Rivers are tricky beasts. Just when you think you have something figured out, it changes. The water gets dirty, rises, falls, evaporates … whatever.
That’s not going to stop us from trying to figure out who should whack ‘em this weekend at the brand new stretch of Mississippi River for the Elite Series anglers.
The first question: Who is the best summer “river rat?”
That would be Kevin Short. In the last decade, Short has an 868.607 average fishing summer rivers across the country, namely the Mississippi and Arkansas. Oh, and he won the last time the Elite Series made a stop on the Big Muddy in 2009. Might want to target him for your fantasy team. And if not him Edwin Evers is another top choice, as he’s the only other angler with an average over 800 (807.856 to be exact).
Next question: How the heck are two deep-water anglers the next two best river anglers, statistically?
Aaron Martens and Kevin VanDam are usually classified as offshore anglers. Yet, both have impressive averages on rivers. Martens clocks in at 784.778 and KVD at 763.641. The last time the Elite Series was on the Mississippi, VanDam did zero on day one. We’ll chalk that up to the stars and moons lining up that day against him that day, because he did end up finishing 28th in that event. He also has finishes of first, fifth, 10th, 11th, 12th and 18th. As for Martens, he bombed his way to a 75th in 2009, but he also has a pair of seconds on summer rivers.
No. 3: Who are some good anglers that might be a little off the radar?
Take a look at Tommy Biffle, Gerald Swindle and Skeet Reese. Biffle is a shallow, flipping savant who boasts a 758.103 average on river tournaments in the summer, including a fourth in 2009. The G-Man isn’t far behind with a 729.098. What constitutes a 729.098? Finishes of third, third, sixth, 11th, 11th, 20th and 21st. Not too shabby right there. And Reese has a 712.465.
No. 4: Can you just list some other guys who are solid picks, just in case?
Sure we can. Let’s go with Rick Clunn (702.396), Greg Vinson (697.874), Matt Reed (695.701), Cliff Pace (690.254), Gary Klein (688.627), Davy Hite (681.771), Michael Iaconelli (665.860) and Greg Hackney (652.407).