Big Show rising

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The “Big Show” has put himself in position for a big prize.

Terry Scroggins, known by bass fishing fans and his Elite Series competitors as Big Show, took the lead Saturday in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race. Scroggins weighed just under 11 pounds on Day Three to finish 25th in the Evan Williams Bourbon Carolina Clash on Lake Murray.

But on his ascent of the Angler of the Year ladder, Scroggins got a big push from Alton Jones and Steve Kennedy, who were first and second, respectively, coming into this week’s tournament in South Carolina.

Jones struggled the first day here and sat in 88th place, losing his grip on the TTBAOY top spot. Kennedy took over from Jones but caught only two fish on Day Two, paving the way for Scroggins to move to the top of the standings.

When asked about taking the angler of the year lead, Scroggins had little to say.

“We’ll see,” said Scroggins, who has 1,490 AOY points. “There’s still a lot of fishing left.”

As an example of how quickly things can change in the standings, consider that Jones, who stayed in 88th place after the second day of this event, slipped to third in the AOY standings after Day One but actually moved up a spot to second with 1,471 points.

Kevin VanDam, who owns six AOY crowns, is tied with Jones. Edwin Evers, who made the Top 12 and will fish Sunday, is fourth with 1,433 but can’t catch Scroggins regardless of how he finishes in the Carolina Clash.

Still, some heavy hitters are lurking behind Scroggins. And all you have to do is look at what happened to Jones and Kennedy to understand the lead can be fleeting.

“You’ve got to be consistent,” Scroggins said. “Alton was a hundred points ahead of everyone, and then he comes in here and stumbles. It can happen. You have to be consistent and stay in the top 25. If I maintain top 15 or 20, I’ll be happy.”

With two events remaining – the Arkansas River out of Little Rock, Ark., and Lake Wheeler out of Decatur, Ala. – Scroggins has mixed emotions about his chances.

“I feel like I know my way around Wheeler,” he said, “but the Arkansas River is a different story.”

Scroggins has two top-five finishes on Wheeler since 2008, a fifth in one of the 2009 Southern Opens and a third in the 2008 Elite Series stop there.

“I like Wheeler,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of history there. If it’s close going into that one, I think I can make it interesting.”

But Scroggins isn’t nearly as confident about his chances in Arkansas. Although he’s a good river fisherman, having spent countless hours on Florida’s St. John’s River, Scroggins says you can’t compare it to the Arkansas River.

“(The Arkansas River) is totally different,” Scroggins said. “It’s not tidal. It’s controlled by lock and dams.”

Although he didn’t practice on the Arkansas River before it went off limits to anglers, Scroggins doesn’t think that will hurt his chances there.

“I didn’t pre-practice there, and I know a lot of the guys did,” he said. “But now that they’ve had that flood, it’s got to be different. It’s gonna be all new there; I kind of like that.”

Still, he isn’t exactly celebrating the location, either.

“I’m not looking forward to that tournament,” Scroggins said. “I like to go offshore and find something and catch them. It’s going to be a deal where you just go down the bank and catch fish. And I don’t really like those kind of tournaments. I’ve only been on it one time. I don’t have any history there.

“I’ll fly in there by the seat of my pants and see what happens. I can’t worry too much about it or try to figure something out before I get there. When I do that, I screw up.”

Nor will Scroggins think much about winning the AOY title.

“You’ve got 100 of the best guys in the world out here,” he said. “You can’t think about it. You have to fish for one fish at a time. If it happens, it happens.”