LAKEPORT, Calif. When two of the top Elite Series anglers score their best bags ever, you know the day is out of hand. When one of those is Skeet Reese, you know something special took place.
Reese's weights increased between the first and second days of the Golden State Shootout presented by Evan Williams Bourbon. But he blew them away with a 35-pound, 7-ounce limit that he said could have been 40 pounds if everything had broken his way.
"All the places where they've been chasing or nipping, they were chewing," Reese said.
Whereas he had been running to 50 or 60 spots a day, Reese said, he slowed down Saturday. He stayed on his first spot until he had a 25-pound limit before breezing around the lake. "After that, I was a freak, blowing and going the whole time," he said.
Saturday's "perfect" weather windier than in past days set the table for him. "Today that window of opportunity was pretty much all damn day," Reese said.
Steve Kennedy's lifetime-best 40-7 stringer came at a price.
The Alabama native has had to stock up on the swimbaits that West Coast anglers use to catch big bass in several feet of water.
His bait store bill so far? "They've already got me for two grand this week," he said. He's going back for more in hopes of making up a 2-10 deficit on leader Greg Gutierrez on the tournament's final day.
Gas and go
Kelly Jordon fell from second place to seventh on Saturday after he weighed in a 21-3 bag that was more than 12 pounds smaller than his Friday haul.
One reason was a delay he faced dealing with the owners of a gas dock who chased him off, saying he was within 50 feet of the dock. Jordon protested, and even went so far as to call tournament officials and the sheriff's office, but to no avail.
A whale lift
Trip Weldon won't be needing to visit the gym anytime soon.
After three days of the Golden State Shootout, Weldon, and those who handle the fish at the weigh-in, have had to deal with 9,287 pounds, 9 ounces of bass. The Elites have caught 1,324 bass weighing 5,537 pounds, 3 ounces. The co-anglers brought in 1,227 fish totaling 3,740-6 pounds.
Weldon takes the black mesh bags of fish from the angler, often times shaking out any excess water, then lifts it up to the waist-high scale. He lifts it off the scale to hand it back to the angler or other workers as they get the fish back to water and the release boats.
The big Clear Lake bags translate into Weldon lifting more than 9 tons, or about a small whale. A little fatigue might have made it look like the lean bass slinger struggled with a couple bags, but he's got his tricks.
"I try to use leverage," the weighmaster says. "I also let some of the co-angler picks theirs back up."
Local co-anglers Bob Myskey and Russ Stansbury had a harrowing experience three weeks ago, but both keep right on chugging.
In the Vanity Cup on Clear Lake, both were ejected from Myskey's boat while making a run at 67 mph.
"Day 2, right about noon, we're roaming across the lake, his lower unit came loose, spun us in a 180 instantly, both of us ejected from the boat," Stansbury said. "I flew about 40 feet. Bob flew about 20. I flew over him. I still got a bump on my leg. I hit the steering wheel. He was holding onto the steering wheel. The steering wheel just got torqued."
Myskey said all he saw when he surfaced was Stansbury's shoe, then he popped up and both said they were OK, considering of course.
Both made the co-angler cut to fish Saturday, Myskey finishing third and Stansbury, who had a 44-pound bag in winning an event here two weeks ago, was in the hunt on Day One but fell to 26th.
"If I could catch the ones that followed that thing (swimbait) in, I could have weighed in 50." Jason Williamson
"If you can't see them, you can't catch them here. At least, I can't." Boyd Duckett
"I've got to have a banner day, and Kennedy can't go out and do what he did today." Greg Gutierrez, on his keys to pulling out the tournament win
"That's the biggest fish I've ever caught." Timmy Horton on his 12-1 giant
"The longer you play bingo, the more likely your number is gonna hit." Gerald Swindle, on throwing swimbaits all day
Editors Note: ESPNOutdoors.com's new and exclusive pre-game show, Hooked Up, will start at 6 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, April 1. It will be hosted by ESPN2 Bassmaster television hosts Tommy Sanders and Jerry McKinnis, and can be seen in the same location on ESPNOutdoors.com where the live video weigh-in is streamed.