By BassFan Staff

(Part 3 of a 3-part examination of the 2014 Bassmaster Classic field, with anglers listed in alphabetical order. Read part 1 here. Read part 2 here.)

Paul Mueller – Southburg, Conn.
> Qualified through: B.A.S.S. Nation (Eastern Division champion)
> Classics fished: 0
> Best Classic finish: N/A
> Elite Series finishes at Guntersville: N/A
> Current world rank: N/A
> Insight: No doubt a longshot, Mueller had roughly 340 likes on his Facebook fan page as of Tuesday morning. If he's able to pull off the unthinkable and win at Guntersville, that number will surely skyrocket. The multi-species guide from Connecticut is no stranger to the big stage. He was the co-angler champion at the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup, an event he's qualified for three times.

John Murray – Phoenix, Ariz.
> Qualified through: Elite Series points
> Classics fished: 6
> Best Classic finish: 10th (2004)
> Elite Series finishes at Guntersville: 15th (2010), 17th (2009), 58th (2007), 29th (2006)
> Current world rank: 68th
> Insight: Murray closed 2013 with a runner-up finish at the Toyota Texas Bass Classic after putting together his best Elite Series campaign since 2006. He'd love nothing than to open a busy '14 schedule (he's fishing both tours) with a strong showing at the Classic, which he hasn't fished since 2010.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

Takahiro Omori – Emory, Texas
> Qualified through: Elite Series points
> Classics fished: 9
> Best Classic finish: 1st (2004)
> Elite Series finishes at Guntersville: 25th (2010), 65th (2009), 77th (2007), 6th (2006)
> Current world rank: 56th
> Insight: He's made no secret that he's not a fan of cold-weather fishing, but after scrambling down the stretch in 2013 to earn enough Angler of the Year points to qualify for his 10th Classic, he's thrilled to have another shot at a second Classic crown, especially since rattlebaits are expected to play big. He says the arm pain that gave him trouble during the later portion of last season has mostly subsided.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

Brandon Palaniuk – Rathdrum, Id.
> Qualified through: St. Lawrence River Elite Series winner
> Classics fished: 3
> Best Classic finish: 2nd (2013)
> Elite Series finishes at Guntersville: N/A
> Current world rank: 40th
> Insight: One of the fastest-rising and most popular young stars in the game today, Palaniuk isn't awestruck by the Classic scene. His tournament record at Guntersville is sparse, but he proved last year at Grand Lake that he's a force to be reckoned with in cold-water, pressure-packed scenarios. His bounce-back win at the St. Lawrence River after the culling mishap at La Crosse last year showed he's as mentally tough as anyone.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

Clifford Pirch – Payson, Ariz.
> Qualified through: Elite Series points
> Classics fished: 0
> Best Classic finish: N/A
> Elite Series finishes at Guntersville: N/A
> Current world rank: 54th
> Insight: He has a win on the Tennessee River (Chickamauga, 2011) to his credit from his FLW Tour days, but his track record at Guntersville (64th and 91st) indicates he's got some ground to make up. He favors structure fishing, but is on the record that he's not fan of sub-50-degree water temps.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

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

Skeet Reese has twice cracked the 100-pound mark at Lake Guntersville.

Skeet Reese – Auburn, Ca.
> Qualified through: West Point Lake Elite Series winner/Elite Series points
> Classics fished: 13
> Best Classic finish: 1st (2008)
> Elite Series finishes at Guntersville: 1st (2010), 2nd (2009), 53rd (2007), 34th (2006)
> Current world rank: 34th
> Insight: Reese has cracked the 100-pound mark twice at Guntersville during Elite Series competition. Granted, those 4-day tournaments were in the April time frame, but his ability to connect with the big fish on this big-fish lake puts him in the serious contender conversation this year.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

Dean Rojas – Lake Havasu City, Ariz.
> Qualified through: Elite Series points
> Classics fished: 11
> Best Classic finish: 4th (2004)
> Elite Series finishes at Guntersville: 64th (2010), 47th (2009), 24th (2007), 11th (2006)
> Current world rank: 53rd
> Insight: February at Guntersville may not provide ideal conditions for Rojas to break out a frog, but he's plenty capable of getting on a roll with another bait tied on. Hasn't historically fared well on the Tennessee River and his Elite showings at G'ville have tailed off since he finished 11th there in '06.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

