GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. — Stiff winds and the threat of isolated storms greeted Bassmaster Elite Series anglers at the Day Three launch of the Synergy Southern Challenge on Lake Guntersville, but another threat out of the anglers' hands might be more vexing.
"It's Saturday, there's 9 or 10 other tournaments going on," said Skeet Reese, leading after two days with 53 pounds, 4 ounces.
Launch emcee Keith Alan was interviewing Reese and referred to the other 46 Elites as "pillagers," just as another tournament launched within sight and boats scurried past the Elite launch docks at Lake Guntersville State Park.
"More like 400 other pillagers," Reese said. "It you can manage to pull 25 today, I think that'd be a heck of a stringer. Then again, it's Guntersville. Guys can bust 30 pounds. My goal is 25 or better, and if I can do that, hopefully it keeps me in contention and we'll get to tomorrow and see what I can do."
Second-place Davy Hite has high hopes. He weighed in Friday's big bag at 27-0 for a 51-7 total and stands 1-7 behind Reese.
"I'm going to have to do the same thing today," he said. "These winds are blowing a lot harder today than called for. Just have to adjust to that. The catches might be off a little bit. I just don't know, but the wind is my main concern.
"This place is full of fish. It's one of the best fisheries in the country. Bottom line is, we're on Lake Guntersville and we're going to have to catch a lot of fish."
Other anglers down the standings like Jason Williamson, 31st, and Dennis Tietje, 32nd, are optimistic that the weather conditions could play in their favor and help them climb to fish another day.
"A bad day here is better than a good day anywhere else," Williamson said. "The wind will be a factor, but there are three or four hundred other bass boats out there and it's going to be crowded.
"The pressure is all in the weight and being able to get on your spots if the wind lays down might get better. My goal is to catch all I can."
Tietje didn't seem to mind the wind.
"It may keep some of the boat pressure off the holes and it may move the current better," he said. "I don't think it will hold it up and may even help some of us at the bottom. After Pickwick and staying in the middle of the lake all last week, I think this will be a breeze.