2014 Bassmaster Classic Power Rankings - World Fishing Network

2014 Bassmaster Classic Power Rankings

Posted by on Feb 20, 2014   3:20 PM |  Angling & Sport Fishing News
Edwin Evers Edwin Evers B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

Every year we try and put together a list of the anglers most likely to win bass fishing’s most prestigious tournament, the Bassmaster Classic. As evidenced by our power rankings over the last two years, predicting winners isn’t exactly easy as they all have a shot to win. There are 55 competitors this year, but it’s the ten guys below that are the most likely to come out on top, ranked from 10th to first.

Note: Rankings are based on anglers’ accomplishments in 2013, previous Classic appearances, how well suited they are for the lake, and performances in past Lake Guntersville Elite Series tournaments (2011, 2010, 2007, and 2006).

Jason Christie

jason christie bassmaster classic

Photo credit: B.A.S.S./Gary Tramontina

Jason Christie had the kind of dream year in 2013 that even the likes of Kevin VanDam would be jealous of. Not only did he come back from 11th place to win an Elite Series tournament on Bull Shoals Lake, he won two FLW events, too. Couple those wins with a consistently solid year and Christie was arguably the greatest pro angler of 2013. Question is, can the hot streak continue? He finished a disappointing 7th place on his home lake in last year’s Classic – disappointing based on his own expectations – but with less of a spotlight on him this year, he may actually perform even better this year.

Previous Lake Guntersville results
2010: N/A
2009: N/A
2007: N/A
2006: N/A

Classic Wins
0

Chris Lane

Chris Lane

Photo credit: B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

Of all the hometown favorites this year, it’s Chris Lane who likely faces the most pressure, especially coming off the drama of last season. A poor season in the Elite Series had Lane on the verge of missing the Classic altogether, but somehow, out of his element, this Florida-born angler won the last tournament of the season on Lake St. Clair to secure a berth. A victory like that proves that Lane can win anywhere, any time. A big reason he’s not higher on this list is his mediocre showings on Guntersville in the past. Can he break the hometown curse? He has the skills to do it.

Previous Lake Guntersville results
2010: 40
2009: 91
2007: 50
2006: 35

Classic Wins
1 – 2012

Brandon Palaniuk

Brandon Palaniuk - Photo credit: B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

Photo credit: B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

Though he’s only been on the Elite Series circuit a few years, it’s pretty clear what to expect from Palaniuk. He’ll either blow the competition away with a spectacular performance, or fall to the back of the pack in a hurry. It’s all-or-nothing with Palaniuk, and for a tournament like the Bassmaster Classic, that can actually work in your favor. Often, it’s the angler who goes for broke that ultimately takes the title. He was the runner-up last year to Cliff Pace, and placed fourth in 2011, so he’s more than capable of pulling three solid days together. Of course he finished second-last in 2012, but this Idaho-native knows a thing or two about bass fishing in cold conditions and may very well break the every-other-year trend.

Previous Lake Guntersville results
2010: N/A
2009: N/A
2007: N/A
2006: N/A

Classic Wins
0

Michael Iaconelli

Michael Iaconelli

Photo credit: B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

Fan-favorite Michael Iaconelli had an even scarier route getting to the Classic than Chris Lane. Iaconelli missed out on AOY points and wins in the Elite Series altogether, but he managed to win a late-season Northern Open to sneak into this year’s main event. He’s had success with the lake in the past – actually, his only Elite Series win came on this lake, back in 2006. Ike is likely still pumped up from his win last fall, so look for his trademark determination to get through the muddy conditions on Guntersville.

Previous Lake Guntersville results
2010: 66
2009: 4
2007: 64
2006: 1

Classic Wins
1 – 2003

Bobby Lane

Bobby Lane

Photo credit: B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

That’s right, between the Lane brothers, it’s Bobby that’s actually ranked higher on this list. Why? Just because Chris has won a Classic, doesn’t mean he’s better suited to fish Guntersville, even if it is his home lake. Simply put, Bobby has performed better on Guntersville in the past. And – Chris’s 2012 win notwithstanding – Bobby is a better Classic performer: six top-20 finishes out of six tournaments is a great track record. Chris, by comparison, has a 41st and 49th place to round out his three appearances. Brother comparisons aside, Bobby is a versatile angler that should be able to find fish in the cold, muddy waters of Guntersville this weekend.