Fred Roumbanis – Bixby, Okla.
> Qualified through: Elite Series points
> Classics fished: 3
> Best Classic finish: 29th (2009)
> Elite Series finishes at Guntersville: 10th (2010), 56th (2009), 60th (2007), 67th (2006)
> Current world rank: 75th
> Insight: Has fished more than a half dozen tour-level events at Guntersville and has just one Top-50 showing. Coming off a 2013 season marked by major ups (two Top-5s) and downs (two triple-digit finishes), Roumbanis could use a steady Classic outcome to set the tone for another two-tour season. He's strong with a jig and isn't bothered by the pressure of big-money events – he won $250,000 at the 2007 Bassmaster American.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

Terry Scroggins – San Mateo, Fla.
> Qualified through: Elite Series points
> Classics fished: 10
> Best Classic finish: 4th (2006)
> Elite Series finishes at Guntersville: 63rd (2010), 22nd (2009), 4th (2007), 50th (2006)
> Current world rank: 27th
> Insight: As steady as they come in terms of performance, Scroggins has fished the last nine Classics in a row and is coming off a year in which he posted two Top-6 finishes. Since posting back-to-back Top-10s at the 2006 and 2007 Classics, he's finished no higher than 16th. Guntersville hasn't been awfully kind other than a 4th-place effort in '07.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

Morizo Shimizu – Osaka, Japan
> Qualified through: Elite Series points
> Classics fished: 1
> Best Classic finish: 23rd (2011)
> Elite Series finishes at Guntersville: 4th (2010), 64th (2009), 14th (2007), 49th (2006)
> Current world rank: 93rd
> Insight: One of three Japanese anglers in the field this year, Shimizu will be fishing his second Classic after finishing 2013 with two Top-25 finishes. He's put together a mixed bag of finishes on the Tennessee River, including a win at Kentucky Lake in 2006 and two other Top-10s (one each at Guntersville and Wheeler Lake). He caught a 30-pound bag on the final day of the 2005 Bassmaster Tour event at Guntersville, but was edged out by Zell Rowland for the win.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

Gerald Swindle – Warrior, Ala.
> Qualified through: Elite Series points
> Classics fished: 13
> Best Classic finish: 3rd (2005)
> Elite Series finishes at Guntersville: 17th (2010), 38th (2009), 26th (2007), 5th (2006)
> Current world rank: 50th
> Insight: Since 2003, the fan favorite Swindle has fished in all but one Classic, but his recent run hasn't resulted in anything better than results in the 20s or below. He's one of 10 Alabama natives in this Classic and his extensive experience on this pond could make him a contender.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

Randall Tharp – Port St. Joe, Fla.
> Qualified through: Ross Barnett Reservoir Central Open winner
> Classics fished: 1
> Best Classic finish: 35th (2011)
> Elite Series finishes at Guntersville: N/A
> Current world rank: 8th
> Insight: He credits Guntersville for helping him be able to make the jump to the pro ranks as his success there catapulted him to a successful run on the FLW Tour. He's won at G'ville several times and has put in plenty of time there in late winter/early spring. He badly wants to hold both major titles at the same time.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

BassFan
Photo: BassFan

David Walker has posted some strong finishes at Guntersville during FLW Tour events and always seems to be in contention at the Classic.

Doug Thompson – Mabelvale, Ark.
> Qualified through: B.A.S.S. Nation Central Division champion
> Classics fished: 0
> Best Classic finish: N/A
> Elite Series finishes at Guntersville: N/A
> Current world rank: N/A
> Insight: Thompson is just the second member of the Arkansas B.A.S.S. Nation to make the Classic since 2004. He wouldn't be considered such a longshot if the Classic were at Lake Dardanelle, where he won the 2012 Arkansas B.A.S.S. Nation championship to qualify for last year's B.A.S.S. Nation national championship, which was also at Dardanelle. He calls the Arkansas River his home water, so he won't be considered much of a threat at Guntersville.

