LAKEPORT, Calif. — Amid the usual bustle of TV crews, BASS officials, expectant co-anglers and fans with 7-a.m.-on-a-Saturday dedication, ESPNOutdoors.com managed to flag down a few of the 50 pros left in the Golden State Shootout presented by Evan Williams Bourbon.
The three questions posed to anglers were: What will be the 12-man cut weight? Who other than leader Greg Gutierrez has the best chance of winning? And to what extent are you using swimbaits?
Greg Gutierrez (1st place, 66 pounds, 10 ounces)
Cut weight: "About 75 pounds."
Darkhorse: "The guy's going, 'I've got nothing going, I've got nothing going.' But Skeet's a stud right now."
Swimbaits: "There's a morning bite and an afternoon bite."
Ish Monroe (5th, 53-0)
Cut weight: "Seventy-five pounds. Might even get a little bigger."
Swimbaits: "A little bit, about 10 percent. Less today, because I'll be looking."
Steve Kennedy (t-12th, 49-13)
Cut weight: "Another 25, so 75."
Darkhorse: "Kelly's in the best possible position. I don't think Greg's going to stumble, though."
Swimbaits: "The first day I threw a jig and caught 60 fish for 20 pounds. Yesterday I threw a swim bait all day. I caught 15 fish yesterday, but they were bigger."
Kevin Wirth (23rd, 48-0)
Cut weight: "Twenty-five on 49 would be 74? So 74."
Darkhorse: "Anybody in the top 50, because at any time somebody can go 35 and 35. It's there to do it."
Swimbaits: "I've been throwing them a lot, just not getting a bite."
Kelly Jordan (2nd, 55-11)
Cut weight: "Probably close to 80 pounds."
Darkhorse: "Me. Skeet's looking good, too. It's his home lake. I feel tickled to death I'm actually ahead on his home lake."
Swimbaits: "Really well. I made some bad decisions the first day. Yesterday I did what I thought I needed to do and caught 32 and half pounds. It ought to keep rolling today. If you can get them to hit a swimbait, they're the biguns."
Skeet Reese (3rd, 54-5)
Cut weight: "76, and a half."
Darkhorse: : "I feel like I know I can. If anybody can catch him, I can. I know the lake well enough. I know where they live. My goal today is 35 pounds."
Swimbaits: "It's part of it. I'll be throwing it off and on all day long."
Jeff Kriet (44th, 43-14)
Cut weight: "76, probably."
Darkhorse: "Skeet Reese. He's due to win. It wouldn't surprise me. I think anybody, this place is so crazy. If the wind blows today, those guys will throw those swimbaits, probably catch 35 to 40 pounds."
Swimbaits: : "I hadn't thrown it a whole lot, but I'll probably throw it a lot more today."
Scott Rook (19th, 48-6)
Cut weight: "70, 73."
Darkhorse: : "I don't think anybody can" catch Greg Gutierrez.
Swimbaits: : "That's all I caught everything on."
Peter Thliveros (4th, 54-2)
Cut weight: "70 pounds."
Darkhorse: : "Anybody in the top five."
Swimbaits: "It's not been the main thing."
Kevin VanDam (6th, 52-6)
Cut weight: "It's going to be 75."
Darkhorse: "I think anybody possibly could because there's so many fish in this lake between 9 and 12 pounds. A guy catches a couple of those … I haven't had a fish bigger than 6 pounds yet, and I've seen all kinds of them. I can't be that unlucky much longer."
Swimbaits: "The conditions, it hasn't been the primary things. It's a great locator. You fish it around there and it tells you where the big ones are, at least if they will follow them. And then a lot of times you can go back later and catch them with something else."
Editors Note: ESPNOutdoors.com's new and exclusive pre-game show, Hooked Up, will start at 6 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, April 1. It will be hosted by ESPN2 Bassmaster television hosts Tommy Sanders and Jerry McKinnis, and can be seen in the same location on ESPNOutdoors.com where the live video weigh-in is streamed.