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Bassmaster Classic Quick Bites

2/22/2009

Bassmaster Classic Blog

BASS Fantasy Fishing | 2009 Classic Archive |
Unofficial Standings Page

4:41 p.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

The catching part of this game is over. All of the anglers are within the confines of Port Lake. They should all check in on time.

Now the only thing that remains is to seen is how well a few observers were at guessing the weights of fish.

The way we see it, we know we don't have it completely accurate. But we have it close enough to definitely say "it's too close to call."

Iaconelli may have another crown, and Skeet may yet finish second again.

Or Skeet may have it with Iaconelli on down the list.

Fralick is still in the mix, too. He caught a 3-pounder late, according to a cameraman, so he upgraded a pound or two. This week his observer had been notorious for guessing light.

Skeet has been guessing light. Ike has been guessing heavy, and there has always been someone with a big surprise that hits us right in the head.

If there are no surprises, then we expect to see one of these anglers walk away with the crown today — Ike, Skeet, McClelland, Fralick and possibly Snowden. Bryan Schmidt, our Federation Nation guy, could even sneak in.

Again, all of it is too close to call.

We'll see you at the weigh-in.

Steve Bowman

4:19 p.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

It's 4:15 p.m. and Skeet is out of his hole and running up the river. He should make it. But there are still a lot of these guys following Ike's mantra to never give up.

They are hitting all sorts of little tucked away places along the river, still dreaming of heroics. Right now Skeet is a mile or so down river from Port Lake. Half the field is in Port Lake and the others are scattered up and down.

The little blips we use to follow them are plopping around like jumping beans on the screen.

I expect there are about three of these guys who think they have a real shot. A couple more who are hoping their fish weigh more than they do, and those guys who are still trying to make some magic.

Pretty neat stuff to watch.

Steve Bowman

4:15 p.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

It's all about time management at this point. As I type this, it's 4:08 p.m. EST, and this thing is over in 22 minutes.

Ike has already boated to the check-in area. I'm sure he's fishing, but he's close. Skeet on the other hand is still hanging out on his ridge and ditch. He will have to start moving sooner, but he's going to push it until it hurts.

One big fish and he could win. If that happens, he will have done it while his closest unofficial competitor was playing it safe.

At 4:10 p.m., Skeet started heading toward the check in. No movement on the tote board yet.

Steve Bowman

3:59 p.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

All of the boats from Pool 4 have now spilled out in Pool 5 and the whole crew has about 40 minutes left to fish.
This is where it gets dicey on cellular trackers. When those boats hit the lock and slide into those concrete walls, we lose the signal. We're starting to get them back, but who knows what will happen.

Time is running out on everybody. Our best guess is Skeet has 10 minutes left to fish. That will leave him 15 minutes to idle and 15 minutes to run from his spot to the check in, hoping nothing happens along the way.
He may try to push it. Most of us would, unless he thinks he has enough to win. I doubt he thinks that.
Iaconelli hasn't checked up since he left the lock, he's almost back to the check in.

Steve Bowman

3:53 p.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

Mike McClelland is making a little noise. He's upgraded to 18-11 on the unofficial count. That's with a 1-pounder in his creel. He just caught one that weighed 5-pounds and upped his total weight to 49-1.

With the margin of error that we know is within these estimates, McClelland could be close enough to make things real interesting.

One more 5-pounder and he moves up four pounds and he's right in the middle of the stew.

Steve Bowman

3:36 p.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

Almost all of the anglers in the top 25 have double-digit weights. Those not recording those types of weights start with Fralick, jump way down to Jordon and Edwin Evers. (Where has he been all day? He could be real sneaky today, too.)

They pick back up with Dave Wolak (another guy who has fallen off the grid and out of sight of our tracking system), Dean Rojas and Greg Pugh.

And of course, Greg Hackney hasn't been seen or heard from since he took off. Another example of what we don't know.

Steve Bowman

3:31 p.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

These last minute fireworks, both those that have passed and those that will likely come, set up all sorts of scenarios.

They also reveal how fallible this little system of ours can be. Iaconelli caught his fish. I'm sure he threw a little hysteria all around, jumped in the driver seat and sped off still screaming.

Poor old observer never got a moment to think. That fish probably won't show up in our counting system for a while, if it shows at all.

We had a photog on him or we wouldn't have known about it.

Ike could still catch another one after he locks through. Skeet could start wacking them at any moment, anyone in Pool 5 could do that. The tournament is obviously going to be won in the waning moments. Just who will it be?
These are the heroics everyone was dreaming about this morning, and some of these guys like Ike and Skeet know how to make dreams come true.

We can watch all we want from our eye in the sky, but we can't capture every little detail, count every little ounce, or see every cast. The best efforts lay with enough time to punch in some numbers and have them go through in the middle of an angler more intent on getting back on time.

