EVANS, Ga. — You probably would like to know how and where to cast to win $100,000 fishing. So would the 12 anglers fishing the final day of the Pride of Georgia presented by Evan Williams Bourbon on Clarks Hill Lake.
Just before take-off, by the dawn's early light, ESPNOutdoors.com asked those Bassmaster Elite Series anglers what and how they'll be fishing Sunday. By default, one of these strategies will mean $100,000 for its practitioner.
Chris Lane (1st place, 56 pounds, 12 ounces)
The leader has a sizeable advantage on the rest of the field, but not enough that he can feel comfortable. He's aiming to get a five-fish limit of perhaps 10 pounds, then upgrade that the rest of the day by fishing topwater and throwing a Gambler super stud ghost-colored shad.
Pete Ponds (2nd, 51-12)
He'll be targeting schooling fish using topwater baits and the occasional crankbait, including a bait he says his dad invented, called a "rattle back." Asked how to spell that name, he said, "I don't think it's ever been written down."
Mike McClelland (3rd, 50-8)
His pattern: "I've been fishing a lot of lake points. They've got to have rock on them, that's the biggest key to catching them here right now. There's 3,000 clay points out there but only a select few of them have rock on them. These fish are just waiting to feed on the blueback that are coming up. That's what's shocking about it. Most of these fish are coming in less than three foot of water."
His bait: "I've pretty much caught 80 percent of my fish on a half-ounce football jig, with a Zoom Super Chunk as a trailer. I'm using peanut butter and jelly with a green pumpkin trailer on it."
Kevin Short (4th, 47-4)
The dark horse of the bunch will be throwing a Lucky Craft crankbait and a Zoom 6-inch lizard at points on the mouths of spawning pockets, where post-spawn fish are coming.
Derek Remitz (5th, 46-4)
"I'll be slinging a jig all day," the Rookie of the Year points leader said. He'll target "30 or 40" different rocky points — and likely will hit some of the same points that McClelland is on.
Casey Ashley (6th, 46-3S
The Day One leader will throw a jig early, and later fish topwater. He's aiming at schooling fish, and intends to cover a lot of water.
Brian Hudgins (7th, 45-3)
His pattern: "The first two days, I had a good spot hole where I was catching four-pounders. Other than that I have been putting the trolling motor down and gone sight fishing. It's probably one of the first times I have been looking for cooler water. Most of this lake out here is 68 or 70 degrees and have small fish on the beds, but the water up where I am is about 56. I'm not seeing a whole lot of fish but the fish I'm seeing are big fish."
His bait: "I've been throwing a drop shot on spots and I've been sight fishing with tubes and jigs."
Skeet Reese (8th, 44-10)
"I don't know yet," said the Angler of the Year points leader. "I haven't gone fishing yet." Asked to guess what he'd be doing, Reese said he'd be throwing a jig and a sammy topwater, hitting two shallow areas where he can see fish schooling.
John Crews (9th, 44-5)
The rookie will throw a jig and a Carolina rig, relying on Berkeley soft plastics. He'll start by fishing "a little bit of topwater," do some bedfishing later and probably return to the topwater by day's end.
Ish Monroe (10th, 43-15)
His pattern: I've been sight fishing and fishing for pre-spawners. The pre-spawners have been in two or three feet of water. I'm staying in one area, it's about a three-mile radius, but I am running little pockets within that three miles. I haven't been sight fishing much, just enough to catch one or two a day off the beds.
His baits: A Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver, a Robo Worm, Boom-Boom Tube, and the Ish Tube.
Fred Roumbanis (11th, 43-14)
His pattern: "I've really been junk fishing a bunch. I am going to go sight fishing today though. I am just going to put the trolling motor on high and look for the bigger fish."
His bait: "I caught a big one on a swimbait on Saturday, but I've caught most of my stuff on worms and a Sinko. With both those baits, even the Sinko, you've got to shake it."
Aaron Martens (12th, 43-1)
His pattern: "I'm catching most of them on a Robo Worm, a six-inch fat one and a six-inch skinny one. In colors, I'm using blue gill and oxblood light and eight to seven pound line. I've also caught about a third of my keepers on a Pencil Popper. Everything else I've got tied up here, I haven't caught anything on."
His baits: "I'm fishing from three feet to 30 feet. I'm going out to deep stuff and after about five minutes there, I'll go back up and fish a point. I'm fishing deep and shallow schools. There are some at 15 to 20 and then there are some at three feet."
Editor's Note: Sunday, April 22, ESPNOutdoors.com will be having LIVE Video coverage of the Pride of Georgia, presented by Evan Williams Bourbon throughout the entire day. Check in at 10 a.m., noon, and 2 p.m.ET for Live video updates from the event with Bassmaster TV hosts Mark Zona, Tommy Sanders, and Jerry McKinnis. Elite Series: Hooked Up, the Bassmaster Elite Series Final Day pregame show, begins at 3 p.m. ET, followed immediately by the Final Day Bassmaster Elite Series weigh-in where you can see who wins the $100,000 prize!