DEL RIO, Texas — Edwin Evers has been kicking himself all week, even though he easily qualified for Sunday's finale in the Bassmaster Elite Series Battle on the Border tournament.
"I keep trying to go sight-fishing for two or three hours every day," said Evers, who weighed-in 71 pounds, 4 ounces for three days, good for fifth place going into Sunday. "I've been wasting time."
Evers just can't shake a one-year-old Lake Amistad image from his mind.
"Last year I spent a whole day on a 15- or 16-pound fish," said Evers. "I caught a 10-pounder and this fish looked twice as big as it did. If I can find her again, I'll do the same thing Sunday."
That "15- or 16-pound bass" may sound like a fish story. But it's backed up by many of the Bassmaster Elite Series pros, who are fishing this 67,000-acre reservoir on the Texas-Mexico border in March for the second year in a row.
Terry Scroggins caught a bass in practice that looks every bit of 13 pounds and possibly 14, according to the camera phone image he was happy to share with anyone who cared to look.
Scott Campbell weighed-in a 12-pound, 7-ounce bass in his 36-0 five-bass limit Thursday.
Because this lake is so clear, the pros have a chance to see a lot more fish than they catch. And, oh, the sights they've seen.
"I've seen some of the biggest bass I've ever seen in the wild," said four-time BASS Angler of the Year Kevin VanDam.
Many of those VanDam has seen were following, but not necessarily biting, his Strike King swim bait.
"The key is to have good sunglasses so you can see the fish coming," said VanDam. "Then you can stop the bait or twitch it and try to get a reaction strike before they get too close to the boat."
VanDam said he saw a bass in Lake Amistad last year that had probably weighed 14 pounds.
"I guarantee you it was over 13," he said. "It's the biggest bass I've ever seen."
With Sunday's overcast skies, there was a good chance that one of those Lake Amistad giants would show up at the weigh-in stand.
"They are a low-light predator," VanDam said. "This is when they go on the feed. They have an advantage over all their other prey species on days like today. So they'll be on the prowl."