Hey now, you’re an all star

Fans vote Auburn’s Skeet Reese in to Bassmaster tournament
By: Matthew Kimel, Journal Sports Editor
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Auburn’s Skeet Reese is set to make his fourth appearance at the Bassmaster Toyota Trucks All-Star Week — and he’s confident he can emerge as the winner.

Though Reese had a down year, he received enough fan support to earn a slot in the 12-angler event taking place on Lake Shelbyville in Illinois from Sept. 20-23.

“I’m looking forward to it. It’s always fun,” he said. “I would have loved to qualify on my own. I finished 11th in points. I came up a little bit shy, but it was nice to have the fans support. 

“It makes you feel good about what you’ve done. It’s nice to have fans supporting. It’s a great a humbling feeling.” 

The top eight anglers in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year rankings for 2012 automatically qualified for the event.

Fans, through some 400,000 votes spread among 89 candidates, then voted Gerald Swindle, Aaron Martens, Michael Iaconelli and Reese to the lineup. Coincidentally, they were the Anglers of the Year for 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007, respectively.

The four join newly crowned Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year Brent Chapman, defending All-Star champion Ott DeFoe, Terry Scroggins, Todd Faircloth, Randy Howell, Matt Herren, Kevin VanDam and Edwin Evers for the first of two tournaments in Illinois.

Up for grabs is $100,000 in prize money, including $60,000 for a first-place finish.

Though the prize money is appealing to Reese, who has lived in Auburn for 13 years, he has other reasons for competing. 

“It’s not all about the money, though it’s a great part of it,” he said. “When you compete, you play to win. I’m going there with one thing on my mind: winning it. I want the trophy. I want the title.”

Reese is confident that he can win it all.

“I got pretty good odds,” he said. “I only got 11 guys I got to go against. Granted they are 11 of the best in the world, they aren’t going to make it easy for me. I’ve beat them before. I know I can do it.”

In the first event, Sept. 20-21, all 12 anglers will compete on Lake Shelbyville for two days. Their catches will be tallied, and the top four anglers will be seeded and advance to the Evan William Bourbon All-Star Championship, Sept. 22, on Lake Decatur where the No. 1 seed will face off against No. 4, and No. 2 will be paired against No. 3 in a modified match fishing format.

On Sept. 23, angler weights will be reset to zero for the final competition round — also on Lake Decatur — which features the two advancing seeds, one of whom will be crowned the 2012 Toyota Trucks All-Star champion.

Reese won the Classic in 2009, with a $500,000 payout. He’s topped 100 pounds in an Elite Series tournament, a feat he’s accomplished four times, and once made the finals (Top 12) in six consecutive events.

Though it was a down year for Reese, he finished strong. 

“Last year was my worst I’ve had on tour my last 10 years,” he said. “Eleven years I’ve been inside the top 10. I had a couple of bad tournaments, I stumbled, but I rallied at the end.”

Reese is excited to test out a new body of water. The last few years the all-star event has been held in Alabama. 

Asked how he was preparing for the challenge, Reese said he had recently gone salmon fishing in the Sacramento River.

“I caught a bunch of big salmon for fun,” he said.

Reach Matthew Kimel at Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel