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Day Two: Weigh-in notes, quotes

12/29/2006

Evers big ordeal

Edwin Evers not only leads after Day Two, but he made a serious run at winning the Purolater Big Bass award. The Oklahoma angler had a 10 pound, 1 ounce lunker as part of his 29 pound, 14 ounce stringer.

But that big fish may have cost him.

"I'm fishing along and I see this fish and I think it's a 6-pounder,'' Evers said. "I cast in there, she takes it, I set the hook and she goes on a tear.

"She heads straight to a big old tree surrounded by hydrilla and just mows right through it. I pull and I yank and she won't move. I get over to the tree and I think I can see her.

"I told my partner, 'Hold onto my feet, I'm going in.'"

Evers did too. But just as almost got his hands on the fish. The fish shot out of the tree and ripped through the grass under the boat.

"She just went ballistic,'' Evers said. "I fought and fought and finally landed her."

So how did it cost him?

"I'm sure that fish took about 5 years off my life."

Big Mamacita

Morizo Shimizu captured the fishing world's imagination with his catching of big fish at Lake Guntersville in 2005. Each of the behemoths was given the name "Big Mama."

It was endearing, partly because, Shimizu, a Japanese angler, has a limited English vocabulary. Judging by his report on the weigh-in stage on Day Two, he's just as limited with Spanish.

"I caught one,'' Shimizu said. "I caught Mama Grande Cita."

We're no experts in Spanish. But the Hispanics in the crowd loved the attempt, adding that maybe he meant "Mamacita Grande."

Morris's Top Ten

Rick Morris had pre-meditated 10 excuses as to why he didn't make the cut this weekend on Lake Amistad. Here they are:

10. He was too tired from the Classic
9. He was fishing the wrong places
8. The sun was too bright
7. The fish didn't chase the lures
6. The fish were suspended
5. Somebody already caught several of his 10-pounders
4. Too much traffic
3. Ish Monroe got to his spot before him (Monroe was the last boat to leave this morning)
2. His prop came off

And the number one reason why Rick Morris didn't make the cut for Saturday was...

1. He was too tired from the Classic

No big deal

Greg Hackney of Louisiana fished Friday out of the Mercury sponsor boat supplied by BASS after experiencing outboard problems Thursday.

Switching all his gear to another boat was an inconvenience, but Hackney didn't mind too much.

"I'd have fished from the bank here if I had to," he said. "There's not another lake like this one anywhere. My dad has been to Mexico and fished down there, and those lakes aren't as good as Amistad.

Obviously the switch in boats didn't bother Hackney too bad. He weighed in 28 pounds, 15 ounces to jump into second place.

Added Hackney, "I don't know if I can catch them or not, but I believe I'm on enough fish to last me every day for the next 3 ½ or 4 years."

Clunn's having fun

Rick Clunn, one of the elder statesmen of the CITGO Bassmaster Elite field, made the cut Friday in 35th place and he's having the time of his life in the process.

"I'm having such a good time,'' Clunn said. "And that's a problem. I'm really focusing on trying not to have such a good time. I am having so much fun catching fish on a spinnerbait that it's hard to slow down."

Clunn's point is that catching 3-pounders is fun, but in this event it won't do you any good. But it's hard to stop doing that even when you need to catch bigger fish.

"But when you see the big bags like those weighed yesterday, it's pretty good motivation to not be so stubborn."

Howell's dilemma

Randy Howell knows what Clunn is talking about.

"I spent about 20 minutes trying to cull because I had to throw back a 4-pounder,'' Howell said. "I kept thinking, 'That can't be the smallest one.'

"I don't know what I would do if I caught one of those 30-pound sacks."

Overheard

"Even if I don't make the cut, I'm going fishing tomorrow.''

—Jamie Fralick

"I'm not flipping and I'm not looking at them."
—Gary Klein, who weighed in the Purolator Big Bass on day two at 10 pounds, 5 ounces.

"I've caught so many fish the last two days my hands look like meat grinders."
—Jason Quinn, who is in 18th after two days of competition with 48-5.

"I was looking at all the pretty scenery yesterday. Today I look at bass and I catch them."
—Kotaro Kiriyama, who weighed in 23-5 on day two.

Skeet takes a beating, forgets the ticking

Skeet Reese may need to start carrying a Timex with him on the Elite Series.

The California pro missed making the top-50 cut by less than 2 pounds. In an event where two pounds doesn't seem like much, it provided a weighty lesson for Reese.

