NICE, Calif. As the competitors in this week's Bassmaster Elite Series event, the Golden State Shootout presented by Evan Williams Bourbon, prepared tackle and signed autographs for kids, ESPNOutdoors.com asked them to name three anglers to watch. The consensus favored the Californians in the field.
Dean Rojas "If he can get past the first two days, it's going to get right for him."
Jared Lintner "That local deal."
Denny Brauer "There are too many boat docks, and he knows how to catch them off docks."
Skeet Reese, Aaron Martens, and Jared Lintner. "They all have knowledge of this lake. They all have a history here, and they've all won here."
Aaron Martens "He knows this lake very well."
Ish Monroe "Local knowledge."
Fred Roumbanis "A swim bait expert."
Jared Lintner "He's a local."
Skeet Reese "Local knowledge." (Myers, like Niggemeyer, elaborated to say that they're expecting the big fish to be caught on a pre-spawn pattern, giving an edge to the anglers who know which areas on the lake to exploit.)
Steve Kennedy "He's on a roll."
Kevin VanDam "Always VanDam. He's 10 miles above us."
Aaron Martens and Skeet Reese "They both know the water quite well. The should know how to run down the big bite. One of the two is going to be dominant."
Skeet Reese and Aaron Martens "I'm really going out on a limb here. Skeet and Aaron have so much local knowledge."
Jared Lintner "I saw first-hand the fish Jared's catching. Some pigs."
Ish Monroe "The fish are in that mode that will work for him."
Fred Roumbanis "He has good knowledge of the lake. The fish are moving, and he can keep up."
Edwin Evers "He has something to make up." (That is, after a disastrous first day in last week's tournament, when a clock set an hour off made him so late to the check-in that penalties nullified his 20-pound bag.)
Skeet Reese "He's a good pre-spawn and sight fisherman."
Grant Goldbeck "He's my dark horse."
John Crews "A good pre-spawn and sight fisherman."
Dave Wolak "He didn't practice the third day."
Skeet Reese "He has local knowledge, and he's in the top 10 always."
Denny Brauer "If he finds his flipping bite."
Jared Lintner "He's from here, knows the lake well."
Paul Elias "He got good help before the cutoff."
Dave Wolak "He didn't practice today."
Editors Note: ESPNOutdoors.com's new and exclusive pre-game show, Hooked Up, will start at 6 p.m. (EST) on Sunday, April 1. It will be hosted by ESPN2 Bassmaster television hosts Tommy Sanders and Jerry McKinnis, and can be seen in the same location on ESPNOutdoors.com where the live video weigh-in is streamed. Click here for more information