HUDDLESTON, Va. The Evan Williams Bourbon Blue Ridge Brawl is clearly a story of Skeet Reese and everyone else entering Sunday's final round on Smith Mountain Lake.
Reese, of Auburn, Calif., took a huge lead with a 21-pound, 13-ounce stringer on Saturday and has shown no signs of letting up. Entering Sunday with a 58-3 total, Reese's lead was 6-5 over second-place Jason Williamson and 10-1 over Bobby Lane in third.
"That's the day you work for, you shoot for," Reese said of his performance Saturday.
As for the rest of the field, there was definitely a resignation toward the inevitable.
"This is Skeet's deal," said Gerald Swindle, who began the day in 10th place, more than 13 pounds behind the leader. "There's not anything we can do about it, and we have stand here and take it."
Marty Robinson of Lyman, S.C., dipped to 11th place after Saturday's 9-14 stringer, which followed efforts of 19-2 and 15-15 in the opening two rounds.
"Usually, a lot of guys in the top 12 talk about swinging for the fence and going for the win," Robinson said. "But I think Skeet's probably got this one wrapped up."
With that in mind, Robinson said he was going to keep his focus toward the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings.
"Those five-point increments are pretty critical when you get into the top 12," said Robinson, who was fishing in his first Day Four of the season and entered the event 81st in the standings. "So I really think the smartest thing is for a guy to think about that, move up as much as he can and get as many points as he can."
Aaron Martens of Leeds, Ala., opened the tournament with Day One's sixth-best stringer, 18-6, but has fallen off since with a 15-8 and an 11-7. On Sunday, he said he's headed to new water.
"I've got an area from the first day where I saw three big ones," said Martens, who entered Sunday in ninth place. "It's an area that I didn't explore much, and it's off the beaten path a little bit. It's dirtier water and little harder to see, but we'll have good sun today. It's windy, but getting back into those pockets helps that out."
Swindle said he is willing to try anything.
"I may tie on a jerk bait," he said. "The fish around here have probably never seen one of those. They've seen about three million stick baits and swim baits just this weekend."