Reese, Ashley slug it out at the bottom

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - If this were a normal Elite Series tournament, both Skeet Reese and Casey Ashley would be in trouble

However, the Evan Williams Bourbon All-Star Championship is not a regular tournament. It’s head-to-head matchups

While both Skeet’s and Ashley’s weights were among the lowest on the day from the Alabama River, Ashley is still standing. He only need to beat Reese, and did it narrowly, 7-14 to 7-1

Ashley now advances to the round of four to fish against Edwin Evers on Saturday

“Well, if he does beat me, I don’t have to go fishing tomorrow,” Reese said before learning his fate

The week wasn’t a total loss for the California pro, however. The feather in Reese’s cap came last week during the Ramada All-Star Semi-Final on Lake Jordan

 “The high point of this thing was when I beat out Kevin (VanDam),” Reese said

His synopsis of Friday’s performance was blunt, if not honest

“I sucked today,” he admitted. “I thought that I could catch 10 pounds, but it just didn’t happen. I jumped two 2-pounders off and there’s nothing you can do about that

“I figured that when all the boats left me today that I didn’t have a chance. Maybe they were watching BASSTrakk. This place just has my number. It is what it is.

While Ashley wasn’t quite as grim, he admitted that he needs to pick up the pace if he’s going to make it one more round

“It doesn’t matter who I’m fishing against tomorrow; everyone’s catching ‘em better than I am!” he said. “I caught a lot of fish early - I had a limit in 45 minutes - but tomorrow it’s going to be a whole new ball game. I guess I’ll try for where I got five then go practicing.

He added that he plans to abandon the shallow-water bite and look deeper in the hopes of improving his weight as he faces off against Evers.

“I didn’t catch ‘em real well today, but I got it done,” he said.

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