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Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Lake Guntersville predictions, forecasts and prognostications

By Rob Russow

If our pundits are any indication, Guntersville is shaping up to be another Matt Herren vs. KVD showdown. Herren got the most votes this week, having been chosen by five of the six pundits casting ballots for Lake Guntersville, while VanDam was picked four times. At Smith Mountain the two went head to head with KVD coming out on top. Will things be different this week in Herren's home state?

Alton Jones, Kelly Jordon and Mike Iaconelli were consensus runners-up, each appearing four times on the pundits' lists. Jones has a great history on Guntersville in the late spring and will be looking to right the ship after stumbling in Virginia. Jordon has been consistent on Guntersville and excels in both shallow and deep water. Ike has scored a win in 2006 here, while bass were in all stages of the spawn and might be able to continue that success.

Here's a look at who our pundits like at Lake Guntersville:

Mark Zona
TV Personality

KVD — He has a history of doing well here and elsewhere. At the rate he's going I really feel he'll make it in this sport. This guy's my dark horse!

Matt Herren — Well, well, well…kinda looks like little Matty Herren came to play in this ring…big time. Fish in shallow grass will be right in his wheel house. Plus, it doesn't hurt living a block away from the lake.

Kelly Jordon — Do you see the theme I got going here? Top three guys from last tournament. I love being creative.

Mike Iaconelli — Look at me go with all original picks. It would stun me if any one of our pundits picked the same guys. Except Sanders, he's "in the know."

Alton Jones — Huge letdown to fantasy freaks across the country last week, but I ain't kickin' the gift horse off yet. This majestic steed will bounce back like Russell Crowe in Gladiator.

Tommy Sanders
Host, The Bassmasters

Kelly Jordon — You just about want to take the top five from Smith Mountain Lake and lay them in right here. I will throw KJ in because I fully expect him to be within one big fish of the leading weight.

Kevin VanDam — And this guy also did well at the last get together. Seems to have a knack for fishing.

Alton Jones — Must have had a toothache or something in Virginia. He will double down here and try to regain the points lead.

Aaron Martens — I think of Aaron as a guy who just seems to get stronger through the course of a season. Maybe everything gets up to full speed here.

Davy Hite — A near miss at the last event, plus you always want to put a little something down on him in the month of May.

Kyle Carter
ESPN Outdoors Editor

Matt Herren — He's 76th in cost and seventh in production. He lives an hour and a half from the lake. He finished second last week. He finished third on Guntersville in the 2008 Southern Open. He's had the same goatee for years. This guy is consistent and is this year's fantasy steal.

Bobby Lane — Oh, it's time. Oh, it's time. Oh, it's time, it's time, it's time. I have no real good reason to pick B. Lane, other than a hunch. In 25 tournaments with BASS, he has 20 top 50s, nine top 10s, but has never finished better than third. I think he wins this week by 4 pounds, 6 ounces. Consult your local psychic for more information.

Mike Iaconelli — I'm sold on Ike right now. He didn't finish great in Virginia, but he was in the top 10 after Day One. He also won on Guntersville in 2006.

Alton Jones — You can't hardly look at Guntersville results without seeing Jones' name in the top 10. Plus, he had a bad tournament in Virginia and he's ready to make amends.

Gerald Swindle — The walking sound bite from Warrior, Ala., is showing up this week. Don't believe me? Fine. Just watch. Just watch it happen and then come crawling back.

Alan Clemons
ESPN Outdoors contributor

Although it could be said that arriving at Guntersville during just about any month of the year is good, this truly is setting up to be an outstanding tournament on one of the nation's premier largemouth fisheries. I'm looking for at least 90 pounds or more to win and 100 isn't out of the question, but it won't be a given. We're going to see a little pre-spawn, some sight fishing, some post-spawn action, shad spawning activity and maybe even some topwater action. Pros itching to pull out a frog, Pop-R or buzzbait can scratch the itch.

Kevin VanDam — If there is any ever a time for him to claim consecutive wins, it is this week. VanDam's focus is incredibly sharp, he's coming off a win, the Series is on a lake where he always has done well and the mid-season fallout has begun. Guys in the bottom half of the field will be scrambling for points and money, yet KVD doesn't have to worry about either. He can just fish.

