"I knew I didn't have the fish to win it. Hopefully I
can finish in the top 5."
Chris Lane speaking of having to change fishing
areas on the final day
"I decided to go early to an area on the lake I'd
never seen. I got desperate and went back to water I
had fished all week."
Zell Rowland on his decision-making process on
"The highs in this sport are unbelievable. I was all
choked up just trying to talk to my cameraman this
Rookie Elite Angler Paul Hirsoky's response to
making his first cut to the Elite 12
"My ribs are literally hurting from catching so many
fish this week. I jerked, and jerked and jerked."
Jasper, Texas Elite pro Todd Faircloth
"When we came up here I was thinking 'brown'…as in
smallmouth. But when I found those largemouth it was
boom, boom, boom."
7th-place finisher Mike Wurm
"I just dodged a couple of bullets, but I'm fixing' to
get hit right in the middle of the chest here in a
Mark Tyler while sitting on the 'hot seat' and
waiting on Denny Brauer to weigh in
"That 10 pounds came off the same bank I caught 20
pounds on the other day. I just ran out of fish."
Paul Elias after finishing in 10th place
"I caught that big fish while the helicopter was still
Brent Chapman on his quick start on Day 4
"The older you get the harder it gets…the aches and
pains are worse…I've been at this for a long time.
This one is special."
Denny Brauer, winner of the Champion's Choice
After Chris Lane realized that he could not fish in the area that had set him up to lead the tournament, he knew he had some decisions to make. He spent some time early in practice at the southern end of the lake so he decided to make the run.
"I knew the tournament was going to be won up north," Lane said. "And I had practiced in some other areas in the north end, but all the good places had Top Twelve anglers on them, so I gave them all room. It wouldn't have been right for me to try to go in there and fish."
While Lane was admittedly disappointed that he didn't have the opportunity to fish the area that he described as holding the "mother lode" of fish, at the end of the day he said he felt good about the tournament.
"Look, it's my rookie season. After the first tournament of the year I had the big realization that I had a lot to learn this year. And I have certainly been learning. I learned this week that I cannot rely on one area. I need to practice and fish tournament days like I have no idea what is going to happen. Wind, water levels, storms might come up or I might be thrown out of the spot."
Lane said the experience shook his confidence but he used the one-hour boat ride south to clear his head.
"I just went fishing and enjoyed the moment that I did have, leading the tournament. I really wish I could have competed against Denny. That was a dream come true."
Lane said he was taking all of his lessons learned from this season and would use them to make a run at the Angler of the Year race in 2007.
Service with a smile
Paul Hirosky encountered an engine problem on Saturday, creating a situation where he had to ride in with fellow competitor Davy Hite and retrieve his boat after the weigh in.
Hirosky was concerned about having repairs done because he is fishing the Bassmaster Northern Tour event next week in Iowa.
Lucky for Hirosky, the Mercury service crew was willing to go above and beyond to help him out. When Hirosky finally got his boat back to the service yard at 8 p.m., a smiling Danny Vasquez was ready to put in the hours required to get him up and running.
Pardon the Interruption, KVD
Last week, ESPN radio held auctions all week to benefit the Jimmy V Foundation. One item auctioned was the placement of a bidder's photograph on the Pardon The Interruption studio set.
ESPN viewers may recall that the television show's set includes photos of sports celebrities from Albert Pujols to Babe Ruth to A-Rod. The donor who won this particular auction has opted to use Kevin VanDam's photo on the set. According to the anonymous donor the life-size headshot will be on the set for two months.