The fish spotter

Skeet Reese isn't aimlessly working this levee bank, as it might appear from a distance. He's casting ahead of the boat, sure, but his eyes are scouring the shallows constantly, alert for any visible bass. "There went a 4-pounder," he said as he whipped the boat back around and anchored in position to cast to it. He spent about five minutes on that fish before giving up and moving on. In the last 30 minutes, he's done that several times and hooked one of the bass, playing it briefly before it spit his lure. He also has caught a couple of small bass -- males, perhaps -- and tossed them back.

 

With little to show for his morning's efforts, Reese is dropping back in the pack, but he doesn't show any concern. He knows a couple of big bites can turn his fortunes. It would be noteworthy if he could win his second Elite championship in a row. No one has done that in the 10 seasons since the Bassmaster Elite series was born. Reese won two Elites (Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia, and Guntersville, Alabama) in a three-week period in 2010, but they weren't consecutive. 

 

His gallery has grown to nine boats. At one point, a boat pulled up in the channel on the opposite side of a levee and launched a drone, which the operator positioned over Reese's boat, apparently capturing video. 

 

Reese just now boated his second keeper. It might weigh a pound if it has eaten recently. A moment later, Kelly Jaye, who is fishing about 50 yards away, boated a 3-pounder and held it up for Skeet's audience. Skeet jokingly dismissed the feat with "whatever." He would have been in position to catch that bass in a matter of minutes, if Jaye hadn't stuck it first.