A common saying is that 'opposites attract.' Not that Stone and Reese are opposites, but they had opposite days on Lake Norman that have them together in the AOY race. Skeet Reese had a huge first day on the water, reeling in 18 pounds and 2 ounces of bass. But day two was more of a challenge as Reese boated only 4 pounds and 2 ounces and rounded out the weekend in 15th spot.
"I had a great day (Thursday)," Reese said. "To catch 18 pounds out here is phenomenal. Every single fish I caught (Thursday) was on the Lucky Craft Fat CB 1.5. But when the sun came out (Friday) morning, I knew it was going to be a tough bite and knew I was in big trouble. But I really thought if I grinded it out, I was going to catch five - even if they were little ones. I just never found the bites today. The fish really wanted to move up on the banks.
"(On Friday), I knew the worm bite was going to be more prolific," Reese added. "It's not my style of fishing, but I was able to work my way through it. I wanted to swing for the fences because I wanted a 12- to 15-pound stringer again. Even though they were shallow this week, they weren't reacting to the bigger baits."
But Reese is right there for AOY honors, tied for fourth only 29 points behind Stone.
"I'm tickled to death because I had a pretty good tournament," Reese said. "After my week on Lake Norman, I'm pleased that I stayed in the hunt for Angler of the Year. We'll see where the cards fall. I've really tried to fish my strengths this year. I'm not going to fish Table Rock conservatively. As long as I think the fish will be shallow, I have a shot at it. I just want to keep myself in position at this last event."
Lucky Craft's Mike Auten garnered the 73rd position with an overall weight of 15 pounds and 11 ounces. He had a solid first day of competition, bringing in 9 pounds and 11 ounces of bass, while following that up with 6 pounds on day two.
Kelly Jordon wound up the tournament with 15 pounds and 5 ounces of bass. The Mineola, Texas, angler talked about his week, which was dominated by the weather.
"I was catching them really well on the Slender Pointer, and just smoked them on that thing," Jordon said. "That bite went away from me big time with all the changing weather conditions. I ended up having to catch the most of my fish on a little crankbait, or a jig and worm.
"It was hot in practice. The day we got here, it was 80 degrees," Jordon added. "It was kind of cool during the last day of practice. It didn't get really cold until Wednesday night. It changed a lot and the fish were still there. The fish I was on just went south though."
Ironically, Lucky Craft teammate Joe Thomas also brought in 15 pounds and 5 ounces of bass and wound up tied for 75th with Jordon. He talked about his week.
"I think that cold front changed things big time this week," Thomas said. "I figured it was going to be a crankbait tournament. I think it became a tournament where you just cast baits onto the docks. I cranked a little U.S. Shad 65 crankbait and found a little Shad pattern around the docks. I had a couple of opportunities today to have a decent tournament but overall, it was just a grind.
bit a lot better yesterday (Thursday)," Thomas said. "I had
seven fish yesterday, but only five today (Friday). When it's clear and
calm, they don't bite real well. If you're cranking and add a little wind,
that will help."
Takahiro Omori didn't end his tournament the way he wanted. He took home the 94th position after catching 13 pounds and 12 ounces of bass for the week.
"I really didn't find anything throughout the tournament," Omori said. "I started with a Pointer 78 and was fishing around the points. Then I caught my first keeper on a BDS 4.
find anything in practice, so I wasn't able to make any adjustments,"
Omori continued. "I was looking for fish the entire tournament. Conditions
kept changing like that and it got pretty tough."
Gerald Swindle continues to be frustrated with his results. The reigning CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year wound up with 12 pounds and 11 ounces and a 105th-place finish on Lake Norman this past week.
"This place about killed me," Swindle said. "I have never seen so many little fish in my life, while everyone around me was catching the big ones. I tried and tried and looked at every way to catch fish. I ran around the lake and looked for everything.
one was hard to swallow and I'm speechless at this point," Swindle
continued. "I'm really struggling mentally. I'm not far off with
what's going on out on the water, but I'm having a little trouble putting
everything together. I'm not getting the breaks I need. The weather this
week was really brutal on us and it was the most difficult part of this.
I had another horrible practice as well, and it was the second-straight
tournament like that. When I get home, I'm going out on a lake and fish
for four-straight days. I just want to catch fish. I've had some practices
where I haven't caught a fish, recently."
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