4:35 p.m. ET
With the last post in mind, I'm hoping for the sake of my fantasy team that Rook and Hackney have much better than what we are showing.
For the sake of fun and sheer excitement, I hope the same thing for VanDam and Clunn.
I know those hopes, if realized, will knock someone out of the cut. I hate that part of it.
But hey, I'm a fan, too.
4:31 p.m. ET
The day is rapidly coming to a close. We have about 15 minutes for the first flight and another 30 for the second flight.
Something big could happen in that time, and I expect it will for someone. How important that is comes down to the luck of the draw.
Currently, our top 10 is exceptionally strong. But those are unofficial standings. There's a reason why we want to put an emphasis on "unofficial."
Each boat has an observer sitting in it. They estimate what they think each fish weighs and punch it into a push-to-talk device.
I've been in enough boats to know you can't get fishermen to agree on anything, most certainly the weight of a fish. A guy can catch a 3-pounder and one thinks it weighs 2 pounds, another thinks it weighs 4 pounds.
So you have to take these standings with a grain of salt. These are also electronic devices that answer to the whims of some unknown force. You know the one I'm talking about if you have ever experienced a dropped call on a cell phone. It happens.
Cell companies haven't figured that one out. I'm certainly not the guy who has the answers.
All that said, there could be a couple of anglers with a lot more than what we are showing. The guy is punching in the numbers and they simply aren't relaying.
Terry Fitzpatrick is a good example of that. We had him down for 6 pounds and change yesterday and he busts out with 18 pounds.
Similar things could happen today. So if you are rooting for someone and they aren't where you want them, keep the faith. Our inexact science is just that inexact.
Knowing all that and expecting someone got too much or too little credit, I still know that this as close to an estimate as you can have of the whole field.
There will be changes, some surprises, but for the most part, a lot of this is going to be pretty close.
We're going to sit here and continue to monitor these last few minutes. But the real part of this is getting ready to begin soon at the weigh-in.
4:10 p.m. ET
Iaconelli just checked in with 16 pounds, pushing his total to 31-5 and moving him into the top 10.
That makes that top 10 even more compelling.
Iaconelli, though, could be fudging a bit. The observer is punching in the keys but a few others say he could have as much as 19 pounds.
If that's the case, then we have one helluva horse race going on.
A little cloud just pushed over the launch and command center, adding a little drizzle and wind to the mix. Not much of it is showing on the radar, so it should pass by the time these guys start checking in.
But the weather forecast calls for clearing overnight and some real good cold temperatures in the morning. They are expected to be around 31. That will be followed by clear skies and mid-50 degree temps for the rest of the day.
Again, you don't know how the changes will impact the field or the fish, but they will have an impact one way or the other.
3:52 p.m. ET
Right now, we've got Matt Herren as having a straight-up zero. We're getting his constant location, which means if his observer is capable of putting numbers into a phone, we'd be getting them.
But you never know with this stuff.
Is anyone's fantasy team as bad as mine? I hate to keep hammering this point, but I'm having some real personal issues with what I'm seeing.
I've unofficially got my head buried in the sand and have unofficially been grinding my teeth all day.
I'm going to need some luck to get two guys in the cut and wouldn't be surprised if I didn't get any.
I keep trying to calm myself down, thinking, "What about them? They're trying their best. How much more important is this to them than it is to you?"
All very true, but it doesn't help. Not even a little.
3:46 p.m. ET
Michael Iaconelli has been off the grid all day. Mainly his fishing area is on the fringe of the coverage area. It happens. Ike, though, is now in the lock with the other anglers from Pool 4 and we're starting to catch up with him and the service.
Don't know what his weight is yet, but as soon as the water lifts up the boats in the lock we'll start getting that information.
Stay tuned. He may make a move in the standings.
3:45 p.m. ET
There are all kinds of weird rumors flying around, but we just called Timmy Horton, who dropped out of the competition today, to see how he was. He is at the ER and they don't know what's wrong, but they suspect it's a virus, food poisoning or kidney stones.
3:43 p.m. ET
Going into this Classic, we spend a lot of time writing stories, talking to anglers and investigating as much information as possible to try and get as close a handle on the Bassmaster Classic as you can get.
That's a lot like chasing your tail.
We all have our own thoughts and impressions, and if you play fantasy fishing then you have some specialized, even secret hopes.
But there was no doubt last week that this Classic was going to provide some of the most interesting sidebars and stories we've seen in a long time.
That's certainly been true so far. That top 10 we have right now is a good example of that, but looking all through the standings and listening to the whispers of the anglers, it's becoming apparent how compelling this Classic really will become.
