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Pundits’ Picks: Old Hickory Lake

Pundits’ Picks: Old Hickory Lake
FLW Outdoors presents Pundits' Picks

Four down, six are left in Pundits' Picks. The Writer Team beat the Pro Team 572.25 to 554.75, based on average team score, at the Atchafalaya Basin. But by most accounts, it was a dismal showing by both teams. Only one pundit, pro winner Randy Blaukat (705 points), topped the 700-point mark. Jeff Schroeder won on the writer side with just 610 points.

With the win, the writers had to cull one pundit per team out of competition. Here's how the vote turned out (four writers voted, Blaukat and Schroeder won protection):

Pros

David Dudley: 3
Mark Zona: 1

Writers

Dave Washburn: 2
Gary Mortenson: 1
Patrick Baker: 1

So Dudley and Washburn are the next two to be banished from Punditville. Sorry, guys. It was real. It was fun. You might even say it was really fun.

Tournament site

The FLW Tour visited Old Hickory Lake for the first time in May 2002. Despite predictions that the heavily pressured waterway would make for a tough tournament, a number of very sizable bass came across the scale that week, including a hefty 23-pound stringer weighed in by Rob Kilby. Basil Bacon, using mainly a buzzbait, won that event with the week's most consistent performance. The pros are saying it could be another tough tournament at Old Hickory this year, but don't be surprised if the numerous docks and shallows on the Tennessee impoundment still cough up a few 6- and 7-pounders.

Hot picks

Clark Wendlandt, Dean Rojas, Randy Blaukat and Dave Lefebre each garnered three picks from the six remaining pundits. Coming in with two nods apiece were Andy Morgan, Shinichi Fukae, Wesley Strader, Jim Eakins and Troy Eakins. Notably, the six remaining pundits and the four losing pundits offered a true variety of options for Old Hickory favorites, which demonstrates either A) that the lake is tough to pick because it doesn't really favor any particular pro or fishing style, or, more likely, B) that the pundits really have no idea what they're talking about. Of 50 possible total picks, 28 different pros received mentions - and that's a record.

Good luck, fellow Fishing Challengers, and good luck to everybody in Tennessee.

- Jeff Schroeder
__________________________

Wal-Mart FLW Tour stop No. 3
Old Hickory Lake, Gallatin, Tenn.
March 10-13

Writers' picks

FLW writer Jeff SchroederJeff Schroeder
Editor, FLWOutdoors.com
Previous tournament score (Atchafalaya Basin): 610

1) Andy Morgan. Sure, he had a rough start in Florida and Louisiana, but that was before he came home to Tenne ... Tennessee. How does the song go? "Take me to another place / Take me to another land. ..."
2) Shinichi Fukae. Tough to understand a word he's saying, but the statement this Japanese FLW "rookie" is making is loud and clear: "I didn't travel halfway around the world to lose fishing tournaments."
3) Dean Rojas. Can't ignore him anymore, but I worry about his ability to maintain the momentum. This pick could burn me, but the points leader did well at Old Hickory in 2002 so he earns the spot.
4) Koby Kreiger. Haven't heard much from Mr. Kreiger in a while, but he likes to pop up in the top 10 about once a year or so. His last FLW top 10? Fourth place at Old Hickory in 2002. He's overdue and he's got fish here, not to mention he's tight with Tennessee boys like Craig Powers, Wes Strader and Andy Morgan.
5) Aaron Martens. Why, oh why, don't I pick the hotter Californian, Steve Tosh, in this spot? One word: Consistency. Tosh has scorched the opening rounds with some huge bass so far, but he can't seem to put two great days together. Everyone knows a Californian always represents at these things, so I'm going with the ol' reliable. Martens not only makes cuts, he's usually a threat to win almost anywhere.

