Gerald Swindle apparently can't help putting a few friendly wagers out on his fishing this year. According to him, he has running bets with several other Elite anglers on who will finish higher at each tournament.
"Kelly Jordon and I have a dollar bet," Swindle explained. "And I have one with Kevin VanDam and Peter T, as well. Now, Charlie Hartley and I put five dollars on the line. Let me tell you, it kills VanDam to have to pay me a dollar."
In the weigh-in crowd today, Jordon was seen settling up with Swindle on this week's tournament with a crisp dollar bill. Jordon left Swindle a note on the bill with a marker saying "Your eight little squeakers lifted you to victory over my four hawgs."
Swindle keeps his collection of dollars on display at his home.
In the Bassmaster Majors, the anglers compete in a six-hole course format, spending one hour and ten minutes in each section of the lake. The last hour of the day is "happy hour" when the competitors can go to any section of the lake they choose.
Saturday, six of the twelve anglers fished the riprap of the Benbrook Dam for happy hour. This riprap spans both holes one and six. So where is current leader Mike Iaconelli starting on Sunday? Hole Number One.
"I got five bites today, there's five fish in the box and I'm standing next to you."
—Mark Menendez to emcee Keith Alan
"I tried to take how I fished on Eagle Mountain Lake and bring it over here to Benbrook but it didn't work out too well for me."
"They're just like rattlesnakes and I'm scared to death of every one of them."
—Current leader Peter T on the rest of the Super Six competitors
You had a bad day?
Skeet Reese felt his day could have gone better today. Although he currently sits in fourth place, he had a few things go wrong.
"My trolling motor batteries died in the first hole on the course this morning," Skeet lamented. "Then I accidentally dropped my I-pod in the lake."
The MP3 player was a Christmas gift from his wife and all year Skeet has been seen with the tell-tale white ear buds in place before the launch. The device was also loaded with all of Reese's favorite songs, a task that took days to complete.
"I also lost my custom painted Fish Hedz mask" Reese continued. "I just ran about 200 yards from one point to another and when I got there it was gone. It was just a terrible day."
Terrible day in one way, maybe. Reese still caught 10 pounds, 9 ounces today, three pounds better than fifth place Greg Hackney and four and a half pounds back from first. With a payout of a quarter million dollars to the winner Sunday, the worst Skeet can do is finish 6th and pocket $17,000.
Maybe not a bad day after all.
Randy Howell says he was extra careful running his boat through the shallow, stumpy areas of Benbrook Lake Saturday. He caught a four-pound fish early today in the shallow water on a Berkley Power Frog, so he committed to shallow water for a large part of his competition day.
"That fish kind of messed me up," Howell said. "I caught it right off the bat on the bank, so I kept trying to fish shallow all day."
The fish ended up being Howell's only keeper of the day and navigating the shallow water made him cautious.
"I was idling around those stumps trying to be so careful not to tear my prop up. Iaconelli was in the rotation right behind me so every time there was a hole change I would see him come into the hole I just fished. I would be making my way out so slow and careful but he'd just tear in there and bump off all that timber. I think he's probably only got two blades left on his prop, but he sure caught a lot of fish so I guess it was worth it."