Elite Series rookie Patrick Walters was considered one of the pre-tournament favorites at Winyah Bay. He and a partner won a college regional tournament here in 2017. He lives in Summerville, S.C., only 20 minutes from the Cooper River. Walters has stayed in the hunt through two days, entering today in 15th place.
Barring a collapse, Walters will be leading the Toyota Angler of the Year standings after this tournament. He has posted finishes of 4th at the St. Johns River, 22nd at Lake Lanier and 11th at Lake Hartwell.
If he's going to make a run at this trophy, he's going to have to hit a 15- to 17-pound "home run" today. And he planned to swing for the fence, starting with running way up the Cooper River.
"I got on something later (Friday)," he said. "I lost a 4-pounder on a frog. If I can get on my frog bite, things will kick off. But that bite has to be on or you're going to go up there and catch 8 pounds."
Walters has his 8 pounds, plus a bit. BASSTrakk shows him with 9 1/2-pounds at 12:30 p.m. But as far as he is up the Cooper River, Walters probably doesn't have much fishing time remaining.