Jonathon VanDam – Kalamazoo, Mich.
> Qualified through: Elite Series points
> Classics fished: 1
> Best Classic finish: 23rd (2013)
> Elite Series finishes at Guntersville: N/A
> Current world rank: 51st
> Insight: Earned his first Classic berth last year by winning at Lake Michigan in 2012. He locked up his second Classic trip on the strength of his consistency during the '13 season. He lacks any major tournament experience at Guntersville, but with a last name like his it'll be worth keeping an eye on him.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

Kevin VanDam – Kalamazoo, Mich.
> Qualified through: Elite Series points
> Classics fished: 23
> Best Classic finish: 1st (2001, 2005, 2010, 2011)
> Elite Series finishes at Guntersville: 9th (2010), 20th (2009), 1st (2007), 4th (2006)
> Current world rank: 12th
> Insight: He was in contention at last year's Classic at Grand Lake and went on to finish 3rd in Angler of the Year points. If there's any place where he could snap his winless streak, Guntersville appears to fit the profile. In four Elite Series events there, he's posted three Top-10s, including a win in 2007.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

Greg Vinson – Wetumpka, Ala.
> Qualified through: Elite Series points
> Classics fished: 2
> Best Classic finish: 2nd (2012)
> Elite Series finishes at Guntersville: 44th (2010), 35th (2009)
> Current world rank: 52nd
> Insight: He drew a lot of confidence from his runner-up showing to Chris Lane at the 2012 Classic and is pumped to be among the strong Alabama contingent headed to Guntersville. He knows plenty about the lake and could be a darkhorse contender despite a spotty tournament track record there.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

Adam Wagner – Cookeville, Tenn.
> Qualified through: Basssmaster Weekend Series champion
> Classics fished: 0
> Best Classic finish: N/A
> Elite Series finishes at Guntersville: N/A
> Current world rank: N/A
> Insight: The 2009 BFL All-American winner has banked nearly $300,000 in winnings from FLW, including eight victories (all BFL events). His A-A win earned him a spot in the 2009 Forrest Wood Cup where he finished 24th at Pittsburgh. He posted a BFL win at Guntersville last February with a one-day catch of 29-01. Could be a real sleeper pick.

David Walker – Sevierville, Tenn.
> Qualified through: Elite Series points
> Classics fished: 8
> Best Classic finish: 3rd (2001, 2002)
> Elite Series finishes at Guntersville: N/A
> Current world rank: 63rd
> Insight: Has two Top-6 finishes at Guntersville (4th in '10, 6th in '09) from his FLW Tour days and he posted an Elite Series win at neighboring Wheeler Lake in 2011. He's extremely versatile and is wired perfectly for these pressure-cooker tournaments – he just doesn't seem to get too high or too low.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

Chris Zaldain – San Jose, Ca.
> Qualified through: Elite Series points
> Classics fished: 0
> Best Classic finish: N/A
> Elite Series finishes at Guntersville: N/A
> Current world rank: 39th
> Insight: Californian will make his Classic debut and don't be surprised to see him slinging a big swimbait around. He came into his own last season with three Top-12s and six money finishes. A bit of a longshot only because his experience in the spring in the southeast is pretty limited.
> View his BassFan Angler Profile here.

Notable

> Below is the boat order for day 1 of the Bassmaster Classic (order will be reversed on day 2).

1. Aaron Martens
2. Cliff Pace (unable to compete)
3. Tommy Biffle
4. Ish Monroe
5. Terry Scroggins
6. Cliff Pirch
7. Rich Howes
8. Mark Davis
9. Yusuke Miyazaki
10. Chris Lane
11. Adam Wagner
12. Coby Carden
13. Mark Dove
14. Doug Thompson
15. Jordan Lee
16. Gerald Swindle
17. Edwin Evers
18. Randy Howell
19. Brandon Palaniuk
20. Casey Ashley
21. David Walker
22. John Crews
23. Jason Christie
24. Stephen Kennedy
25. Josh Bertrand
26. Alton Jones
27. Rick Morris
28. John Murray
29. Bill Lowen
30. Hank Cherry
31. Bobby Lane
32. Patrick Bone
33. Greg Vinson
34. Skeet Reese
35. David Kilgore
36. Kevin VanDam
37. Todd Faircloth
38. Brent Chapman
39. Takahiro Omori
40. Fred Roumbanis
41. Chris Jones
42. Gary Klein
43. Dean Rojas
44. Jeff Lugar
45. Chad Morgenthaler
46. Keith Combs
47. Paul Mueller
48. Chris Zaldain
49. Cliff Crochet
50. Stephen Browning
51. Morizo Shimizu
52. Randall Tharp
53. Jonathon VanDam
54. Ott DeFoe
55. Michael Iaconelli
56. Tim Johnston

End part 3 (of 3)