FLW writer Patrick BakerPatrick Baker
Editor, FLWOutdoors.com
Previous tournament score: 559

1) Dean Rojas. Didn't pick Dudley at the Big O, regretted it. Picked Double D at Atchafalaya, regretted it. I'm putting my money on Rojas - currently the No. 1 man on tour overall - to break my cycle of regret.
2) Shinichi Fukae. This pick goes beyond playing it safe - though at this stage of elimination-style punditry, padding your picks may be prudent - because this guy can fish. In his first two FLWs, he's grabbed fourth- and 11th-place finishes. Hailing from Japan, he's said he isn't used to large bodies of water, but that didn't stop him at Okeechobee or Atchafalaya. I think Old Hickory will suit him well.
3) Dave Lefebre. This was another easy pick. He's ranked No. 12 on tour, and Lefebre nabbed third place at the EverStart Series Championship on Old Hickory late last year.
4) Vic Vatalaro. He placed fifth in the 2003 EverStart Championship plus Vatalaro is hot off a respectable 22nd-place finish at the basin.
5) Randy Blaukat. I guess I just have a gut feeling that Blaukat - 28th at Okeechobee and seventh at the basin - has built up a head of steam that's going to take him to the top.

FLW writer Gary MortensonGary Mortenson
Editor, FLWOutdoors.com
Previous tournament score: 546

1) Andy Morgan. After finishing the FLW Tour's Old Hickory event in seventh place in 2002, Morgan, a Tennessee native, is poised to return this time around and bring home the gold.
2) Dean Rojas. Rojas is simply on fire this year and my guess is that he'll take another huge step toward solidifying his frontrunner status as the top AOY candidate.
3) David Walker. Another Tennessee native, Walker has fished consistently well on Old Hickory for the better part of half a decade. Look for that to continue.
4) Mark Pack. With an eighth-place finish at Old Hickory in 2002, Pack - who has clearly stepped up his game in 2004 - should be poised for another great finish.
5) Clark Wendlandt. Pound for pound, dollar for dollar, one of the top anglers on the FLW Tour. In addition, Wendlandt needs a good showing to get back into the AOY race.

Pros' picks

FLW pro Randy BlaukatRandy Blaukat
FLW pro, Lamar, Mo.
Previous tournament score: 705

1) Troy Eakins. Back in Missouri, we have a lot of water similar to Old Hickory, and he usually does very well this time of year. He is a shallow-water jig expert, and I look for him to do very well if we have some bad spring weather.
2) Jackie Davis. Another Missouri shallow-water jig expert. Jackie has had a slow start so far in the FLWs, but his record in Missouri is incredible, to say the least. I think Old Hickory will suit his style.
3) Randy Blaukat. Old Hickory is one of my favorite lakes. There are a lot of shallow-water options here, and this tournament is being held at one of my favorite times to fish. Like everyone else, with just 27,000 acres of water, the key is going to be finding something off-the-wall.
4) Jim Eakins. Like my first four picks, Jim is also a Missouri angler, and I have seen him excel under similar conditions to what we will have at Old Hickory. He is a dock-fishing expert, and Old Hickory has a lot of docks.
5) Wesley Strader. Wesley probably knows all the Tennessee lakes as well as anyone on tour, and Old Hickory is no exception. I look for him to do well under heavy fishing pressure, cold front conditions and a generally tough bite overall.

FLW pro Clark WendlandtClark Wendlandt
FLW pro, Cedar Park, Texas
Previous tournament score: 595

1) Troy Eakins. Troy finished third at the EverStart Championship back in October. He was very consistent and that will be the most important factor this week.
2) Jim Eakins. If one of the Eakins catches them in a tournament, the other usually follows suit.
3) Randy Blaukat. Randy is catching them everywhere he goes. He especially likes tough tournaments. This one may even be his to win.
4) Dave Lefebre. Dave is coming off a fourth-place finish at Old Hickory in October and he is very hungry for a win.
5) Clark Wendlandt. I have fished Old Hickory many times and I usually fare well when the fishing is tough. I look forward to a good, tough week.

EverStart pro Mark ZonaMark Zona
EverStart pro, Sturgis, Mich.
Previous tournament score: 559

1) Wesley Strader. S-W-E-E-T-N-E-S-S.
2) Craig Powers. After two tough outings, this Tennessee pro will show his shoulders in this event.
3) Clark Wendlandt. It mentally and physically pains me to pick Clark three tournaments in a row, but the guy catches fish wherever he goes.
4) Mark Rose. He's fishing with a lot of momentum and does extremely well when shallow cranking is a must. He will shine in this event.
5) Dave Lefebre. Despite a small stumble at the last event, I highly expect him to explode out of the gates at this tournament.

Links:

Losers' Picks
Play the FLW Outdoors Fishing Challenge

Tags: pre-tournament  2004-03-10-old-hickory-lake 

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