Capital Clash: Reese wins his first

MARBURY, Md. — Last month Skeet Reese turned the tables on an expected New York state onslaught by Kevin VanDam in the Toyota Tundra Angler of the Year race.

This week, he turned it around 2006 champ Kelly Jordon in the Capital Clash presented by Advance Auto Parts.

Reese scored his first Elite Series victory with a resounding 8-pound, 9-ounce victory, the same margin he took into Sunday's final round.

"It's unbelievable," said an emotional Reese. "The goal today, first and foremost, was to close the deal here."

Reese led all four days, making it the first wire-to-wire victory of the 2007 Elite Series season. He received 5 points for leading each of the four days, and the 300 points for winning put his total in the Angler of the Year race at 2,579. VanDam scored 233 and stands 107 behind Reese at 2,472 with one event remaining.

Curiously, this was also the first days Reese had led a tournament, a feat even more impressive considering the high finishes he's experienced this year.

Runner-up Jordon (57-7) bagged a solid 17-2 Sunday, making Saturday's curious stumble (7-7 on Day Three) even more hard to take.

"Yesterday I lost my best (grass) mat. The tide was super, super high — when we got here yesterday morning, we said 'Jeez, look at this' — and the wind was blowing pretty good and it was just gone," Jordon said. "I stayed too long on it. I knew the fish were still around because I've caught them on a grassline near it before, but it just didn't happen. When the tide's not right in this place, they just will not bite."

Like Saturday, bites on Reese's primary spot came excruciatingly slowly until the tide became favorable. Reese bagged a three-pounder at around 9 a.m., then, for all intents and purposes, waited for the tide to drop to almost dead low. Two more fish then fell victim to his methodical presentation — one in which he reported there being absolutely no discernable pattern — before he ran to his secondary area, finishing off his limit with an emotional release matched only by his on-stage reaction.

"If it was on a reservoir or something, I would have panicked. But the tide is everything here. I know tidal river systems and I knew later in the day it would get right," said Reese.

The afternoon bite in his A spot that put Reese over the top was basically predicated on one simple thing: methodically work every single piece of cover with a Green Pumpkin Berkely Power Hawg with a 3/8 ounce Tru-Tungsten weight, with an occasional pass with a Lucky Craft BDS-2 crankbait.

"I covered every single piece of cover in there, from six inches to six feet," said Reese. "Frontside, backside, just about every angle. There was one laydown that I probably made20 flips on. There just was no pattern. I actually caught two fish off of the same piece of cover today and it was the first time this week that I caught more than one fish in the same place."

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