Previous Lake Guntersville results
2010: 33
2009: 29
2007: N/A
2006: N/A

Classic Wins
0

Randall Tharp

Randall Tharp

Photo credit: B.A.S.S./James Overstreet

A little bit of the black sheep of this list is Randall Tharp, who is primarily an FLW Tour angler who happened to make it to the Classic thanks to a B.A.S.S. Central Open win last year on the Ross Barnett Reservoir. Tharp’s coming into the Classic as the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup champion, so winning big-time tournaments is nothing new for him. Moreover, Tharp has found success on Guntersville in the past, taking home a B.A.S.S. Southern Open win back in 2008. To top it all off, though he lives in Florida, Tharp is from Birmingham, so there’s extra motivation to fish out his hometown.

Previous Lake Guntersville results
2010: N/A
2009: N/A
2007: N/A
2006: N/A

2008 – Southern Open win

Classic Wins
0

Edwin Evers

Edwin Evers

Photo credit: B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

You really feel like Evers has to win a Bassmaster Classic or Angler of the Year title sometime. He almost won AOY last year, but a big performance from Aaron Martens coupled with a mediocre final tournament pushed Evers to second-place. He’ll be eager to wipe the slate clean from a disappointing finish with a strong performance on Guntersville – or maybe even a win? He’s arguably the most versatile angler on tour and is more than capable to make the necessary adjustments to fish on lake that has faced unusually colder-than-normal temperatures. He’s had some strong finishes on Guntersville in the past, so he knows the layout of the lake very well.

Previous Lake Guntersville results
2010: 19
2009: 36
2007: 67
2006: 7

Classic Wins
0

Aaron Martens

Aaron Martens

Photo credit: B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

The last three anglers on this list seem to have a real handle on the lake and have all won Angler of the Year titles. Aaron Martens took home AOY honors last year, and has now won it twice, but it’s easy to see in any interview how much he wants to win a Classic. He’s famously been runner-up for the tournament an astounding four times, so to say he’s due is an understatement. Martens won on Lake Guntersville in 2009, so mark this lake down as one Martens is comfortable with. On top of that, though he’s originally from California, he now makes his home in Alabama, so there’s potential home field advantage (though it should be noted it’s more often than not a disadvantage). Only reason he is not higher on this list is that Martens has shown posted some pretty poor results in the early part of the calendar year recently, something he himself admitted in an episode of World Fishing Journal.

Previous Lake Guntersville results
2010: 19
2009: 36
2007: 67
2006: 7

Classic Wins
0

Skeet Reese

Skeet Reese

Photo credit: B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

Off all the 55 competitors at this year’s Classic, no angler can match the recent success of Skeet Reese when it comes to Lake Guntersville. The California-native has a soft spot for the Alabama lake, winning there in 2010 and placing second in 2009. Now, fishing Lake Guntersville in February is a whole different ball game than May, but there’s something to be said for an angler’s confidence level when it comes to fishing a lake they’ve had success on in the past. If Reese is in the mix after the first day, other anglers best beware.

Previous Lake Guntersville results
2010: 1
2009: 2
2007: 53
2006: 34

Classic Wins
1 – 2009

Kevin VanDam

Kevin VanDam

Photo credit: B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

Look, it’s understandable if you’re disappointed that the most obvious, clichéd angler ranks at the top of this list. Sometimes, though, clichés cannot be ignored, and such is the case this year. Yes, Kevin VanDam is a threat on any lake, but he’s historically been an absolute beast on Guntersville, having never finished out of the top 20 since the Elite Series began in 2006. He even won once back in 2007 on Guntersville. There is one thing working against KVD, though – he’s in a drought. VanDam hasn’t even finished in the top twelve of any Elite Series tournament since 2011, let alone win one. His legacy remains intact – he’s still the de facto best bass angler in the world – but there are question marks about whether we’re seeing an angler who’s now passed his peak. Fortunately for KVD, that kind of speculation will only motivate him more and don’t be shocked if the Michigan angler finds his way back to familiar territory and win a record 5th Bassmaster Classic.

Previous Lake Guntersville results
2010: 9
2009: 20
2007: 1
2006: 4

Classic Wins
4 – 2011, 2010, 2005, 2001

All photos courtesy of B.A.S.S.

RELATED CONTENT