MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- For many, a Kevin VanDam victory in the Evan Williams Bourbon Trophy Triumph with Skeet Reese as runner-up would be a win-win scenario. KVD wins the event and Reese takes Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year. Bass fishing's two biggest stars could leave the stage at Montgomery Amphitheater smiling. But there's a rub.
Aaron Martens, only two ounces behind Reese, along with Edwin Evers and Russ Lane could throw a monkey wrench in those plans. Martens said he knows he can play spoiler by moving ahead of Reese in the tournament. "I see that. It's crazy," Martens said. "I could cost Skeet Angler of the Year." He thought on that for a millisecond. "But he's already got one. I want another one, too," he said.
With the tough bite on the Alabama River, KVD's 15 pounds, 7 ounces isn't insurmountable, but it sure looks good. Reese is second with 12-4 and Martens has 12-2. Evers isn't out of the spoiler equation with 11-1. "It's not over yet," Evers said. "Go get 'em tomorrow." Hometown favorite Lane hurt himself with 8-1 Friday, dropping to fifth in the AOY points. He still has fight in him but his hill is as steep as the drop in water that hurt his fishing spots. "Take all my local knowledge and throw it out the window, I just didn't catch any good ones today," he said. "Of course, gritting my teeth and getting mad isn't going to get the job done."
Reese's seven-point lead over VanDam is down to two, and if he falls another place, KVD will, like last year, break Skeet's heart by walking out with two titles Saturday night -- the Trophy Triumph and the AOY. For Martens to win, he needs KVD to fall and others to climb, including himself. "I feel I need to get 18 to smoke Kevin and not worry about making Skeet feel bad. He's got a lot of pressure," Martens said standing less than five feet from a media circus surrounding Skeet.
VanDam wouldn't mind some help in the form of anybody but Lane leapfrogging Skeet. "I've just got to go out there and try to win this thing," he said. "It's going to be a shootout. It's going to be really exciting." And as for Skeet, he is focused on himself, not really saying anything about his pursuers or showing any concern for KVD. He would just as soon have the standings stay the way they are. "I'll take second this week in the tournament standings because it doesn't matter what KVD does," he said, "as long as I win AOY."