At the moment, it looks as if there is no chance someone will blow this one out. The standings are too tight; the final day is never a slam dunk for the leader, unless you're Rick Clunn and it's 1984.
Obviously not going to happen here. And there's a lot going on. Take a look at the weights and you'll see by the totals how many 4- to 5-pound fish are in the mix. And they are spread out, almost evenly.
No one is really killing them and one really big fish could change the outcome. But that hasn't shown itself yet.
What has is how these guys are picking apart cover, dealing with spectators in sensitive areas, bumping boats with each and making tweaks and changes to their baits. The short end of it is the guy who is the best tactician, works the best strategy and keeps it all together will win this event.
We won't know who or what those special little things are until tomorrow. But for tournament aficionados it promises to be full of lessons.
3:31 p.m. ET
I know there is a chance the top 10 of the unofficial standings at the moment may not be what they are at the end of the day. But if you look at it, holy cow that's about as strong a top 10 as the Classic has had in years.
Skeet Reese, 2007 Angler of the Year
Kelly Jordon, the best big fish specialist on the tour
Dave Wolak, former Major champion and Rookie of the Year
Jami Fralick, no titles yet but he's quietly strong
Edwin Evers, a future everything including Classic champ and AOY
Aaron Martens, 2005 Angler of the Year
Boyd Duckett, Classic champion
Bobby Lane, Rookie of the Year
Brian Snowden, the best cold-water angler on the tour
Mike McClelland, the angler with the most wins on the Elite Series
Sneaking around below them is Mark Davis, who's won AOY and the Classic.
Ray Scott used to talk about Day Two being "cream" day, as in the cream always rises to the top.
We're seeing some of that right now.
3:24 p.m. ET
Kevin VanDam just put together the quietest 18 pounds in his Classic career. I thought if he got to 22 pounds total (he's at 22-8 unofficially) it would be enough, but it doesn't look like that will be the case.
If you consider Iaconelli is MIA and VanDam's in 27th right now, he's going to either need to upgrade or hope his BASSTrakk operator is a pessimist. It's going to come down to the weigh-in.
Even if they say he upgrades on BASSTrakk, when we say it's unofficial, we mean it. There was a 6-ound swing between Duckett and Rook at the weigh-in vs. BASSTrakk on Friday, so you never know.
But the fact that VanDam is starting at almost 20 pounds on Day Two and is in danger of missing the cut is baffling. Yesterday was unreal.
So, for the 70 percent of fantasy owners out there that paid the big dollar for KVD, there's still hope. Obviously no hope for a win, but a top 15 looks a lot better than 25th.
Also, Terry Fitzpatrick is 15th on the board, but our last contact from him was an hour ago.
3:11 p.m. ET
It's hard not to get Boyd Duckett out of the mind. He ruled the world yesterday with a 20-3 stringer. Today the world is leaving, at least for the moment. He has three keepers that weigh in at 5-12. (Of course that has changed since I typed it)
That is a huge shift and it doesn't come from someone you can take lightly. Duckett is strong in these type environments. He's proven in a relatively short time that he knows how to win, knows how to deal with pressure. And then you get a day like today.
Obviously, no one is immune to those type days.
That's an important statement to remember. Consistency is always a hallmark of winning but river systems are notorious for not allowing you to stay consistent.
Right now we have Skeet sitting atop the heap, followed by Kelly Jordon with a big sack and Dave Wolak with an above average weight.
The consistent weights are around that 14 and 15 pound mark, Considering that and Duckett that really opens up a lot of potential for several of these guys to make a move by tomorrow.
Five pounds out of the lead sounds like a big gap, don't even think about 7 pounds out in a normal Classic. But in this one, you can make a big move and it's obvious the river could help you out.
All of that said and Duckett just added to his weight. He finally boated a limit that weighs 10-10 and he sits in 7th place. One 5-pound fish and he could get close to owning the world again.
2:54 p.m. ET
Fishing the Classic is all about dreams. There are those who dream about fishing it, and those who fish it that dream about making magic.
That said, Skeet Reese is making some magic at the moment. He's boated a 5- and a 6-pound fish in the span of about 10 minutes. Catches like that do exactly what you dream about them doing. They rocket you to the top of the standings.
Reese is currently in the top position with a 21-pound stringer and has 36-8 overall.
You have to believe that something is happening not only on his spot (in the Cupples area) but also up and down the river.
A lot of guys are dreaming; several are praying for the 10-minute run that Skeet just put together.
