EVANS, Ga. — Jon Bondy has had a rough start to the 2007 Elite Series. He hasn't finished higher than 89th in any of the three tournaments thus far, but had worked his way to into eighth place after two days on Clarks Hill Lake.
Bondy was one of the first anglers to weigh-in on Saturday, and his sack was light. After 15 pounds, 11 ounces and 17-7 in the first two days of the Pride of Georgia, Bondy could only manage 9-10.
He was disappointed with his day when he came off the stage, but pleased that he had brought himself out of the pit.
"California was just murderous on me," Bondy said. "I just took a beating out there, but hopefully I can get on a roll as we move toward my water up north."
He had all but resigned to the fact that he had just missed the top-12 cut, but was hoping for the best.
"I'm hanging on in 11th place right, but I know Skeet's got a big bag. Hopefully I'll hang on and make it," he said.
Reese weighed-in a 17 pound bag and pushed Bondy to 12th with most of the field still to weigh-in. But anglers kept crossing the stage and Bondy continued to stay inside the cut.
As the line of anglers waiting to weigh-in got shorter, Bondy got closer to the television behind the stage that shows all of the anglers weights and positions, rocking back and forth.
With less than 10 anglers left to go, it looked like Bondy was going to squeak in, because it would take almost a 20-pound bag from one of the remaining anglers to push him out. Then, Ish Monroe hit the stage.
When Emcee Keith Alan announced his weight at 19-12, giving him 1-3 more than Bondy for the tournament, Bondy's head dropped.
He stood there for a few minutes taking the long walk toward the dock to pull his boat out of the water. He finished in 13th place.
Earning his keep
Angler of the Year points leader Skeet Reese has made a habit of bad practices and good tournaments.
"Practice was horrible," he said.
Before Day One he said he had 10 pieces of a 1000 piece puzzle put together, and after Day Three, he sits in 8th place.
"I was able to adjust and change and move every day this week," he said. "It took me five days of trial and error to find something on this lake."
The weights suggest that it included a little more trial than error.
A model of consistency
Kevin Short, who sits almost 10 pounds out of the lead in fourth place, has caught 15-6, 16-7 and 15-7 in his three days on Clarks Hill Lake.
"I am going to 15 pound them to death," he said.
"I'm not wishing anybody any bad luck, but I want to fish tomorrow." — Randy Howell, who weighed in first to take the lead on Day Three but eventually dropped to 14th
"More like the worst day I've had out here." — Derek Remitz, answering the question of whether Saturday was more like the first day or the second day of the tournament
"I tell you what, all the fishing sins I committed, I'm just happy to have five fish and to be here." — Kevin Short (4th, 47-4)
"I thought I could catch 20 pounds today, easy. When he said 10 pounds, I just about lost it." — Bryan Hudgins (7th, 45-3)
"I couldn't have caught a McDonald's fish sandwich in practice." — Gerald Swindle
"Spinning rods are for crappie fishing." — Tommy Biffle
"There's a lot of big fish around me." — Ish Monroe
"I caught 15 pounds on a French Fry on Day One, and the funny thing is that I gave up French fries after I gained 20 pounds on the tour last season." — Jon Bondy
"My roommate John Murray said I better keep having bad practices because I keep catching them." — Skeet Reese, who moved from 19th to 8th on Saturday.
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 6:15 a.m. ET for The Launch: LIVE! and see your favorite BASS Anglers take off for the day of competition. Check back at 10:00 a.m., noon, and 2:00 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 3:00 p.m. ET, followed immediately by the Final Day Bassmaster Elite Series weigh-in where you can see who wins the $100,000 prize!