David Millsaps and Rick Gasaway weren’t concerned, though.
The two men know where to find the fish on West Point Lake.
They proved that by winning the 2010 and 2011 Georgia State Championships, making them the only back-to-back winners of the prestigious event.
So as they climbed into their boat on a crisp fall Sunday morning, they knew they had a chance to bring in enough big fish to pull off the three-peat.
The day got off to a great start when Gasaway pulled in a bass weighing more than six pounds, and things only got better from there.
By the time the two finished for the day, they’d brought in a five-fish haul weighing 23 pounds, 10 ounces, making them the runaway winners of the 25th edition of the Georgia State Championship hosted by Highland Marina Resort.
Jamie Koza and Ted Gambrell, who were the Day 1 leaders, had 11 pounds, nine ounces on Day 2 to finish seven pounds behind the winning team.
Millsaps and Gasaway finished with a two-day total of 36 pounds, 13 ounces, followed by Koza and Gambrell at 29 pounds, 12 ounces.
As was the case the past two years, Millsaps and Gasaway walked away with the top prize of $35,000, which they received in cash stuffed into the two first-place trophies.
“I couldn’t believe it,“ Millsaps said. “To win it one time is something else. Two is amazing. Three is unbelievable.”
Gasaway said he and Millsaps let some get away on Saturday.
“I lost two big ones (Saturday) before I come in,” Gasaway said. “We should have been leading yesterday.”
The two made up the deficit in short order Sunday morning, though.
“The first fish I caught this morning weighed six pounds, 12 ounces. I knew I’d done caught up and then some,” Gasaway said. “And them I caught two more, a six-pounder and a 5 ½-pounder.”
Millsaps said the two found the fish by going shallow.
“We went where nobody else has been fishing,” he said. “We went through about six inches of shallow water.”
Even with the 23-pound bag, there were no assurances they were going to win.
Once they saw that Koza and Gambrell only had 11 pounds, though, they knew the victory was likely their’s.
“We were five pounds behind Ted, who fishes with us all the time,” Millsaps said. “We know him. When he weighed in, he had like 11 pounds, and we figured we’ve probably got it.”
No one else came close to Gasaway and Millsaps, and they had their historic win.
Finishing third was the team of Josh Ellington and Nelson Rogers, who had a two-day total of 29 pounds, 12 ounces.
In fourth-place were Jeff Mullins and Tim Johnson, who brought in more than 16 pounds on Day 2 to finish with 26 pounds.
Rounding out the top five were Troy Morrow and Tom Jordan, who had a shade over 25 pounds.
OF NOTE: For complete tournament results, go to www.highlandmarina.com