jeff Kriet is he rooms with Mike McClelland, and I'm hoping he begged him for a few fishing spots.
Bradley Hallman You've got to give the nod to a second-year guy who has tons of experience on this lake. Somewhere through the week, Hallman will find the right willows to fish.
James Overstreet, ESPNOutdoors.com Dean Rojas Well, I thought this one would be easy to handicap, but the lake level is eight feet higher than last year's tournament. Officials claim they should be able to drop the level six feet before Day One, but more rain is being forecast this week. Pulling water could be a good thing, but a rapidly falling lake level could be a tough factor to figure. Regardless, Rojas will choose the "Kermie" option and whack 'em on the frog.
Greg Hackney Flooded willows, logjams, dirty water and all kinds of new cover flooded along the shoreline this lake is primed for a full-blown "Hack Attack."
Mike McClelland McClelland won this tournament by almost 17 pounds last year. He could have quit after Day Three and still finished in the top five! He is too good with a jig, has too much local knowledge and too many deep brush piles to bet against. This may be the easiest fantasy pick of the year.
Tommy Biffle He has had to use spinning tackle a lot in the past few tournaments, and he hated every minute of it. Biffle will finally get to break out the big stick and go to work doing what he does best. He's an Oklahoma native, and there's flipping-type cover all over the lake. Biffle is my Okla"homer" pick of the tournament.
Edwin Evers OK, so I took another homer pick. Hopefully, the "Italian Donkey," a.k.a. Mark Zona, will forgive me, but I'm going with Evers, and to heck with Zona. Edwin finished fourth on Grand last year, and he has enough experience on the lake to know how to handle the fluctuating lake level.
Trey Reid, ESPNOutdoors.com Mike McClelland Honestly, I don't think he'll win this one. But after his dominance here last year, I can't pick against him.
Dean Rojas He's coming off a solid showing at Smith Mountain Lake, and I hear he's been all over the fish in practice.
Tommy Biffle With the lake well above normal pool, count on Biffle to bang away at all the flooded cover with a jig, a technique that could carry him to the top of the leaderboard.
Skeet Reese Surely he's due to win one soon. Regardless, you can't go against him with all the near misses he's had this season.
Edwin Evers He was one of the guys chasing McClelland last year, and he has the knowledge of the lake to know how to adapt under what figure to be changing conditions.