Sunday's final day of competition will feature brothers Bobby Lane and Chris Lane, who made the cut together for the first time on the Elite Series. Both brothers get along well and like to see each other doing well.
"I'm glad to see we both made it," Bobby said. "The cool thing is from second through 12th, only a few pounds separate us, so both of us have a shot to move up."
While they both have done well this week, Chris insists they don't share information about the fishing, as evidenced by their diverse strategy on Clarks Hill.
"Fishing is a family tradition, just one of those things we have always done," Chris said. "We really don't share any information or spots out here though. He's burning one gallon of gas and I'm burning 35 gallons."
They maintain a friendly competition — earlier in the year, Chris finished first to Bobby's second-place at the first Southern Open.
"If he lets me win one once in a while, I'll take it," Bobby said.
Chris' response: "Not a chance."
Evers closing in
With Skeet Reese missing the top-47 cut, the door was open to close the gap in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race. His closest competitor, Edwin Evers, did just that, moving up to 19th place with a solid 11 pounds, 1 ounce on the final day.
"I went out to catch all I could catch," Evers said. "I knew every time I culled, I was moving up in the standings."
Fishing for many of the TTBAOY top-six was tough. Aside from Evers, only Cliff Pace made the 47-cut, finishing the tournament in 34th. Evers was around fish, he just never got the big bite that would have helped him make it to Sunday.
"I caught tons of fish today — probably 15 keepers," Evers said. "I just kept looking for the big fish. It's been a hard tournament. The fish aren't doing what guys thought they would be."
That helped give Evers a chance to close the gap and he took advantage. With two tournaments left, there is still plenty of time to make a run at the previously-untouchable Reese.
"Skeet's had a heck of a year and I know it's not over," Evers said. "There's still a lot of fishing left to do."
Reed finally takes tie-breaker
In recent years, Matt Reed has come out on the wrong end of tie-breakers.
"I'm the champion of losing tie-breakers," Reed said. "I don't know anyone else that has lost two tie-breakers for the Classic."
This week, the numbers fell in Reed's favor and he squeezed past Rick Clunn and Jeff Kriet into the 12-cut. All three anglers caught 32 pounds over the first three days of competition.
Clunn and Reed both had a limit every day (Kriet only had three on Day Two) and all were alive, so it came down to the third tie-breaker, heaviest one-day stringer. His 12 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday was more than Clunn's big bag of 11 pounds, 6 ounces, so Reed will fish on Sunday for the second time this season.
"I was shocked that it held up," Reed said. "I didn't think I had enough today. I thought I needed 15 pounds, another 4-pounder. Fortunately, I had that one 4-pounder and that moves you up quite a bit in the standings."
"I've got a burning desire to win this one so close to home."
"I'm glad to see a guy like Jason catch a limit like that ... it's tough out there."
"I'm not smart enough to catch fish like this, that think they're stripers."
"After Guntersville I thought about quitting, but I like tournaments like this one."
"Sometimes I made 20, 30, or 40 casts to one spot trying to force feed these fish."
"These fish were so shallow, you would throw up there and they would just scatter."
"Everything I did was not working."
"When you hit those 10-ouncers with 25 pounds line, it moves them."
"This was a survival tournament, no doubt."