KISSIMMEE, Fla. As tough as the tournament lakes have been this week, two of the leaders have come across concentrations of fish more indicative of the spectacular springtime for which the area is known.
Bill Smith and Glenn DeLong fell back in weight on Day Two, but both feel the Sunshine Showdown, presented by Allstate Boat Insurance, can be won on their spots.
One might expect the combination of blistering heat, fishing pressure and random, rampaging afternoon thunderstorms might take a toll on the fish in specific small areas, but both anglers feel they've got enough fish to make a run at first place.
"My spot is an area where, if you get a little lucky, you can pull 17 or 18 pounds out of it each morning," said Smith, who said early morning shad movement is critical to his success. "I'm a little concerned that we don't seem to have as much wind this morning."
One thing Smith says he won't worry about on Day Three is the itch to try a secondary spot he found in practice, one which pulled him far from the hole that produced a Day One bag of 18-6 pounds. He conserved his water on Day Two, ringing up 10-12 pounds.
"I almost feel like yesterday was a blessing in disguise. I got the urge to check out that other spot out of my system," Smith said. "I'm not going anywhere else this morning. I'm pitching a tent there."
Glenn DeLong (4th place, 25-9) spent a good deal of time on Lake Toho in the off-season and it's paid off thus far this week as he battles to qualify for 2008. His spot is likewise one he has a great deal of confidence in and was relieved this morning upon hearing the intense thunderstorm that hit the south Orlando area Friday night didn't affect his water south of the launch site.
"I don't want anything to change. I've got a good patch of clean water surrounded by dirty water. I want bluebird skies so that I can flip," said DeLong, adding that he lost three heavy fish amid his 10-2 pound Day Two limit. "I honestly believe I've got enough there to win the tournament."
It was noticeably cooler at the launch site Saturday morning, thanks mostly to a significant rain event on Friday night. But it didn't take long for the steamy conditions to return as the sun peaked over the horizon. Preston Clark said for there to be any significant change in the conditions on tournament waters, there needs to be the type of rain associated with a tropical system.
"The water temperature's been going up every day. I talked to Chris Lane last night. He thought he had the tournament won, but the water temperature went from 84 to 87 on the first day and then jumped to 89 yesterday," said Clark.
Live, streaming video of the Sunshine Showdown's daily weigh-ins and realtime leaderboards begin Thursday through Saturday at 3 p.m. ET on ESPNOutdoors.com. Also live on ESPNOutdoors.com, "Hooked Up" with Mark Zona and Tommy Sanders airs at 8 a.m., 10 and noon with the full pre-weigh-in show at 3 p.m. ET Sunday, leading into the live weigh-in and real-time leaderboard at approximately 3:45.