HUDDLESTON, Va. — With over 6 pounds on Jason Williamson and over 10 pounds on the rest of the top-12 anglers fishing on Sunday, Skeet Reese holds a virtually insurmountable lead after Day Three of the Evan Williams Bourbon Blue Ridge Brawl.
When Dean Rojas, one of the most positive anglers on the Elite Series, could not come up with anything optimistic to say about his chances of challenging for the win, it promises to be a battle for second place. Rojas was still positive about his performance this week on Smith Mountain Lake, knowing he gave it the best shot he could.
"I fished good all week and had a great game plan," Rojas said. "I executed well and thought I was on the winning fish, I just never got a big fish. I'll start out fishing like I have to get five fish in the well and then try to upgrade from there."
Does Rojas know what he needs to do to get on the quality of fish Reese found on Day Three in compiling his massive stringer?
"I'm going to have to think hard tonight about what to do for the bigger fish," Rojas said.
Bobby Lane is a little closer than Rojas, 10 pounds back in third place, but he knows it will take something crazy happening on the final day to change the outcome.
"Sounds like this is Skeet's tournament and everyone else is fishing for second place," Lane said. "If he breaks down, then someone has a shot. Or if I can come into weights like I had on Day One. These fish are still rolling — they are fired up and ready to go."
Lane is still seeing a lot of fish shallow, but rather than bed fish in the windy conditions, he targeted cruising bass. He's seen some quality fish up shallow and cruising, especially earlier in the week, and if he figures out how to get the bigger fish to bite tomorrow, a big bag is possible.
"I finally got the cruisers to bite," Lane said. "If you stumble onto the right pocket, you can catch 25 pounds. Those fish are swimming out there for sure, but no one has been able to catch them."
Unlike Lane, Gerald Swindle claimed to throw in the towel after Saturday's weigh-in and planned on kicking back and relaxing on the final day.
"I'm going to sleep in, get coffee, go to the gas station and get some Krispy Kremes and roll up to the lake around 9:00," Swindle said. "This tournament is over dude. All you can do is battle for the top five."
That doesn't mean Swindle is going to completely give up. Valuable money and points are on the line for moving even a few places in the standings and Swindle is willing to gamble to get there.
"I'll probably go out and throw a swimbait," Swindle said. "I threw a big one today, but I didn't have a bite. I might go do that tomorrow again anyway."
Does anyone have a shot at catching Reese?
"Nope. No one."