It's important to remember that in this 97-man field, there are 47 Elite Series pros on Oneida Lake without BASSTrakk. We can make accurate judgements on the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race, since we're tracking the top 50. But the leaderboard will shake up considerably at today's weigh-in.
There are, however, some other general conclusions we can draw from that leaderboard, outside the AOY race. One is that J Todd Tucker and Randy Howell are responding to the pressure they're under.
Tucker has the most. He is 41st in AOY points and is trying to secure a Bassmaster Classic berth, which is assured the top 28 in AOY points for the season, but currently extends to the top 35 when double-qualifers are considered. Tucker needs a big finish, and it appears he's headed that way.
Howell entered Oneida in eighth place in AOY points, assured of a Classic berth. But he's the bubble boy for automatic qualification in the Toyota Trucks All-Star Week. A solid tournament would assure Howell a spot at Illinois' Lake Shelbyville on Sept. 20-23. The other four anglers in the 12-man All-Star field will be selected by fan votes.
Mike McClelland and Terry Butcher also appear to be responding to pressure. McClelland is 35th in AOY points; Butcher is 40th. Both are extremely familiar with the 2013 Bassmaster Classic site – Oklahoma's Grand Lake – and would be deeply disappointed to miss the cut.
But, again, another 47 guys are out there, several of whom are certain to figure in the top of the final leaderboard this afternoon.