BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Current leader Jeff Kriet, ahead of second- and third-place anglers Kevin VanDam and Todd Faircloth by only a few ounces, didn't seem particularly stressed at Saturday's post-competition press conference.
That's probably because he's slated to take home a check from this event, even if it will be reduced to account for an ill-advised gamble.
"I lost $100," he said when informed that Pam Martin-Wells had made the cut to fish on Sunday.
"I don't mean that disrespectfully," he added quickly.
While he appears to be in the driver's seat heading into Sunday's finale, he'd prefer not to take any further gambles. In the morning he's headed straight back to the bank that he's camped on the past two days, but he wouldn't be heartbroken if the day were to be canceled.
"I like where I'm sitting right now," he said. "We can call this whole thing over for all I care."
Despite the creeping thought that his closest pursuers could catch him, Kriet has endeavored mightily over the offseason to learn to banish such fears.
"I paid a sports psychologist like $4,000 to tell me that every time I have a negative thought to picture a stop sign," he said. "I saw a lot of them today."
"Sounds like you got your money's worth," said Kevin VanDam, getting the last word, as he most often does.
More Day Two Quotes
"Everyone sees the shoreline grass. There's miles and miles of it. But it's the little hard spots in 4 to 10 feet of water that make the areas I'm fishing so good."
"I bet you there were 100 boats in there."
—Russ Lane, describing the crowded conditions of Beeswax Creek
"It was my usual bad Classic. I knew where the fish were but I didn't fish for them."
"My bait was wet all day."
—Shaw Grigsby, who only started up his outboard twice, once to idle to his fishing grounds and once to idle back to the launch ramp
"I was heartbroken when I found out we were taking off from there."
—Brent Chapman, speaking about the launch ramp, which was less than 200 yards from his fishing area
"I don't like them crowds."
—Tommy Biffle, the only angler in the top six not fishing in Beeswax Creek
"In practice in 2007 I had a limit that probably would've weighed almost 30 pounds."
—Kevin VanDam, arguing that it's possible for an angler back in the pack to make a comeback tomorrow