Short of a Bassmaster Classic, last week's Lake Dardanelle Elite Series tournament was as much of a nail-biting, down-to-the-wire thriller as you'll ever witness in this sport.
Maybe we should have known this was going to be an unusual week when Chris Lane's boat was destroyed by a still-unexplained fire at 2 a.m. Thursday, hours before the Day 1 take-off.
When the tournament ended Sunday, there were some human casualties.
"I'm an emotional wreck," Greg Hackney told Davy Hite during a "First Look" interview before the weigh-in.
Facing a 3 p.m. check-in time, Hackney caught a 4-pound bass at 2:45, which gave him a chance to hold on to the lead that he had held the previous two days. Hackney won the second-ever Elite Series event, held at Sam Rayburn Reservoir in March 2006, and hasn't won since. He badly wanted this one.
Gerald Swindle's Sunday on the water ended with, "the craziest 50 minutes of bass fishing I've ever endured," he said. Swindle left the lake thinking, "I was destined to win."
Then there was Jason Christie, who won an Elite Series event at Bull Shoals last year, plus two FLW major titles. No bass angler had a better season than Christie in 2013. He started the day in fourth place, 3 pounds, 7 ounces behind Hackney. Christie said he didn't have any thoughts of winning until Hackney – the last angler to weigh in – came to the stage with a bag that hit the scales at 15-3 – 8 ounces less than he needed to match Christie's winning total of 72-3. Swindle had finished 4 ounces shy.