Whereas Steve Kennedy had to catch more than 120 pounds of bass to hold off Skeet Reese at the Golden State Shootout at Clear Lake last month, anglers said that about half that amount would put them in contention on Clarks Hill Lake.
Luce also challenges each Elite Series pro to "come on board" and pledge to our troops.
Hydrilla has spread throughout much of this 70,000-acre impoundment, but it's more well-established in the open water of the lower lake.
"Being different is a big theme nowadays," says Mike Iaconelli, the 2006 Bassmaster Angler of the Year. "Fish have seen a regular Texas rigged plastic worm 10 times a day for the last five years."
The temperature rise could bring largemouth bass into play in the pros' strategies despite the fact that Lay Lake has a large population of spotted bass.
"I put Super Glue on all my cuts, try to keep them closed up. I'm going to need stitches on a couple of these cuts."
We asked the final 12 to share what patterns and lures they used to make the cut and what was the single greatest factor in their success.
Jared Lintner asked Kennedy, "Why are you shaking? Is it because you're about to win?"
"I can't say anything more than this is absolutely awesome," said the 2006 Toyota Rookie of the Year. "I never thought I could catch this much weight in a BASS tournament. It is amazing."
It's common bass fishing knowledge that a lake's entire population of largemouth does not assault the shallows to spawn in one great wave.