EVANS, Ga. — Over and over this week, the Bassmaster Elite Series anglers have emphasized the importance of timing in the Pride of Georgia presented by Evan Williams Bourbon. Randy Howell got his timing down Friday after struggling Thursday.Good timing was the key to Howell jumping from 35th place with 12 pounds on Day One to 11th place with 15-14 and a total of 27-14 on Day Two."I'm working little by little on timing," said the 34-year-old Springville, Ala., angler. "Every year I've done pretty good here doing the same pattern. It's always a timing issue."You've got to figure out the right times to be at the areas where the bigger fish are feeding. That's the hardest part."Howell's 15-14 was the fifth-best five-bass limit Friday. It included two bass weighing over 4 pounds."In the area I caught those two big ones, I fished it early today instead of late like I did yesterday," Howell said."It's all about timing. (Saturday) I could have nine or 10 pounds if I don't get a big bite. But if you get a big bite or two, you could move all the way up."I know where they are now. That's the good thing. I don't have to go around looking for them. Gas Guzzlers The Elite Series pros have burned hundreds of gallons of gasoline on Clarks Hill Lake this week. Chris Lane, who is in 31st place with 23-15, noted Friday morning that he spent $100 on fuel Thursday, mostly on the 80-mile round-trip ride up a river arm to an area of stained water that is holding some catchable bass Howell cut his gas consumption down Friday by being able to figure out a tighter fishing pattern "I probably fished 50 spots (Thursday)," Howell said. "It was a run-and-gun pattern. I did the same thing today, but I concentrated on one part of the lake. (Thursday) I ran 25 miles all over the lake. I think I narrowed it down to about a 10-mile area today."The dominant overall pattern among the pros this week is "running points" — fishing as many main-lake and secondary points on Clarks Hill's 71,000 surface acres as possible.
"I'm fishing a zillion different spots," said Day Two leader Edwin Evers. "I'm running a pattern, just covering a ton of water. I'm not really messing with schooling fish. I'm trying to fish as many spots that look like this as I can."And Then There Were EightMark Davis is the latest casualty on the list of Elite Series pros who have made the top 50 cut in every tournament this season. Davis, the Mt. Ida, Ark., angler who is the only man to hold both the Bassmaster Angler of the Year and Bassmaster Classic titles in the same year, finished 57th Friday at Clarks Hill.The eight who have made the 50 cut through five tournaments are as follows: Todd Faircloth, Bryan Hudgins, Alton Jones, Mike McClelland, Skeet Reese, Derek Remitz, Dean Rojas and Scott Rook.Skinny Fish
There continues to be a significant part of Clarks Hill's bass population going through the spawning process. However, the majority of the bass are in the post-spawn stage. Several pros have found areas where post-spawn fish are staging.Edwin Evers has found a few of those spots. The spawning process is tough on fish, and Evers has felt sorry for some of the skinny bass he's caught over the last two days."I think these spots are reloading," Evers said. "I think there are a lot of fish coming off (spawning) beds. A lot of them I'm catching are so dadgum skinny. They look like they are going to die."I feel bad because they think they are getting a meal."Party at the Williamson's House Approximately 10 Elite Series pros have enjoyed a break from the hotel life this week. Among the group joining Jason Williamson and his family in a set of condos on Clarks Hill Lake are Dave Smith, Boyd Duckett, Mark Davis, Zell Roland, Kelly Jordon and Jeremy Starks.Jason Williamson's family had a low-country boil last night," Smith said. "We're all just having a big time."Throwing InsultsThe first time Elite Series pro Glenn Delong saw his topwater lure blast four feet in the air following an aggressive strike on Day Two, he could only watch — until it landed."Then he hit it again and then again," Delong said about the unsatisfied fish. "He hit it a total of three different times and he came off each one."I guess he was mad at it or something because he just smacked it."When questioned about the sharpness of the hooks on the lure, the exasperated angler explained it had just left the package — shiny and new.Overheard
"My fish didn't bite." — Ish Monroe"Unfortunately, the style I'm fishing, a lot of fish don't get it." — Gerald Swindle
"The spawning fish, they went away today." — Mark Davis"It's got good fish — they're just a little smarter than I am." — Greg Hackney, on Clarks Hill Lake
"You've got to catch anything that bites." — Kevin VanDam
"This lake has whipped me three times in a row." — Marty Stone, 66th place
"I got my rear end handed to me today." — Jeff Reynolds, who weighed 9 pounds, 3 ounces on Day Two after snagging 14-7 on Day One
"I ran out of excuses a long time ago. I used them all up. Now you've just got to blame yourself." — Rick Clunn, 85th place
"I'm fascinated. That fish is 27 inches. Normally that fish should weigh 11 pounds." — Dustin Wilks, before weighing a long fish that tipped the scales at less than 5 pounds
"If we're going to have thunderstorms, I sure hope they get here." — Gary Klein, 36th place
"I did so bad at this tournament, this is probably my last tournament — until we go to Murray." — Guy Eaker, 107th place
"Today, I think I put myself in the grave." — Todd Auten, after his tough Day Two.
"I like to burn a lot of gas and fish a lot of water." — Dave Wolak, on his fishing philosophy
"I don't know if I was courteous or stupid." — Dave Smith, explaining how his co-angler caught a 3-pound-plus bass that Smith had been trying to catch.