Mike Iaconelli — He said at the Smith Mountain event that sight fishing wasn't one of his top things. There should be enough post-spawn situations to give him a shot.

Fred Roumbanis — The frog should be working. This could be a good pick for any fantasy roster.

Skeet Reese — Typically he's never done very well on Guntersville but this year things are different. He's chasing the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year title and is fishing a little looser. This could be a good event for his Lucky Craft Redemption spinnerbait if the shad are gettin' busy.

Matt Herren — This "rookie" from Alabama is: (a) not a rookie by any stretch and (b) is familiar with the lake after scouting it heavily last autumn for the Southern Open finale. Herren's also picking up a little steam with a runner-up finish in the last event and will be looking to move one rung higher on the leaderboard.

Rob Russow
ESPN Outdoors pundit upstart

Matt Herren — This guy comes off the water every day disappointed that he didn't do better. That motivation almost got him his first Elite Series win last week at Smith Mountain, but he finished a close second to KVD. I'm anticipating another KVD-Herren showdown at Gunterville, but this time, I'm pulling for the Alabama native to come out on top. How cool would that be?

Timmy Horton — The shortened day at Wheeler cost Timmy a chance to shine in his hometown, but he will get the chance at redemption at Guntersville, where he has done very well this time of year. Put this man anywhere near shell beds in the spring and summer, any time of year really, and he's going to come back with a hefty limit each day. This could be one of those tournaments where he finds that magic shell bed and blows away the field.

Greg Vinson — This could be considered a risky pick since Vinson is an unproven rookie on the Elite Series. I'll take his second-place finish in the Southern Open last year and his Alabama postal code and call Vinson my dark horse.

Alton Jones — Alton during Guntersville winters: frigid. Alton during Gunterville springs: money. You have to consider time of year when putting him on your team. He has two top-10 finishes on the G at this time of year and two sub-70 finishes in the late winter. The freeze is over and after a disappointing affair on Smith Mountain, he's going to be in the top six, guaranteed. BAM!

Kelly Jordon — KJ has the Guntersville double punch covered. He is both an excellent sight fisherman and can pick apart structure better than anyone on tour. That means he will be able to catch them up shallow and clean up on post-spawners that are hanging on off-shore humps and ledges. His last two Elite events on Guntersville back this pick up with two top-13 finishes to his credit.

Tired of hearing from anglers, former anglers or writers? Here's's HTML guru with a hard look at the numbers.

Fred Lalande Web Producer

Timmy Horton — Timmy has five top-12 finishes on Lake Guntersville since 2002 including the previous two Southern Challenges. A native of Muscle Shoals, Ala., Horton is a great option and will almost certainly fish on all four tournament days.

Kevin VanDam — Last time, I tried to do something different and not write about KVD in my picks. I'm not even going to try it for this one. KVD won the 2007 Southern Challenge and finished in fourth in 2006. Additionally, he finished second at the 2002 Alabama Bassmaster Tour event and third in 2004. He's a must start (as usual).

Mike Iaconelli — Ike's been ON and OFF this year, but I'm thinking he'll be ON for this one. He needs a solid finish to get back into the TTBAOY conversation and he's done very well here in the past. In addition to winning the 2006 Southern Challenge he finished in 19th at the 2005 Alabama Bassmaster Tour, fifth in 2004 and 14th in 2002.

Matt Herren — This Alabama native finished in third place at last year's Southern Open on Lake Guntersville. Sure, it was a fall tournament, but this rookie is on a roll. Priced at a reasonable 14.1 MKT, you simply can't go wrong.

Kelly Jordon — Jordon won the 2002 Alabama Tour, finished sixth at the 2007 Southern Challenge and 13th in 2006. I wouldn't be surprised if he pulled out a top-10 and he needs to if he wants to get back in the mix for TTBAOY.

Note: Terry Scroggins, Jason Quinn and Gerald Swindle have also had relatively consistent success in previous tournaments on Lake Guntersville.