That's why this weigh-in will be a "Don't Miss" affair.

All Reese needs is one 4-pound fish in the next hour and he takes back the lead. What's more, you have Bryan Schmidt sneaking in with all the other commotion and he's sacked up 19 pounds, including a 5- and 6-pounder.
One more of those and Schmidt can join the fray on the stage. Add in a little last-second heroics on Snowden's part or Fralic's part in Pool 5 and it gets way too close to call.

WOW! Again.

Steve Bowman

3:18 p.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

Another early return: Iaconelli just caught another 4 1/2-pound fish in the last few minutes of his fishing time.

We received a Text Message from Larry Towell, our photographer, that the fish was at least that. And Ike, "Is on pad in 2 feet of water or less, screaming 'Never give up."

It's almost like you've seen that somewhere before, huh?

That gives Iaconelli another 1 1/2 minimum, pushing him to 54 pounds and change. That's a big move. Skeet still has another hour to make up the difference.

Fralick and Snowden should be on their way to the lock soon. Still watching to see if anything changes with them.
This is still a horse race with a lot of time left. But in the command center, it's become a horse race between two photogs.

Towell, covering Ike, is one horse, and he's in the lead.

But James Overstreet, covering Skeet, firmly believes the Blonde Bomber will sack two more 4-pounders in the next hour. He says it's heating up.

Obviously, the fireworks are still going.

I wonder if Ike will yell at Skeet on the way past him.

One thing is for certain, neither angler is going to give up.

Steve Bowman

2:58 p.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

With Ike at 52-15 and Skeet at 52-14 and the clock winding down, they'll have to perform some late afternoon magic to surpass Luke Clausen's record Classic weight.

Clausen set the mark with 56-2 in a wire-to-wire victory in 2006 on Lake Tohopekaliga. It was the seventh wire-to-wire Classic victory and topped Davy Hite's mark of 55-10.

Our results are officially unofficial, so you never know, but as of now, the record won't fall.

Mike Suchan

2:44 p.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

Looking at this unofficial top 10 all you can do is say "WOW!"

You have Ike at the top of the standings. A guy that everyone either loves to love or loves to hate with an AOY title and Classic championship already under his belt.

Then there's Skeet Reese, the 2007 AOY, who always seems to be in the mix.

Brian Snowden, probably the best Elite angler on tour without a major championship.

Then there's Fralick, the new underdog everyone is rooting for.

Boyd Duckett, one of the hottest commodities around in big-time events and former Classic champ.

He's followed by Mark Davis and Aaron Martens, who share four AOY titles and one Classic championship. And the defending champ, Alton Jones is bringing up the rear.

There are still going to be some surprises in this day and probably some exciting moves. This Classic promised to be one of the most compelling ever. It's living up to that promise.

In other observations:

• Shaw Grigsby has made it through the lock and is now in Pool 4. He had another decent day in Pool 3, with an almost 14-pound weight.

• Bryan Schmidt and Terry Fitzpatrick, our Federation Nation contingent, have both limited and are within the top 15.

• Greg Hackney has been off the grid all day. He would have to have about 25 to 30 pounds to make this thing happen for him. It's possible, not likely. Still trying to run something down on him.

Steve Bowman

2:26 p.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

Jami Fralick may have a reason to keep hoping for a last-minute flurry. His partner in the area he's been fishing all week, Brian Snowden, just caught a 4-pounder.

That moves Snowden up to third place with 48-5, still almost 5 pounds off the unofficial lead.

The fish, though, probably did not go unnoticed by Fralick. On one hand, he would have loved to add that to his weight. On the other hand, it might give him some confidence.

As Charlie Hartley said, this is a game of decisions. Whether he sticks to his cards or folds them could make the difference.

Last year, Hartley stuck with his and paid the price. This might be the year to hold them and let the cards come to you.

Watching Fralick closely. Two 4-pounders and he's right in the middle of it again. Three and he might have it.

Steve Bowman

2:26 p.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

Take a wild guess whom Charlie Hartley's rooting for.

"We got a good replacement for me, Jami Fralick," Hartley said. "Let's hope he wins this."

You'll remember Hartley as the Elite Series pro who finished well south of the Classic cut two years ago, then won the Southern Opens points, and led the Classic on the first day last year before succumbing to the pressure and his own doubts on the water.

Just being a regular dude leading the Classic for a day made him something of a folk hero to bass fishermen everywhere.

Hartley missed the Classic this year and is on-site to do commentary for ESPN. ("Who could give better commentary on how to lose the Classic?" he says. He's endlessly self-deprecating.)

We grabbed him walking across the parking lot, and he's here in the office looking at the big board with us for a while. Earlier today, he was at the expo, where, in his words, he got mobbed. "It's the first time I've ever been mobbed," he said.

