For instance, Kevin VanDam has three Classics including one in New Orleans and 19 other B.A.S.S. wins. Our own Greg Hackney, on the other hand, has come close only once in eight previous Classic appearances, but he's finished in the money 78 out of 99 B.A.S.S. events with 34 of those being top-10 showings.
But the Classic is a different animal, with limited practice time just before the event. So anything can happen, and that makes it difficult to predict who will rise to the top. Most of the times it's one of the pros who picks up the Classic title, but every now and then a guy breaks out for a surprise victory.
LouisianaSportsman.com polled some experts who closely follow the professional trails and asked them to provide their top three picks, along with one dark horse whom they believe could surprise the world.
A few names predictably popped up over and over, but there were some surprises. Here's who these die-hard B.A.S.S. watchers will be keeping an eye on and why they think their picks are real contenders:
Bassmaster magazine editor
• Gerald Swindle – When you are looking for anglers with a consistent record on the Delta, you have to add G-man to the mix. The Alabama pro was fifth in 2001 and 11th in 2003. Plus, success spawns success – and Swindle is coming off his first-ever B.A.S.S. win at the recent Florida Open.
• Kevin VanDam – You have to pick KVD because everyone else is going to pick KVD. So, you'll eliminate the competition. Oh, you should also pick him because he is the best angler on the planet, won here in 2001 – and because everyone will make fun of you if you do not pick KVD.
• Terry Scroggins – This Floridian is one of the best flippers on the Elite Series, and I have a feeling this Classic will be won with a flippin' stick. His home waters fish much like the Louisiana Delta – so he will not be intimidated by the size of the playing field or the style in which bass will need to be caught.
• Kelly Jordon (dark horse) – This is a gut pick and certainly a dark horse for this world championship. This Texan is due to shine at the Classic. Plus, he fishes a lot of saltwater in his off time, and really understands the mechanics of a tidal fishery.
Click here to read seven other experts' predictions about who will win the 2011 Bassmaster Classic.