MUSKOGEE, Okla. — Usually Davy Hite doesn't carry bananas in his boat, but after Day Two of the AutoZone Sooner Run on Fort Gibson Lake, he's not as superstitious as he used to be.
"I was fishing on a spot where I had a few bites and when I pulled up there today I noticed a banana peel floating in the water," Hite said. "Bananas are a jinx and you don't want one of them in your boat. So when I saw it there it put a damper on things and I fished around the area, but didn't get any bites."
Hite was trying to stay away from the floating banana, but out of the corner of his eye he saw a fish jump next to it. He made a cast that landed next to the peel and let his bait sink to the bottom. Seconds later, a 5-;pound, 5-ounce bass swam away with his line, changing his opinion of bananas forever.
"I don't think they are a jinx, maybe in the boat, but not outside of the boat," Hite said. "That was the neatest thing that's ever happened to me fishing these tournaments."
With the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year points lead on the line, Skeet Reese jumped up 20 spots to ninth place with a nice 17-15 limit on Day Two.
"I was happy to move up the standings and get somewhere in the top 12," Reese said. "I need another 17 pounds tomorrow to get a shot at Sunday, but I've made it this far, so that's good."
Reese caught his fish in a variety of water depth ranging from one foot to 12 feet.
"You have to know where you are fishing," he said. "I caught them deep and shallow, and everywhere in between. This lake has some good quality fish in it."
Reese's total moved him closer to the tournament leader Tommy Biffle, but does he think Biffle can be beaten on his home lake?
"Oh yeah," Reese said. "I'm not saying I can do it, but he can definitely be beaten here. Some like Kevin (VanDam) had 17 pounds and Pat Golden got more than 18 today, so he can be caught."
Arkansas' Kevin Short caught a limit fishing a Carolina rig, but it took him running a crankbait in shallow water to land the largest bass of the day at 6-1.
"I got up on the bank and covered a lot of water with the crankbait and lost a couple that would have helped me," Short said. "It was real shallow and they weren't getting a hold of the bait real well. You have to throw it a lot and I'll probably do it again tomorrow."
Short is 37th with 26-14.
After having a horrible start to the Sooner Run with only four fish that totaled 6-14, John Crews jumped up 52 spots in the standings after hauling in 20-1, the largest limit of Day Two.
"I thought I was in the right area and just needed to make some adjustments," Crews said. "I did a few things a little bit different and it seemed like every time I turned around I was hooking a big one."
Numerous times this year, Crews has felt the pain of frustration turn into triumph and at Fort Gibson Lake, it was no different.
"It's crazy how that continues to happen," Crews said. "I've done that a bunch, but now I'm just thinking about tomorrow and how to catch them."
Being on the bubble to make the Bassmaster Classic has been stressful for Kelly Jordon.
"It's been a challenging year," Jordon said. "I was hoping I could have put myself in with the last couple of events, but I did as well as I could. I thought I could catch them better than I did here and that's really frustrating, but you have to take the good with the bad."
Jordon was 49th after Day Two on Fort Gibson Lake, jeopardizing his 37th position in the Classic standings.
"When they moved the tournament to here, I thought, I have a lot on the line, being on the bubble and it was hard with a half day to practice," he said. "I would have certainly liked to have had another day to get more comfortable, but I picked a pattern and it was wrong. I had to adjust and caught them better today, but I was shucking and jiving, which is all you can do. The fish are around, but you just have to get the right bites."
"I caught every fish that bit me today, yesterday I just blew it."
— John Murray
"I got less bites today, but every time I swung it was a big one."
— Cliff Pace
"I had some hard luck today, but nobody wants to hear about it."
— Dave Smith
"It's not how you start, it's how you finish."
— Kevin VanDam
"I caught the two largest fish of my career this year, a 13-2 and a 14-1 during practice in California."
— 70—year old Guy Eaker who is retiring after 35 years of BASS competition.
"I caught plenty of fish, I just don't know where these guys are catching all these big ones."
— Terry Scroggins
"You're wedged between a junkyard dog and King Kong."
— BASS emcee Keith Alan to second-place angler Pat Golden
"I went out there today and fished for my wife and kids ... I needed to make the cut and fish tomorrow."
— Chris Lane
"It was a long, short season."
— Charlie Hartley
"I've sweated more the past two days than I'll sweat in a month in California."
— Skeet Reese
"My goal is to make the Classic and I think I've done that. It will be my first and I'm as excited as I've ever been."
— Jason Williamson
"I'm sick to my stomach right now. It's a life-altering experience in two minutes."
— Mark Tucker, on losing a 7-pounder 10 minutes before weigh-in on Day Two.
"Those small ones count too."
— Terry Butcher on catching a 2.5-pounder that put him over 13 pounds.
"I'm definitely coming back next year."
— Rookie Scott Ashmore