The path he took a year ago was similar to the Classic path of Fralick, who had a so-so year on the Elite Series but qualified via the Southern Opens. Hartley said he fished from the same boat with Fralick in the Toyota Texas Bass Classic — "he's just a real class act" — and remembers Fralick being excited about fishing a particular spot on the Red.

"I knew he was confident at the Red River, and this place fishes that way," Hartley said. "You can have a favorite spot. Most places you have a favorite spot, and it kills you. You don't so much pattern-fish here as you hole-fish."

So Hartley's watching our live-if-unofficial leaderboard saying "c'mon, Jami" and hanging on every fish.

"Everyone loves the underdog," he said. "I really gave a lot of people hope in the last year that if I work really hard I could win the Bassmaster Classic even if I'm not a superstar, even if I'm not really talented."

We're looking at the big board and Fralick's down 5 pounds with roughly 45 minutes left to either find something new, to improvise, or to keep pounding the hole that brought him this far.

"I'm afraid Ike's going to win," Hartley says. "I think Jami's just run out of fish. I don't think the pressure got to him. It's just so hard to quit doing what got you in position to lead the Classic.

"You know what's in his head right now? 'I can't leave now. I'm all the way in. What if they bite in the last 45 minutes?'"

The other big question for Fralick is, what if they don't? Could be worse. He could wind up being the next Charlie Hartley.

Sam Eifling

2:16 p.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

It's 2:10 p.m. ET and it is wall to wall people again at the Expo. I'm at the Costa Del Mar booth, where the lady in charge at Costa said "Give it all away. We're not hauling anything home."

People are lined up across the Expo for a chance to win a pair of Costa Del Mar glasses, caps, and T-Shirts. It is way crazy. Upstairs in the tackle section, it's almost as crowded as it was yesterday, with periods of shoulder to shoulder people in the aisles.

Everybody who's anybody in the fishing business and not out on the Red River seems to be under the roof of the Convention Center.

Some of the legends of the sport, Jimmy Houston, Hank Parker, Larry Nixon. Most of the competitors that missed the Top 25 cut yesterday are in the house.

The biggest attraction, for obvious reasons, is KVD. Pretty amazing to see the throng that follows him from one booth to the next waiting in line for an autograph.

It's almost like he has a line attached to his body which he's pulling them along with. He hasn't missed the Top 25 cut on a Classic in a while, so the people here are taking advantage of his misfortune on the water in a big way.

These people are looking at stuff, buying stuff, getting autographs on the stuff that they're buying; it's crazy.

Quite a few are worried about getting to the CenturyTel Center early enough to make sure they get a seat, as they've heard it was a packed house yesterday. Bet it will be packed even earlier today than it was yesterday.

Kevin Short

2:16 p.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

Now is the time when you start thinking of all the possibilities.

I like a Skeet and Ike showdown. That would be pretty exciting, but I'm sure there are several folks below them who will want to have something to say about that.

Jami Fralick is the best example. He could make up a lot of ground really easily. Aaron Martens is another. He's really close and you don't finish second as much as he does without figuring out how to put together a good performance. Eventually that will pay off with a win.

Martens and Skeet at the moment may have the advantage. They have three hours left; Ike and Fralick have two. The bite is definitely turning on, heating up, so an extra hour becomes an big factor all of the sudden, especially with how slow the rest of the day has been.

That means Ike and Fralick may have to press a bit, but not over do it.

Larry Towell just called. He's the photog on Fralick. His report: "His last keeper bit him four times before he caught it."

Don't have enough time to delve into that. But there's two ways at looking at that. Fralick may need to slow down or things are getting ready to go his way, because getting a fish to bite four times and then catching it is special. Things have to be going your way.

It's hard enough for some of us to get one to bite the first time.

Steve Bowman

2:03 p.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

I should have been paying closer attention to the map. Alton Jones is building a really nice stringer, so I started looking for him.

Lo and behold, I found Alton and he's smack dab in the middle of the same little pond where Kelly Jordon sacked his big weight yesterday. Jordon caught two small dinks out of there this morning and left and went downstream.
Don't know when Alton slipped in there, but evidently his timing was pretty good.

A quick call to Ike's cameraman and the verification is he has somewhere between 19 and 20 pounds.

James Overstreet just called and Skeet just added a 4-pound fish to his livewell. That improves his weight to 54-14, just one ounce behind Ike.

This sucker is tightening up so fast we're going to need a jackhammer to loosen some of it.

Steve Bowman

1:50 p.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

That little earthquake/sonic boom you felt a few minutes ago was actually Iaconelli putting two 3-pound and one 4-pound bass in the boat in a span of about eight minutes.

That shot his weight up to about 19 pounds for the day and 52-15 overall.

If you are planning on listening to the weigh in, wear your ear plugs.

Ike has obviously figured out something and he's got it working.

Skeet, though, is still relatively close. Just a few pounds behind with 50-14.

