EVANS, Ga. To understand how many Elite Series pros feel going from the two Texas lakes to Clarks Hill Lake, try tossing a set of keys to a new, 12-cylinder Italian sports car to a newly-licensed, sixteen-year-old boy. Then, let him drive it for a year and switch it with the same old family van mom hauled him around in when he rolled strapped into a car seat.
"One fish in my livewell in Zapata would weigh more than all of them here," said Lone Star Shootout winner and current BASS four-day, five-limit record holder, Paul Elias. "They (the fish) were just stupid."
Paul Elias did something on Lake Falcon that nobody, including himself, thought possible. He averaged nearly 7 pound bass over four days to capture the all-time heavyweight record.
See, for the first time, every bass he pulls into the boat (and some he missed), including an interview with Elias that walks you through the emotions of the final day.
Did he think he had enough to win? What did Aaron Martens tell him before the weigh-in? Find out in the full-length, Bassmaster.com exclusive show that debuts Tuesday at Noon ET on the Bassmaster.com home page.
It's something we'd never seen before and might never see again: Paul Elias, 132 pounds, 8 ounces. Don't miss it.
Finding success at each different venue on the Bassmaster Elite Series requires anglers to have short memories. Where 120-pounds meant a title in Texas, the anglers at the Pride of Georgia presented by Evan Williams Bourbon must break the 70-pound mark to have a chance at victory.
"It's back to reality," said pro Kevin Short. "And reality sucks."
Brent Chapman had a slightly more optimistic view of the difference.
"It's all relative, though," he said. "It's just as exciting to catch a three-pounder on eight-pound line as it is to catch a six-pounder down there on 30-pound line or 65-pound braid."
In spite of the Texas hangover, many anglers adjusted to more common fishing conditions found along the Elite Series at Day Two's launch on Clarks Hill Lake.
"We better get over it," said Elite Series pro Gary Klein. "Are we still wishing for it? Yeah. But that was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fish where you know you're going to get into the record books."
"It's kind of tough for me," said pro Scott Campbell. "It was two hours before I put my first fish in the boat yesterday. At one point I looked back at my partner and said, 'we're not in Texas anymore.'"
Some anglers who didn't perform as well as they hoped in Texas looked forward to the reality check this week.
"I never really caught them down there," angler Fred Roumbanis said. "But I did finish in 10th place here last year, so I'm hoping for 10 or 11 pounds today."
"The fishing down there was not kind to me," pro James Kennedy said. "But I found something here yesterday and hopefully it will work today."
Despite the perception stringers have fallen lower on Clarks Hill Lake this year, the numbers prove weights are in keeping with those turned in at the same time during last year's event on the same lake.
"We're back to 10-pound days putting you in check range, verses 20-something days," said pro Ish Monroe.
The California angler paused and then presented an interesting offer to those planning future BASS events.
"I say we go to Falcon, Amistad, Clear Lake and we throw in Erie up north — and we do each one twice," he said. "Then, we have the last events in Mexico or Brazil. I'd pay $100,000 in entry fees to do that."