At the eighth and final Bassmaster Elite Series event of the 2013 season, plenty of anglers saw their fates change for the better. An equal number saw things go south. And a few are awaiting their fate on Day 3 in Detroit.
Let's start with three guys who are feeling a lot better about things.
The first is Mark Davis. Not only is he leading the tournament going into the third round and in position to claim his first ever Elite win and first B.A.S.S. win of any kind since 2005, but he's almost certainly going to qualify for his 17th Bassmaster Classic as a result of this performance. Davis was 47th coming into the event, and needed a great tournament to get back in the mix.
Morizo Shimizu is currently 13th at St. Clair. If he can hang on, he'll qualify for his second Classic. It's a Far Eastern invasion in Detroit this week. All four Japanese pros are in the top 16. Kotaro Kiriyama is third, Takahiro Omori is seventh, Shimizu is 13th and Yusuke Miyazaki is 16th. That's their best collective performance ever.
Speaking of Omori, his late-season heroics continue. Over the years, no one else has shown his propensity or ability to come into the final tournament needing a big finish and then get it. In 2006, 2011 and 2012, the former Classic champ was well outside the cut going into the finale, but turned in a top performance to make the Classic. He's doing it again this year.
Then there are four anglers who still have some work to do or finishes to sweat.
We'll start with Chris Lane, the 2012 Classic champ, whose struggles to qualify for the 2014 Classic on his home water (Lake Guntersville) are well-chronicled. Mired in 53rd place in the AOY standings coming into Detroit, his mission was clear. He needed a Top 3 or 4 finish to have any hope of qualifying for a Classic in his backyard. And while you might not give a Florida boy much of a chance to catch big smallmouth bass so close to Canada, he's doing it with the best of them and ranks fourth after two days. If he can stay in the Top 12 or so, he should be Classic bound in 2014.
Rick Clunn's situation was even more dire because he trailed Lane in the standings by seven points going into St. Clair. Now he's 10th in the tournament and probably needs to move up several places between now and Sunday afternoon to qualify for his 33rd Classic and revisit the site of his world championship in 1976. Clunn was on the wrong side of the bubble last year and will do all he can to avoid that situation this time around.
Rookie Josh Bertrand had a couple of ugly tournaments in the middle of the season, but came on strong late. He's 26th at St. Clair and needs to move up a few more places to earn a berth in the Classic.
At least Lane, Clunn and Bertrand are still fishing. If Gary Klein was still competing, he'd probably be assured of his 30th Bassmaster Classic berth. Unfortunately, his tournament ended with him in 57th place. Now he needs some breaks to qualify — like the right guys slipping in the standings or the eventual winner being a double Classic qualifier.
Five anglers leave St. Clair shaking their heads and wondering what went wrong.
Casey Scanlon was 28th in the AOY standings and probably needed about a 65th place finish to lock up a Classic spot. He finished 90th.
Fred Roumbanis, Dennis Tietje, Davy Hite and Boyd Duckett were all in similar positions. They needed respectable — not spectacular — finishes to qualify for the championship. Instead, they ended the tournament in 73rd, 91st, 98th and 63rd, respectively.
They'll be sitting out the 2014 Classic, and that's going to sting for at least six months.