Several others are making moves as well. Alton Jones has 18-8 to his credit and is in the top 10. Mike McClelland is in the 14-pound neighborhood.

Both of those are quickly becoming mathematically ineligible.

Steve Bowman

1:30 p.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

The better weights are really starting to show up all of a sudden.

Not much of that in the top five, but Mike McClelland just moved into 7th place with a 12-4 limit. And as soon as he does that, Alton Jones and Kenyon Hill have 15-6 and 15 pounds respectively.

Hill's weight has been helped by a 6-pound lunker. That fish bit at 1:15 p.m. EST. And during a 5-minute span several quality fish were brought to the scales.

It could be an interesting afternoon.

Steve Bowman

1:15 p.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

A lot of little things are happening, but nothing to really shake up the works.

Reese has upgraded a few ounces (11-1) and is still on top. Ike has 14 pounds and Aaron Martens has pushed up to 11-4. On down the leaderboard, Alton Jones has 11-10 while Terry Fitzpatrick has 11-15 and Grigsby has upgraded to 14-3.

The last two are probably out of the hunt for the title, but obviously there are some good stringers starting to be built.

McClelland just chimed in with 12-4.

The thing I keep thinking about is, how close are our estimates?

Skeet's weight has been notoriously low all week compared to what he's wound up weighing in. He's a typical bad mouther of his stringer. So, he could be heavier that what he's reporting. The same has been true for Fralick. I think there's no doubt Fralick has more work to do, but we have him at 7 pounds.

I have to expect that's a little heavier.

Then there's Ike. You never know what that boy is going to do. If we can get the info.

As it sets the top three are separated by two pounds, with a margin of error of four pounds.

All of these guys could be tied right now.

Steve Bowman

12:55 p.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

I just went online to check my fantasy team, pleased that I had two anglers — Skeet Reese and Kelly Jordon — in the current unofficial top four.

Then I checked the overall leaderboard and saw the team that the current fantasy leader, douglas_413, put together: Jami Fralick, Skeet Reese, Edwin Evers, Boyd Duckett and Mike Iaconelli. That's the top three Day Two finishers along with two former Classic champs, Duckett and Ike, who were in the top 10 and who both have moved up the unofficial standings today.

Clearly Mr. 413 spent wisely. He found the sleeper in the field — Fralick, without a doubt — and picked out four top-flight Elite Series pros while avoiding the most expensive angler on the board: Kevin VanDam, whom 70 percent of fantasy players picked up, only to watch him boat 4 pounds, 4 ounces on Day One. (The joke around our office was that KVD, figuring he'd already won one Classic there, ran all the way to Pittsburgh for his fish.)

As the unofficial board stands now, fourth-place Kelly Jordon and fifth-place Aaron Martens need only slip below sixth-place Duckett and seventh-place Evers for douglas_413's team to sweep the top positions. Consider it your fantasy subplot for the day, even if KVD, Rook, Roumbanis, Chapman and Kennedy already wiped out your own team.

Sam Eifling

12:47 p.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

So how much yelling do you think came form Ike when that 5-pounder came into the boat?

You know that boy didn't keep his mouth shut. But how loud do you reckon he really got?

Lot of folks hate that. As for me, I can't wait to see it. Hopefully only once, but I would like to at least look at when the tapes come in.

Looking at his track, he looks to be about ¼ of a mile from Bobby Lane, maybe a little further. Got to make a mental note to ask Bobby if he heard the commotion.

Meanwhile, Ike has taken over the lead for the day. Not the tournament but the day.

The heaviest weights look like this:

Ike: 14-0
Shaw Grigsby: 12-11
Skeet Reese: 10-12
Kenyon Hill: 10-0
Kelly Jordon: 8-9

Steve Bowman

12:45 p.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

I'm basically starting to write this segment of the blog because each time I start writing, something happens on the water.

Not a lot is changing, but you just know any minute someone is going to make one of those game-changing catches. It'd make things easier on this end if they did.

Looking at all these numbers is like looking at a jumbled pile of coat hangers and trying to figure out how they got that way without touching them.

From the BassCast, Fralick is being featured and reports are he just lost a nice one swimming a jig in lily pads. That's three on the day for him that we know of. We need more positive energy from that part of the river.
Nice to see Terry Fitzpatrick with a limit. They weigh in around 9-15 and he has moved into the top 10. Love to see a Federation Nation guy finish in the top five or six.

I'm at the end of this segment and the only thing that's changed and notable is Ike has caught and culled, pushing his weight up a few ounces to 10-pounds. He's in fifth place.

He's been notched down by Jordon who finished his limit and 8-9 on the day and 44-8 overall, good enough for third at the moment.

Thirty seconds later and Ike has just caught a 5-pounder, giving him 14 pounds and putting him in second place with 47-15. My pile of coat hangers is getting more confusing all the time.

Steve Bowman

12:15 p.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

Shaw Grigsby is putting on a little show of his own.

