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Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Updated: May 5, 12:33 PM ET
Guntersville: Weird Wins

By Kyle Carter
ESPN Outdoors

The weirdest year of the Bassmaster Elite Series continued on Pickwick and it will surely continue on Guntersville.

Here are a few examples:

• Only one of the top 10 in the current Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings finished in the top 10 after the regular season last year -- Skeet Reese.

• The last three Classic champions not named Skeet Reese are 38th (VanDam), 47th (Boyd Duckett) and 49th (Alton Jones) in the AOY standings.

• Kevin VanDam, everybody's fantasy fantasy because of his consistency, has become a thorn in the side of teams that stick with him.

• Zell Rowland and Kevin Wirth fish without smoking a carton a day.

• There's not a single angler from Arkansas or Texas in the AOY top 14

• My wife is beating me in Fantasy Fishing by just under 600 points and she hasn't touched her team since the Classic.

Is this even real? If you like a safe bet -- and I love a safe bet -- this is not the year for you. The only thing I can tell you with any kind of confidence is put Reese on your team. And if you don't know that by now … you're probably still beating me.

I am, however, coming off the confidence booster of handily beating a team I drew randomly from a hat last week (you can compare the two teams from my last column), so I'm going to go ahead and give my four choices for the Synergy Southern Challenge.

The good, and possibly bad, news is that there is a lot of BASS history on Guntersville, so there are some numbers to crunch. Off the top, it looks like this is, once again, a prime tournament for picking VanDam. He won on Guntersville two years ago and has four top 3s in 12 tournaments there.

But I'm done looking at past years to analyze KVD's chances this year. He's slumping and I'm no longer looking to get in on the bottom level, waiting for his stock to to rise (and it will rise). I'm prepared to live with the fact that he's going to burn me once again.

I'm going with Reese and Martens from Group A. Reese is an obvious choice, and not only did Martens win on Guntersville last year, but he's in a zone right now.

I'm continuing to try to wade through the chaos this season and find the consistent guys who have a history of being consistent. That leaves, from Group A, Reese (league of his own), then Martens and Iaconelli and then Hackney, Kennedy and Faircloth right behind. The one time I had Iaconelli on my team this year, he fished horribly, so I'm giving Martens a run.

Group B can go one of 100 ways: locals, non-locals, big fish guys and post-spawn guys. Remember all the history I said was available on Guntersville? I've decided not to use any of that and go with a couple hot hands (and I wonder why my team is sucking). I'm taking Edwin Evers and Dean Rojas, who are third and fourth in the AOY standings, respectively. Buying high -- that's a winning strategy isn't it?

In Group C, I'm going with Greg Vinson. He's tied for eighth in the AOY standings, he's from Alabama and he's fishing with confidence. You can't ask for a whole lot more than that from your fifth angler.