Scroggins' Stinging Seconds

 ZAPATA, Texas — Twelfth nearly took first — all-time.

 Terry Scroggins, buried in 12th place with 88 pounds after three days on Falcon Lake, weighed in a 44-pound, 4-ounce mother lode of bass on Day Four that fell 14 ounces shy of the biggest BASS tournament stringer ever.

 Dean Rojas, he escaped one today," Scroggins told the weigh-in crowd.

 That near-obscene limit, anchored by a 10-6 big fish, propelled the Palatka, Fla., angler known as Big Show to the single-tournament BASS record with 132-4, eclipsing Steve Kennedy's year-old mark of 122-14 on Clear Lake.

 Just a day earlier, Scroggins was 9 ounces away from slipping out of the final cut of the Lone Star Shootout presented by Longhorn.

 Five other anglers went on surpass Kennedy's total, a testament to Falcon Lake's fecundity, unmatched perhaps anywhere on Earth. Unfortunately for Scroggins, fourth-place Paul Elias weighed in a sack weighing 37-11 — and won by a scant 4 ounces, equivalent to 0.2 percent of the weight the top two anglers registered this week.

 Elias thus owns the single-tournament record, and Rojas still owns the single-day record with 45-2, caught on Lake Toho in 2001.

 Scroggins can claim second in both categories as well as in the Lone Star Shootout.

 "I knew I was close," he said later. "I thought I had low 40s. And I knew I missed an opportunity."

 He lost a fish on Day Two that he guessed was near 11 pounds. On Day Four, with less than an hour to weigh in, he lost one that he eyeballed at 10 pounds when it breached.

 It would have made a great cull for his small fish, which he guessed was between 6 and 7 pounds. In both cases, the lost fish bit the weight on his Carolina rig — "a bad-luck scenario," he said — preventing him from setting the hook.

 "I would have blew it away if I could have put 'em in the boat," he said backstage after Elias took the lead. "It's hard to do, but this lake has got 'em. If we keep coming back here, it's gonna get broke."

 He caught fish all over Falcon, he said, but his key spot was a submerged road that he spied from his truck. Nearly all the fish he weighed came from that spot. Mike Iaconelli (11th place, 112-6) fished nearby.

 Scroggins had found the morning bite to be best on the road bend, and true to form, he had nearly 30 pounds on three fish in the first hour on Day Four. He left the spot periodically to "let it cool off," caught small fish elsewhere for an hour or so, then returned to reap the giants.

 He caught his 10-6 at about 2:30. Near 3:45 he flirted with the 10-pounder that could have won him the tournament and given him the two most meaningful records in BASS tournament fishing.

 "Just one of them deals," he said.

 Asked whether anything else from the week stood out, he displayed his palms. They were bloodied, and skin around the crook of his thumb was shredded into little white spikes.

 "Look at my hands," he said. "They tell the story."

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