LAKEPORT, Calif. — Heavy cloud cover meant the usual spectacular Clear Lake sunrise was confined to only a corner of the sky. Still it was plenty of light by which to ask the 12 anglers remaining in the Golden State Shootout presented by Evan Williams Bourbon their thoughts on what could be a historic afternoon of bass fishing (insofar as such a thing is possible).
The three questions ESPNOutdoors.com posed to the Elite 12 were: What will be the tournament's winning weight? How many competitors will get at least 116 pounds and break the existing BASS tournament weight record? And what will be the key bite on the water today?
Greg Gutierrez (1st place, 91 pounds, 14 ounces, Red Bluf, Calif.)
Winning weight? "One hundred twenty-six."
Record breakers? "There are three or four of us who can do it."
Key bite? "I'm not bed fishing."
Steve Kennedy (2nd place, 90-4, Auburn, Ala..)
Winning weight? "It's going to take 120-plus."
Record breakers? "There might be two or three of us, anyway. Could be more."
Key bite? "I'm not even going to go look. Everything I'm on is pre-spawn, and they showed up yesterday."
Skeet Reese (3rd place, 89-12, Auburn, Calif.)
Winning weight? "One hundred twenty-one, 122."
Record breakers? "Three of us have a legitimate shot at breaking the record."
Key bite? "It's still a pre-spawn bite. The two biggest fish this week were caught on beds, but the water temperature is still not right."
Jared Lintner (4th place, 79-13, Arroyo Grande, Calif.)
Winning weight? "Greg's got 91. He's going to get 30 pounds, so 121."
Record breakers? "Out of the three? All of them. They'll all catch 25 to 30 pounds."
Key bite? "Pre-spawn. Especially with these clouds and stuff, I'm not even going to look.""
Paul Elias (5th place, 79-10, Laurel, Miss.)
Winning weight? "119 pounds."
Over 116? "Three."
Key bite? "Staging fish around docks."
John Murray (6th place, 78-12, Phoenix, Ariz..)
Winning weight? "I didn't even think about that. Probably 120."
Over 116? "Three."
Key bite? "Big swimbaits in outside areas."
Kelly Jordan (7th place, 76-14, Mineola, Texas)
Winning weight? "I'm planning to catch 55 pounds today, so 130. Like the Air Force says: Aim high."
Record breakers? "I hope it's only one, and it's me."
Key bite? "I know the sun's going to have them up. If the wind comes up, look out."
Gerald Swindle (8th place, 76-4, Warrior, Ala.)
Winning weight? "Oh my gosh, 123."
Over 116? "I don't know, 3. Maybe more. I just want to break the 100-pound mark."
Key bite? "Swimbait. I'm fishing schools of fish. When I catch one, there's tons of them and I'm trying to catch the big ones out of them."
Pete Ponds (9th place, 75-15, Madison, Miss.)
Winning weight? "I haven't even considered that. It's going to be well over 110 pounds."
Over 116? "Maybe two to three. My personal goal is to get over 100, because I've never done that."
Key bite? "Swimbait. I'm fishing shallow because I think the fish are moving up."
Glenn Delong II (10th place, 75-1, Bellville, Ohio)
Winning weight? "Dude, I cannot answer that. With Steve (Kennedy) having 40 yesterday, anything's possible. Literally, I would say it's going to take another 35 to 40-pound bag."
Over 116? "Two. Three."
Key bite? "A good 10-, 12-pounder will make somebody very happy today. The fish I'm catching are spawn and pre-spawn."
Scott Rook (11th place, 74-12, Little Rock, Ark.)
Winning weight? "Winning weight, between 115 and 120 pounds."
Over 116? "I'm thinking two, maybe three. There's six guys who surpassed 100 pounds in the history of bass and there's 12 guys who can do it today."
Key bite? "We've got clouds and we've got wind, that's going to help me fishing the swimbat."
Peter Thliveros (12th, 74-11, Jacksonville, Fla.)
Winning weight? "Let's see — 28 pounds on top of 91, whatever that is. One hundred nineteen."
Record breakers? "Two guys will break that."
Key bite? "Pre-spawn. It's just continuously moving forward."
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.