2:44 p.m. ET
Edwin Evers is on a 3-pound flurry that could put him right in the mix of things. He caught his last one just a few minutes ago and has jumped into third place with 14-15 and 31-15 overall.
Add a 5-pounder on Skeet Reese's side and he moves into fourth with 16 pounds and 31-8 overall. And Hackney has finally made a showing. He has 10 pounds and is now sitting in 25th with 22-9.
The standings are finally shaping up and getting in an order that gives us an idea of what they should look like by the end of the day.
I'm certain there will be some changes and a few big fish that will actually impact who can win or not. But right now only the top 10 at this pace are in a position to win.
Still haven't heard much out of Rook since early this morning. He sits in 27th place with 3-8 pounds on the day and 21-3 overall.
2:34 p.m. ET
The leaderboard is spreading out.
After Friday, there were 16 anglers within five pounds of the lead. Now there are five.
And only four of the guys that were in the top 10 yesterday are still in the top 10. It's old man river — you don't want to screw with him.
2:29 p.m. ET
Past Classic champions have a rocky tournament thus far. Outside of Davis (and maybe Ike) they're all either close to or out of the cut. Here's how they've fished today and how they're currently standing:
Angler — today, standing
Rick Clunn — 5-13, 32nd place
Mark Davis — 16-0, 10th
Davy Hite — 3-2, 38th
Kevin VanDam — 13-12, 30th
Michael Iaconelli — who knows
Boyd Duckett — 2-12, 21st
Alton Jones — 7-14, 24th
What? You see VanDam? His last fish was a four pounder. Needs one more decent fish and he's in.
Speaking of the cut, if you take yesterday's cut weight (Hackney, 12-9), double it and subtract two, which is the usual formula, it comes to 23-3.
Unless there's a serious flurry of activity in the next two hours, it's going to be short. It's at 21-3 right now.
2:06 p.m. ET
Former Classic champion Mark Davis caught a 5-pounder and moved into 10th place with 16 pounds today.
That was his 11th bass, which is second only to Kelly Jordon, who's caught 14.
Dave Wolak just caught a couple decent bass and culled some 1-pounders, which moved him in front of Martens, unofficially.
This front hasn't made as much of an impact on the leaderboard as I thought it would, but the action is starting to pick up.
In other news, VanDam is six pounds out of the cut and he has 9-12 on three fish today. This seems like his kind of weather, and if he can add two more 3-pounders, who knows? If adds a 3 and a 5, he'll fish Sunday.
Scott Rook and Boyd Duckett are also flirting with the cut. That's right, Day One leader Boyd Duckett. This board has gone crazy today. That's what's great about a river it gives and it takes away, which keeps things real interesting.
1:43 p.m. ET
Dave Wolak has jumped into the top three. He just added a 3-pound class fish to his stringer, bringing his total to 14-8 for the day and 30-14 for the event.
Wolak was one of those guys who insisted he was seeing fish on the beds. He's in Pool 4.
Mark Davis has jumped up as well. He's now in eighth place with 16 pounds and 27-11 total. He still has a 1¾-pound bass to replace, so he could continue moving.
A few guys seem to be building, not at the rate we saw on Day One, but they are building.
The day's heavy weights are shaking out like this:
Kelly Jordon: 19-10
Bobby Lane: 16-10
Mark Davis: 16-0
Mike McClelland: 15-12
Jami Fralick: 14-8
Casey Ashley: 14-5
Brian Snowden: 14-2
Gary Klein: 13-10
Dave Wolak: 13-8
Greg Pugh: 12-6
Shaw Grigsby: 12-3
Aaron Martens: 11-12
Skeet Reese: 11-8
Terry Scroggins: 11-4
1:28 p.m. ET
Look out! Aaron Martens has made a big move in more ways than one.
He's left his primary area and boated straight across the river and promptly caught a limit that totals about 11-12. That gives him 29-13 and moves him to third. More than that, it probably gives him a whole lot of confidence.
Certainly, it takes away some of the butterflies.
I talked with Martens yesterday and he said he another area, but he didn't think he could catch more than 14 pounds out of it. He's not reached that total, but it will be interesting to see if he gets to that point or higher after making that move.
Jordon still leads with 35-4 and Fralick is third with 33-11. Bobby Lane is just an ounce behind Martens at 29-12.
Greg Pugh is starting to make some things happen. He was in 20th place going into the day with 14 pounds. He's not done that well today, but he's moving up the standings and sits in 9th right now with 26-6.
