DEL RIO, Texas — Entering the final day, tournament leader Alton Jones knew that if Jason Williamson caught another giant sack, he wouldn't have the fish left to compete.
Jones had been the most consistent pro all week, catching bags between 22 and 24 pounds, and he felt he could go out and catch that again, but he just wasn't around the bigger fish that could protect him against a Williamson onslaught.
"I don't think I could have done anything differently," Jones said. "He's the only one to back up a giant bag this week. That doesn't mean I'm pleased with second place. I wanted to win one in Texas."
Jones did find a rather unique pattern for the tournament, fishing areas much shallower than the rest of the field. For him, the cold front only moved the fish shallower, and he was able to catch all his fish on a 6-inch Yum Dinger. One key that he cited was a long cast, to avoid alerting the bass to his presence in the clear water.
Going into the day, he thought he could catch 20 pounds and he came close, weighing in 19 pounds, 4 ounces. Once he got to the stage and heard Keith Alan announce that he needed over 27 pounds to take the lead, he knew it was over.
"I was in a position where Williamson had to beat me and he did," Jones said. "The pattern I was on just wasn't conducive to beat Jason. I was on those 3-to-5 pounders, but hadn't seen a big fish all week."
Gary Klein, in second place entering the final day, still knew that there was a potential for big fish on his spots.
He caught two consistent bags over 25 pounds the first two days before faltering on Day Three, but he knew that the right timing on Sunday could produce the winning bag. Unfortunately, the sun positioned the fish in such a way that they proved to be uncatchable for Klein.
"The sun caused the fish to come off the structure I was fishing and suspend," Klein said. "I just hadn't spent any time in practice fishing for suspended fish, so I couldn't get them to bite. The only thing I think I could have done differently was switched to 6-pound line."
The frustrating thing for Klein was that he wasn't just relying on one spot or area, but the fish were similarly shut-down at each spot he visited on Day Four.
"Boyd Duckett, Kevin Short and I were all fishing the same section of the lake and none of us caught a limit today," Klein said. "Maybe we should have just changed sections of the lake, I don't know."
Either way, at the end of the day, it would have been hard for either Klein and Jones to stay on top and challenge Williamson's magic final day that saw him catch 34 pounds, 12 ounces, easily the heaviest bag of the tournament.