David Walker was as confident as could be after yesterday's weigh-in. He'd put 22-14 on the scales to go with his 26-8 on Day 1, which left him only 11 ounces behind leader Brandon Lester.
Walker has narrowed his focus as the week has progressed, from trying different fishing tactics on Day 1 to sticking strictly with drop-shotting on Day 2. He's stayed in one area of the river the first two days, and he's not going exploring now.
"I'm confident I've got enough places," Walker said. "I feel good about (Saturday) because I'm fishing comfortably, and I don't feel like I'm trapped somewhere. I've got a section of the river I'm staying in, and I've got enough places in that area to keep me busy."
Walker would be euphoric with a win this week. It would be redemption for an uncharacteristically sub-par season. Walker lives just outside Knoxville, Tenn., in Sevierville, and desperately wanted to qualify for the 2019 Bassmaster Classic that will be held there.
He has qualified for the Classic 12 times and finished third twice. He's won over $1 million on the B.A.S.S. circuit, which includes an Elite Series win at Wheeler Lake in 2011. But he came into this tournament ranked 91st in Toyota Angler of the Year points with no chance of qualifying for the Classic.
Walker has the early lead today with a 16-pound limit in the boat at 8:30 a.m.
"I'm pretty confident I can catch 20 pounds," Walker said. "But 20 is not a winning deal here, as weird as that sounds."