"I knew I was running out of time,'' Reese said. "But I found this 10-pounder on a bed and every time I would get my lure in there, she would run in there and nose down on it.

"I couldn't leave. I need that fish so bad. I just kept after her."

Maybe just a little too long.

"I looked down and had four minutes left,'' Reese said. "I thought, 'Oh, you dummy."

The end result was Reese was two minutes late, suffering a 2-pound penalty and knocking his 18-1 stringer to 16-1. The difference: Reese finished in 57th with 35-8, and assurance of sleeping late on Saturday. Without the penalty, he would have been in 48th with 37-8.

Homesick

Chad Brauer, who didn't make the cut to fish on Saturday, admitted he's not even looking forward to going to Lake Sam Rayburn in Jasper, Texas next weekend for the second stop on the Elite Series tournament trail. Brauer and his wife, Nikki (who also wants him home), recently had a baby girl who is only 11 days old — her name is Makenna Renee.

Sweet revenge

Yesterday Charlie Hartley lamented losing a big fish, but today he go his revenge.

"It broke my heart yesterday that I had a huge fish on and lost her. So I went back there today and tried to catch her again."

The 10-pound, 1-ounce bass he caught today was the biggest bass the Ohio angler has ever caught in a tournament, and he thinks it was the same one he missed yesterday.

"I caught her on my very last cast of the day."

Reeling for Research

Bass fishing fans can bid on a two day fishing trip with Stephen Browning this week that will benefit the Jimmy V Foundation.

Throughout every Elite Series and Major event this year, fans can bid on different excursions with the Elite Anglers. This week the winner will receive a two day trip with Browning on Lake Monticello in Arkansas.

"Lake Monticello is an Arkansas lake that reminds me a lot of Lake Amistad," Browning said. "In fact, I believe the next Arkansas state record will come from Monticello. Whoever wins the bid will catch a 10 pounder. I can almost guarantee it."

Bidding ends Sunday and can be reached through a front-page link on Bassmaster.com.

Swindle's high point

Gerald Swindle said his 29 pound, 6 ounce catch Friday is the heaviest he has ever caught in competition, besting his previous high of 27 pounds, 15 ounces from Smith Lake in Alabama.

"I actually jumped a 9 pounder and a 4 pounder today. I had a 9, a 2 and a 4 by 8 o'clock this morning, so I could relax and go hunt big fish."

"At one point, my partner said 'There's something in this bush down here but I don't know what it is.' I looked down there and said "I'll tell you what it is….It's Shamu!'"

I got that fish on and it was every bit of 9 pounds, but she came off.

Swindle climbed from 39th to 14th place.

Ike's biggest fan

As Michael Iaconelli brings his bag to the stage many hoot and hollers can be heard from the spectator crowd, but one high-pitched scream stands out among the rest. This constant voice belongs to 9-year-old Victoria Brown who is perhaps Iaconelli's biggest fan.

"He is my favorite angler because he is really wild and really active while he's catching fish. One of my hobbies when I get older is going to be fishing because of him."

The Brown family made the four-hour trip from Midland, Texas just so Victoria could see Iaconelli weigh in big fish on the scales. And he hasn't disappointed her either as Iaconelli sits in 11th place. Her mother, Charlotte, says Victoria has been watching bass fishing since she was in diapers and around the family they call her the "bass fishing groupie."

When the moon chases the sun

The moon phase plays a role in spawning behavior of fish and has been a topic of conversation since last month's Bassmaster Classic at Lake Toho in Kissimmee Florida. This week it's a "growing moon," meaning a full moon is days away. Fish like to spawn on a full moon.

Today at 4:00 pm the growing moon was visible high in the sky at the weigh in and BASS tournament staffer Louis Pee Wee Powers had his own thoughts on what it meant.

"The moon is chasing the sun. Some days you don't see the moon during daylight hours, but when you see the moon chasing the sun — fishermen are going to catch fish."

Judging from the results of two days of fishing at Lake Amistad, Pee Wee may be right.

Specialty stick

Alabama pro Gerald Swindle broke out a specialty rod Friday for sight-fishing, one of his new signature rods from Quantum.

"It's a 7-foot-4 finesse flipping stick," he said, showing off the Quantum PT rod, which has a fast tip but enough backbone for sight-fishing. "They call it medium-heavy but it's really more of a medium action rod with a fast tip.

"When you're throwing those small Bitsy Bug jigs on a heavy flipping stick a lot of times you break off the line. This one is more forgiving but still strong."