Some thought Grigsby wouldn't head back to Pool 3, but really he had no other choice. He caught 15 pounds down there on Day Two. He was pretty much out of a shot to win.

But if he stayed in Pool 4 or 5, he would have eventually been in someone's way. The gentlemanly thing to do is to get out of the way. So he kills two birds with one stone in in Pool 3. He's out of the way of the leading contingent, and he still gets to fish his butt off to move up the standings and hopefully make a few extra dollars.

Right now, he has the heaviest limit of the day at 12-11. Good enough to move from 25th place to 9th place at the moment and 37-13 overall.

Steve Bowman

12:10 p.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

Jami Fralick is starting to inch back up the leaderboard. He has four keepers (6-0) and a total of about 43-1. That puts him in second, four pounds and change off the lead.

That's not a whole lot of weight to make up in two fish. Fralick may be putting his heroics together.

The top five is separated by 6 pounds. That's one cast for each of them. As we approach mid-day you can normally expect that number of one-cast-away-from-winning anglers to decrease. But as this event continues to shape up, it looks like there could be more added to that list.

It would only take a couple more bites from Duckett and Evers and Snowden (who by the way has two fish (3-8) and they will be in the middle of the mix.

In years past, we've seen Classics won by ounces. They get the kudos for being the closest Classics ever, but it was always between two anglers. This one may be that close in terms of weight at the end of the day,
but in terms of who can still win, this has to be one of the closest ever. You can sit back and watch which fickle finger will touch which fateful angler and at what time.

One thing to note is Duckett has about the only 4-pound class fish reported. Like yesterday, those fish could start appearing later in the day. They will be the difference makers.

Steve Bowman

12:02 p.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

Jami Fralick is starting to inch back up the leaderboard. He has four keepers (6-0) and a total of about 43-1. That puts him in second, four pounds and change off the lead.

That's not a whole lot of weight to make up in two fish. Fralick may be putting his heroics together.

The top five is separated by 6 pounds. That's one cast for each of them. As we approach mid-day, you can normally expect that number of one-cast-away-from-winning anglers to decrease. But as this event continues to shape up, it looks like there could be more added to that list.

It would only take a couple more bites from Duckett and Evers and Snowden (who by the way has two fish (3-8) and they will be in the middle of the mix.

In years past, we've seen Classics won by ounces. They get the go-ahead for being the closest Classics ever. But they always dealt with two anglers. This one may be that close in terms of weight at the end of the day.

But in terms of who can still win, this has to be one of the closest ever. You can sit back and watch which fickle finger will touch which fateful angler and at what time.

One thing to note is Duckett has about the only 4-pound class fish reported. Like yesterday, those fish could start appearing later in the day. They will be the difference makers.

Steve Bowman

11:35 a.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

The first limits have finally hit the board, close to an hour past limits from the other two days.

The first one came from Skeet Reese. He now has 10-12 and 48-13, firmly on top of the leaderboard.

The second is from Iaconelli, who has 9 pounds and 42-15. He sits in third.

Martens has four, as does Jordon. They bookend Ike in the standings.

Noticeable goose eggs:

Snowden, but he's still trying to get his head in the game after breaking down and fishing out of a strange rig.

Dave Wolak — He's been hot in his little pond, and normally has a few catches.

Casey Ashley — He's been fishing close to the leader and put together the biggest sack of the event on Saturday.

Bobby Lane — This guy always catches something. He's also down there with Ashley.

There are more, but those guys stand out.

Steve Bowman

11:30 a.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

I've moved from the launch site to the Expo, which is being held at the Shreveport Convention Center.

Yesterday this place was pa-a-a-a-acked. For the better portion of the midday hours, the upper floor of the Convention Center was standing room only; it was seriously wall-to-wall bodies.

The upper floor is where the majority of the tackle and the sales are taking place, while the lower floor is primarily display, with Dick's Sporting Goods being the primary vendor. Some of the vendors even complained that there were too many people in the aisles. Good problem to have.

How many is too many? Turnstiles recorded approximately 16,000 entries in the first two hours with a daily total over 44,000.

At the Expo. We're not talking about the weigh-in, where they packed the house with an estimated 9,500. For those going to the weigh-in today, you better leave early to get a good seat.

I've spent each afternoon down here in various booths and the turnout has been amazing. Big part of that has to be the fact that a Classic has never been to this region of the country and there are a lot of people down here that love them some bass fishing.

Out in the parking lot, there are tons of Texas plates, Arkansas plates, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and naturally, Louisiana. Pretty strange; I've talked to more people here from Morrilton, Ark., than I thought even lived in Morrilton.

According to most of the fans I've visited with over the past two days, they came for the weekend. With the nearby casinos, the weigh-in at the nearby CenturyTel Center, and the plethora of hotels, Shreveport is a natural place to have an event such as the Classic.

