Some of the best bass anglers in the world are headed to arguably the best bass lake in the world this week. Sounds like a recipe for awesomeness!
The key is to figure out who is most likely to scale Mount Awesome (thanks Mark Zona) with our “Data Overload” series. The problem is, there has been only one Elite Series event on Falcon and only five Major or Minor events since the turn of the century. No worries. Like with the Sabine River (did we call Todd Faircloth or what?!) we’ll find some pros to pick.
Are you ready? Then let’s start crunching.
First thing you need to know about this tournament is that it might as well be called the Keith Combs Charity Tournament. Combs guides on Falcon from time to time. Even more, in three Major or Minor events, he’s finished second, 11th and 21st, and the 21st was a fish-off format where anything can happen. If you’re looking for a giant, glaring, neon, oh-my-God-you-need-to-pick-this-guy sign for a favorite … um, he’s right here.
OK, so how are we going to pick the rest of the favorites? Well, Falcon also happens to be just down the Rio Grande River from Lake Amistad, where the Elite Series has been four times. If one is a fluke and two is a pattern, then four makes … you get the idea. And when you combine the one Falcon event with the four Amistad events, some pros begin to clearly stand out.
The first is Michael Iaconelli. As long as his boat has recovered from its bit of off-roading at the Sabine River, Iaconelli and his 909.290 average is certainly someone to watch. He took 11th at the 2008 Falcon event, and he has never finished outside the top 20 at Amistad.
Every so often Gary Klein still has it in him to make a top 10, and Falcon may be another one of those times. He finished 13th there in 2008, and he also he three top 10s at Amistad. Hence the 898.506 average.
Dean Rojas and Ish Monroe are both known as superior frog fishermen. They both contended at the Sabine River. And the both have equally impressive averages at Falcon and Amistad. Who knew? Anyways, Rojas has the slightly better average (863.183 to 837.792), but Monroe has more top 10s, including a win at Amistad in 2006.
Looking at the rest of the pros with big averages (75 percent and above), it reads pretty much like a who’s who of the Elite Series. I mean seriously, check this out — Alton Jones (834.284), Jason Williamson (820.332), Todd Faircloth (808.573), Jeff Kriet (791.804), Edwin Evers (786.050), Kevin VanDam (785.525), Greg Hackney (777.475) and Skeet Reese (765.586). We pretty much just listed every angler that will be in Pool A for Bassmaster’s Fantasy Fishing.
OK, so who are the big-name guys who you may want to steer clear from (we say “may” because Ish Monroe showed up in our not-so-good list for the Sabine and then made the top 10)? Chris Lane is a name that stands out almost as much as his 351.791 average. James Niggemeyer may be a Texas resident, but Amistad and Falcon sure haven’t done him any favors. He has a 365.110 average. Then there is Paul Elias, who won the Falcon event last time. His average … 484.129.