Who's going to come out on top

GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. — The 2008 Bassmaster Elite Series tour begins its eighth event of the 11-tournament season Thursday with the Bluegrass Brawl presented by Diehard Platinum Marina Batteries. Both Kentucky Lake on the Tennessee River and Lake Barkley on the Cumberland River are available to the 107 professional anglers.

The Bluegrass Brawl is predicted to fish much like the tournament last week on Alabama's Wheeler Lake. Offshore river ledges are holding big numbers of bigger than average fish for these two lakes. But there's also a good shallow-water bite that could be a factor, especially during the first two days of the four-day event.

The field will be cut to the top 50 after Friday's weigh-in and the top 12 after Saturday. The 9 a.m. ET take-offs and 6 p.m. ET weigh-ins will be held at Kentucky Dam Marina.

Twelve pros were asked to pick the three most likely winners of the $100,000 first place prize this week.

Dave Wolak

  1. Skeet Reese — He did well here the last time and doing well here means you know what to look for as far as what holds fish.

  2. Grant Goldbeck — He seems to be catching them really well. These are the types of lakes that Grant does well on, where he can find a few holes and fish deep.

  3. Jay Fuller — I know he's catching them, too.

Mark Tucker

  1. Kevin Wirth — He knows lots of areas here. He knows where the fish live and how to catch them.

  2. Mark Menendez — Because he's got good local knowledge of these lakes.

  3. Kevin VanDam — He's on fire, and he knows what's going on here.

Fred Roumbanis

  1. Steve Kennedy — Because he's very good on these lakes. He's won a couple of FLW events here.

  2. Matt Amedeo — He's found something pretty awesome. He's got something going on.

  3. Terry Scroggins — I think he's pretty good offshore, and he can mix it up and catch them shallow too.

Mark Davis

  1. Mark Mendez — Local knowledge.

  2. Kevin Wirth — Local knowledge.

  3. Kevin VanDam — He's been on fire, and he's on the roll of his life.

Matt Amedeo

  1. Kevin VanDam — He's been fishing here for 20 years, plus he's got lots of pig holes.

  2. Todd Faircloth — He's on such a roll.

  3. Mark Davis — He's good deep in a post-spawn situation.

Jeff Connella

  1. Mark Menendez — He didn't do well the last time we were here, and I think he wants it this time.

  2. Greg Hackney — He's due, and he knows this lake pretty well.

  3. Cliff Pace — I just think this suits Cliff's style of fishing, with a deep, post-spawn bite.

Paul Elias

  1. Kevin VanDam — He did good the last time here, and he knows a lot of these ledges.

  2. Kelly Jordon — He's hell with that spoon, and a spoon could win this thing.

  3. Kevin Wirth — He's fished Barkley a lot. I don't think there will be near the pressure there as there will be on Kentucky.

Kevin Short

  1. Steve Kennedy — I'm on his spot, and that's making him nervous.

  2. Mike McClelland — I think it's going to set up well for him. It's going to be won offshore, and it's one of those deals where, if you find the right spot, you can catch 25 pounds on five casts.

  3. Morizo Shimizu— He's a really good offshore fisherman, just like McClelland.

Shaw Grigsby

  1. Kevin VanDam — First of all, he's the best in the world. Second, he knows the ledges here. Put those together and he'll be hard to beat.

  2. Kelly Jordon — If he's not the best structure fisherman, he's one of them. He's real comfortable here.

  3. Kevin Wirth — He's got local knowledge, he knows the ledges, and he loves fishing deep-water structure.

Dean Rojas

  1. Kevin VanDam — He always wins.

  2. Kelly Jordon — He does well on deep structure lakes.

  3. Steve Kennedy — He likes to look at that color TV screen.

Chris Lane

  1. Steve Kennedy — He's won here twice, and he knows where the big ones eat.

  2. Kelly Jordon — He knows how to throw that spoon.

  3. Todd Faircloth — He's on fire.

Jeff Kriet

  1. Kelly Jordon — He's good here catching them on a spoon. He knows how to do that better than anyone else out here.

  2. Kevin VanDam — There's not a ledge out there where you can't catch them cranking, and he's as good as there is doing that.

  3. Matt Reed — He's good offshore. I know he's on some good fish, and he did well here the last time.

Visit Bassmaster.com for full coverage of the Elite Series Bluegrass Brawl with weigh-in host Keith Alan, June 12–15, 2008. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, daily weigh-ins with live streaming video and real-time leaderboards start at 6:00 p.m. ET. On Saturday, catch "Bassmaster University" at 5:30 p.m. ET before the weigh-in. Then on Sunday, get "Hooked Up" with hosts Tommy Sanders and Mark Zona at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. ET, with the final day weigh-in and real-time leaderboard content starting at 6:00 p.m. ET.