Today looks to be another crowded day at the Expo, as the line was out the door and down the street shortly before the doors opened at 10. Crowded is good.

Kevin Short

11:20 a.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

Reese is keeping up the pace, but he hasn't turned up the heat, yet.

He now has four fish for about 8 pounds and overall total of 46-13. That's more than 4 pounds over Kelly Jordon, who now has four fish for 6-12 and 42-11 overall.

Duckett is third with two that weigh 6-5 and he has 40-4 total. Duckett, though, seems to have the big bass honors. His last fish was 4-5. That's the type fish that are needed for every angler in the top 10.

Fralick still has his one. But he's lost two fish at the boat, coming unbuttoned at the last second. From a weight standpoint, they were small enough to not hurt him. But lost fish is something that can work on your head in any event. It would work on my whole body in the Classic.

Fralick has been joined by Snowden, but the Snow Man is still fishless.

Iaconelli, though, has four for about 7 pounds and has moved to the third spot.

We don't know how that compares to the last two days. We've had nothing but trouble getting a signal out of Ike for two days. It's nice to have an eye in the sky on him at the moment.

And of course, as soon as all that is typed, Aaron Martens starts rattling his saber. He's caught four weighing 7-8 and has replaced Jordon in the number two spot.

The hop, skip and jump game is on.

Steve Bowman

10:54 a.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

Kelly Jordon has just left his hidey-hole and headed down river to the area he's been fishing the past two days and within sight of Skeet Reese.

He has to be a little worried. He had a limit by this time the last two days — 20 pounds on Day Two. He may have beat them up or the cold may have shut things down.

It will be interesting to see if he goes back or if the hole has dried up. One note on that is, he had three or four boats follow him to the area and just watch from a distance. When Jordon moved out, he quickly ran to another spot within Port Lake before heading down river.

He did all of that and hit the river before the camera boats and watchers were even able to get out of the first spot.

Catching is still slow. But it is picking up.

Boyd Duckett has two that weigh in around 6-5 and has moved him into second with 40-4. Reese is still on top.
Fralick, though, has boated his first keeper (1-8) and is in third. Jordon is fourth, Evers is fifth and Aaron Martens has added a second keeper (2-0 total) to sit in sixth.

Iaconelli has two (3-0 total) and is in seventh.

No one has made a huge jump yet. Which is good for Snowden. He's finally switched boats and is on his way to join Fralick in the Jungle.

Steve Bowman

10:27 a.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

Skeet Reese is on the board with a 2-pounder, putting him in the lead for the moment with 40-1.

Amend that to two fish totaling 4-5 and an overall total of 42-6.

I like it when I can't get through a paragraph without the leaderboard changing. That means things are heating up.

Reese is back in his ditch near where Duckett and Martens fared so well on Day One. Everyone else is in their established water or still heading there. Shaw Grigsby appears to be locking down one more time to Pool 3.

Jordon is in his hidey hole. Fralick and Casey Ashley are in their lily pad stems on the lower end of Pool 4.

And Aaron Martens, mid-way down Pool 5, has boated his first keeper (1-0) of the day, followed by Iaconelli, who just landed a 2-pounder.

Steve Bowman

10:20 a.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

Mark Davis has added a catch to his day (1-2). It helps, moves him from 9th to 7th place. But that isn't the type of fish Davis will need to keep moving up.

He weighed in the third largest bag of the tourney on Day Two (22-7). He's at the bottom of Pool 4 near the Jungle.

It's the same place he started yesterday.

Like yesterday, he started early and built to his final weight.

Steve Bowman

10:17 a.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

Wow. Hate to see anyone broke down first thing in the morning on their way to their first spot, especially in the Classic. Really hate to see that Snowden is the one having to float along and fish in an area where he has little confidence in catching the quality of fish he needs to win the tournament. Unfortunately, when you pass through those locks on a river system, you compound the effects of a mechanical issue dramatically. Instead of it taking minutes for a backup boat to get to you, it could take hours. Hours of time that are precious during an already short day.

While the anglers enjoy the benefits of having some of the best service crews available, it takes time to get a backup dropped in the water, motor the 15 miles down to the lock, get through the lock, and then down the river to where Snowden is stranded. While there is a ramp below Snowden, it would take as long, if not longer, to drive down, launch, and then motor upriver to Snowden's location.

Any way you look at it, it's a tough break for the Snow Man. Hopefully the Nitro crew can get him back in business shortly and the bite will be an afternoon thing.

Kevin Short

10:10 a.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

Yesterday, we reported that Timmy Horton missed the day because of a stomach ailment that put him in the hospital.

During the day, we tried to keep tabs on that. Horton is a great friend and we're worried about him.

In the course of that, we receive emails, many of which are just downright erroneous and mean-spirited. Take a look at the comments and you'll see what I mean.

