Opens Commanding Lead in Bassmaster Angler of the Year Race

LA PLATA, Md. — In dominating fashion, Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., went wire to wire at the Capital Clash presented by Advance Auto Parts on the Potomac River, scoring his third BASS victory by a commanding margin of more than 8 pounds over Kelly Jordon of Mineola, Texas. With the victory, Reese, who totaled 66 pounds, 0 ounces over four days, now holds a sizable lead in the season-long Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year Race, the award he covets most.

Using a strategy he ran in 2006, Reese regularly made long runs to an area of the Potomac called Nanjemoy Creek, which turned out to be the more productive area of the two he visited throughout the tournament. Reese ran two patterns, flipping to wood and grass using two Berkley baits. With the victory and the $100,000 top prize, Reese, 38, gained some measure of redemption over last year's winner, Jordon, to whom Reese lost by a heartbreaking 7 ounces at the 2006 Potomac Elite event.

Fishing fans can catch Reese's victory on The Bassmasters at 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, on ESPN2.

"Never in a million years after the practice I had this week would I have expected to be holding this trophy," said Reese, who has now amassed more than $1 million in career BASS earnings. "I am so relieved. Finally, after all those close calls, I am bringing a trophy home."

Since the Potomac River Elite event last year, Reese has four second-place finishes, including a near miss at the 2007 Bassmaster Classic and two seconds at Elite events on California's Clear Lake and New York's Lake Champlain. Ironically, Reese has placed fourth, third, second and now first in BASS competition at the Potomac.

It was the first victory for Reese in Elite Series competition. With only one event remaining, the seven-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier opened up a more than 100-point advantage in the Angler of the Year race over Michigan's Kevin VanDam, a three-time AOY winner.

Heading into the season, the AOY title was Reese's ultimate goal. The final Elite event of the season is slated for Sept. 13-16 on Florida's Lake Tohopekaliga.

"It has been a phenomenal year thus far," Reese said. "I consider the AOY the crown jewel of bass fishing and to win would solidify what I have been working on for all these years."

The 2006 Capital Clash champion, Jordon, was happy with second place after moving up from eighth. He could not overcome Saturday's disappointing haul of 7 pounds, 7 ounces, and missed the chance to earn his fifth BASS win. Jordon takes home $30,000 with the finish and inches closer, with $990,000 in career BASS earnings, to totaling $1 million.

The 36-year-old primarily flipped tubes to mats of grass throughout the tournament. Like Reese, he brought back a strategy he used in 2006.

"It's always disappointing to finish second," said Jordon, who caught the biggest limit, 17 pounds, 2 ounces, of the final day. "But I am thrilled that I was able to move up after a frustrating Saturday."

More than 1 pound behind Jordon was Matt Reed of Madisonville, Texas, who moved from fifth to third with 56 pounds, 2 ounces. In fourth was Randy Howell of Springville, Ala., with 55 pounds, 5 ounces. Rounding out the top five was Chris Lane of Winter Haven, Fla., with 54 pounds, 12 ounces.

Charlie Hartley, who slipped from second, finished sixth with 53 pounds, 3 ounces. The 2007 Bassmaster Classic champion, Boyd Duckett of Demopolis, Ala., finished seventh with 51 pounds, 15 ounces.

The next stop for Bassmaster Elite Series anglers is the Bassmaster Legends presented by Ramada Worldwide, set for Aug. 23-26 on Arkansas' Lake Dardanelle. The 11th and final Elite event of the 2007 season will be Sept. 13-16 on Florida's Lake Tohopekaliga. At that event, the Angler of the Year, the Toyota Rookie of the Year, the Toyota Moving Forward Award and Bassmaster Classic qualifiers will be determined.

As with every Elite-level tournament, www.ESPNOutdoors.com provides live, streaming video of the daily weigh-ins. Additionally, visitors to the site can access analysis, photo galleries, blogs from Elite Series anglers and abundant coverage of events.

Purolator Big Bass of Day 4

Pro: Kelly Jordon; Mineola, Texas; 5-2

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