We received one of those emails that had some scurrilous info in it, and Kyle Carter, my co-hort, immediately said we need to report exactly what's happening.

He did, writing that Horton was in the hospital. When he sent that info the original email was included with some not-so flattering info in it. We're moving at such a fast pace that our publishers are quickly copying and pasting info and then posting.

Somehow parts of the bad email was copied and pasted with Carter's info. We never report rumors of that ilk. Carter, a true journalist and gentleman, would never allow that. He didn't write what appeared for a few minutes in this blog.

We made a huge mistake by not paying close enough attention. I hate it for Carter.

Hate it more for Timmy and Melanie. They are such a fine Christian couple.

Personally, I'm praying that whatever is ailing Timmy will be healed and he can get back to doing what he's so good at being an exceptional husband, father and fisherman.

Steve Bowman

10:05 a.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

We've heard, and can see on BassTrakk, that Brian Snowden has stopped about a third of the way down Pool 4.

Reports are he has lower unit issues and is dead in the water. Fralick stopped briefly to help, then continued on down the pool. Snowden may be a victim of one of the perils of long runs and locking through on a river system.

It will take almost an hour for the BASS to get him a backup boat, which has be be launched, go through the lock and down the river approximately 10 miles.

That's an hour of precious fishing time. An hour for Snowden to fish out on the main river instead of the backwater area where the majority of his weight has come from. An hour to think about last year's Elite Series opener at the Harris Chain of Lakes, where he seemed to be running away from the field, up until the last day.

Fralick, by stopping to offer assistance, may have left the door open for Ashley and Evans to have a quick run through the area they've all been fishing.

Kevin Short

9:50 a.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

The catch rates remain subdued for the final day. At present only five keepers have been caught.

Two by Kelly Jordon that weigh 3-6 (I think I reported earlier that was one. My bad.) One by Evers, who is just now getting to his spot, one by Duckett and the other by Wirth.

Brian Snowden is broke down in Pool 4, either losing his lower unit or ruining his prop shaft. We will know more later. But it will be at least an hour before a replacement boat gets to him.

We will keep you posted on that. The morning bite, though, seems tough. So if you are going to break down, this may be the better of the options.

Steve Bowman

9:45 a.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

We can see on the BassTrakk that Fralick, Snowden, Evers, Davis, Ashley, Lane, Wolak, Iaconelli, Hill, Grigsby, and Jay Evans — almost half the field — are all through the lock and on their way down Pool Four to their areas.

A quick lock through today will give these guys a few extra minutes of fishing time in Pool 4, which, with the cool temps and bright bluebird skies could make a huge difference at the end of the day.

Will Shaw go all the way through Pool 4 to 3 like he did yesterday? Chances are good, since he spent the majority of his fishing time in that pool.

Evers, Wolak, and Ike, if they visit their most productive areas again, should be alone, except for spectators. Fralick, Snowden, Ashley, and Lane all fished for much of yesterday a.m. within sight of each other.

Should be interesting to see if they all four return to the same small area. Kind of like a Red River Shootout in the Jungle.

Kevin Short

9:36 a.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

From watching the GPS and catch rates from yesterday, then following it up with interviews of the top anglers, I think I can put together a trend of what took place yesterday.

On Day One, Duckett and Martens caught their fish in the very back ends of the pockets or places they were fishing.

They even mentioned the possibility of spawning activity going on. Then the weather started to change, getting cooler. Add to that a day full of spectator boats and competitors moving about and no doubt the fish started feeling some pressure.

They moved from those ultra-shallow areas to some of the classic pre-spawn type places. Looking at maps and GPS, a lot of these guys who caught the big sacks concentrated on the mouths of pockets, or in the case of Skeet Reese, a ditch, both of which are true transition areas.

Whether they were moving forward or moving back, only the fish really know. But they were moving. When Aaron Martens made his move during the day to his secondary area, he settled right into one of those areas and caught a limit pretty quickly that salvaged his day.

Duckett figured it out as did Reese and Evers. With the cold that is here now it will be interesting to see if they set up shop in those transition areas or move another step one way or the other.

Steve Bowman

9:21 a.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

The boats headed to Pool 4 are leaving the lock. We will be watching closely to see if Shaw Grigsby heads all the way to Pool 3 like he has the last two days.

Other things we will be paying attention to is the quality of fish. The 51 anglers yesterday caught the same number of fish on Day Two as they produced on Day One. But the weights of the overall catch went up 70 pounds, which translates to about a 5 percent growth spurt for each fish.

Maybe these guys are figuring out what's going on the water, or the changes that were created by the weather just made that happen. Things are definitely different today with bright skies and virtually no wind.

Boyd Duckett has caught his first keeper, which is actually a lot earlier than we he started producing on Day Two. It was 2 pounds and gives him a 35-15 total and puts him in fifth place at this time.

Steve Bowman

9:15 a.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

The anglers have been on the water for an hour and this is the quietest hour of the entire Classic.

We have yet to go thru any hour during any part of the day and not see someone boat a keeper. Some of that may be due to the fact there are half as many boats on the water.

But having watched the numbers tick away, most of those early catches were made by the top 25.

Five minutes later and Kelly Jordon starts to produce. He's boated a 3-6 in his little nook of water across from the water. His total is 39-5.

Kevin Wirth added a 1-pound fish, slipping up from 15th to 14th with 31-5 total.

Steve Bowman

8:25 a.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

Driving to the launch site this a.m., the temperature gauge in my truck dipped as low as 28 degrees. Brr. That's pretty cool for late February in northern Louisiana, especially after some of the warmer weather we saw earlier in the week.

Weather forecast for the day calls for sunny skies (check), a light northeast wind (got that), and highs in the upper 50's (we'll see). Similar conditions to what the anglers saw on Friday with two exceptions — wind and a frontal passage.

Unlike Friday, winds today are forecast to be 5 mph or less. Clear, shallow water and little or no wind on a river system like the Red are usually not a good combination. Couple that with the frontal passage that we saw last night and we have 3 days of totally different fishing conditions. Adjustment and attention to every bite will be keys to winning today.

This is not a day to revel in the moment. Not a day to let the cameras and the crowds get into your head. Day Three, especially this Day Three with its change of the weather, will be a day to hunker down and bear down. Without a doubt, this is Get 'R Done Day.

Kevin Short

8:15 a.m. ET

Unofficial Standings Page

The minutes before a final-day Classic take-off are always interesting.

There are 25 guys sitting in a boat, most of them bundled up beyond recognition, while thousands of fans mill about on land bundled up beyond recognition. A few of those throw out the occasional "Go (fill in the blank of their favorite angler)."

Some of the anglers hear the cheer despite the head wraps and the bustle going on around them. A few of them look as laid back as nuns in church; others are as nervous and confused as a nun on a honeymoon.

All of them are in some way thinking about their day and what it will take for them to pull off the heroics required for them to walk away a winner today. None of them are probably thinking about how that win will immeasurably change their life.

Right now the game is about catching the fish it will take to do that.

Our best guess is for the first time since the 1990 Classic, 10 or more anglers could pull it off on the final day. It's so often just a handful, more likely one or two, who have a chance.

The farthest a final-day angler has ever come from on the final day is 10th place and that was Rick Clunn on the James River in 1990. The year before Hank Parker did it from ninth place.

Ever since then you pretty much have to be in the top three or four. Most of the time, it's been the guy leading on Day Two and everyone else chasing him.

For some reason, the feeling is that won't be the case in this event. There's a lot of confidence in Jami Fralick, as there should be. But there's also some seasoned veterans who have been too close to the title before to let it get away easily.

The biggest question in our minds is if the weights of the event will go up or down and who they could go up or down for.

Fralick has been consistent, which is the way to win most events. Few others have had two great days back-to-back. If Skeet Reese, Edwin Evers, Kelly Jordon or anyone of the top 10 have great days today like they did yesterday, then Fralick's consistency may not amount to much.

If some of them have a Boyd Duckett moment, which they will, the entire thing could shift around.

The nice thing from our perspective is we only have to ferret through 25 anglers. And for the most part we will simply concentrate on the top 10. Hopefully, we will be able to step it up a notch with the information. Hopefully we can keep you informed as much as possible as soon as possible to the changes that are soon to start taking place.

Steve Bowman

8:05 a.m. ET

Day Three of the 39th Bassmaster Classic and I, for one, would not want to be Jami Fralick. Talk about a dude having a 5-foot diameter bullseye painted on the back of his head.

Where in the standings would you rather be going into the last day of the Classic? I'm thinking just a few pounds out of the lead would be a good place to be this a.m. and that is basically everyone in the Top 10. The pressure of being the lead dog, especially a dog that's never been in the lead in the Classic, would be a pretty heavy burden.

Fralick just might be the man who can get the job done under the microscope, though. He's always been a very even-keeled guy.

It will be interesting today to see how he and Snowden work through the area that they are both fishing. The two travel and work together on the Elite Series trail, so fishing the same water and sharing info throughout the course of the Classic is something they have done for years.

That friendship might be a factor in the outcome of this event. With the changing weather conditions today, one could figure out something the other might miss that would wind up helping them both. While Snowden is a little over 3 pounds back in 6th place, he has every chance to be the Classic Champion at the end of the day.

Breathing hard on the neck of Jami are Reese, Evers, Jordon, and Martens. Talk about a star-studded line up. Talk about a group of guys who have a burning desire to win.

For any of these four veterans, the Classic trophy at home on the mantle would be the perfect addition to an already illustrious career. This Classic may be a slugfest to the very last man.

Kevin Short

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