The interesting thing is he's caught almost 8 of his 12 pounds in the last hour and a half. He's fishing close to Duckett and Martens' old spot, but stuck way back in a little pond off of Shaw Lake.
He has it to himself, too. If he adds another couple of those 4-pound class fish, he could be sitting nice going into the third day.
Skeet Reese added 3 pounds to his total and has moved to eighth.
1:07 p.m. ET
One of the big unknowns on the leaderboard right now is Mike Iaconelli. He's black on the BASSTrakk, which means his cell is out of range and we're not getting any information.
He was so confident in his spot yesterday after the weigh-in, he was hinting at sandbagging (your favorite term) today with 18 pounds and bringing it home with a 20-plus pound day on Sunday.
Of course, it's nothing for an angler to exude confidence then come back talking about the weather or how the spawn stopped or he used the wrong bait, etc. But at this point we really don't know.
Mark Davis and Bill Lowen are also both in and out, but their information should be pretty solid. Matt Herren had been out most the day, but he turned green about half an hour ago and still shows zero fish today, which pretty much sucks for my fantasy team. Not knowing was a lot more fun.
Also, I talked to Brian Snowden before launch this morning and he said something pretty interesting about what it will take for one of the 15-pound Day One guys to get in contention.
Aside from the usual business about kicker fish and consistency, Snowden, who has 14-2 today, talked about the top coming to him.
"I know Boyd caught 20 pounds yesterday but he could just as easily zero today," he said. "You just never know what's going to happen."
Don't know if that's retrospective or not
12:55 p.m. ET
Rain is still coming down, but now it's raining pretty hard. Signal strength for a lot of these trackers is waning a bit, but we're still getting info from 95 percent of the field.
A quick check reveals that, of the top five, three of the anglers are in Pool 4: Fralick (Second, 33-11), Bobby Lane (Third, 29-12) and Brian Snowden (Fourth, 29-11).
Out of the top 20, though, only eight are in Pool 4. The rest are in Pool 5, including Jordon.
Shaw Grigsby is leading the contingent in Pool 3 (24th place, 20-4).
12:41 p.m. ET
It's rainy at the launch where we're holed up in our little command center. It's a cold rain, too.
Looking at the weather map, this front is moving west to east and is wide enough to eventually hit every angler in the field. Parts of it have yellow bands within it promising some heavier rain.
I'm not smart enough to know how exactly that will affect the field. Rick Clunn is probably loving it. The harsher the weather, the more he felt he had a chance at putting together a come back.
It will definitely change things, though. It could kick it in gear for some and shut it down for others who are already having a tougher bite than they were on Day One.
Kelly Jordon, by virtue of catching a limit early, may have made the best decision by staying close to do that. He's not caught a keeper since 10:18 a.m. EST.
He may not be trying to catch one, either. But a lot of these guys have been struggling during a time period that started producing big sacks on Day One.
Aaron Martens is one of those. He's finally on the board, catching a 1-8 at about 11:51 EST. That brings his total to 19-9, but he's still only in 23rd place.
Who knows if he's starting to figure out something or if that fish and his timing were perfect with the ensuing front?
This is the great thing about tournament fishing: the variables are so wide and complicated that you can never really know what will happen.
It's fun to talk about it, though.
12:20 p.m. ET
Judging by some of the comments below, there's a few people who are in fantasy land. Speaking of fantasy, let's delve into fantasy fishing.
In that game, having your angler catch a limit and make the cut today is important.
One of my guys is Gary Klein. He stunk up the place yesterday, but he has a limit today. They weigh 12-5 and have moved him out of the cellar into 30th place with 15-2. Chances are, he will have to smoke the big bass of the day to even scare the cutline. But a guy can hope.
Terry Scroggins, always a fantasy favorite, has a limit as well. They weigh around 10 pounds and he's sitting in 19th place.
The nice moves are coming from Shaw Grigsby. He has a limit from Pool 3 that weighs around 11-9 for a 20-4 total, and he's in danger of missing the cut.
The heaviest stringers for the day look like this:
Bobby Lane: 16-10
Mike McClelland: 15-12
Jami Fralick: 14-8
Casey Ashley: 14-5
Brian Snowden: 14-2
Gary Klein: 12-5
Shaw Grigsby: 11-9
Mark Davis: 11-8
12:06 p.m. ET
Jami Fralick is making a move. After getting nothing from him for most of the day, he's just checked in with a 12-pound limit. That puts him at 31-3 for the event and in second place. Of that stringer, he has one 4-pounder. Two in the 1-8 range and two in the 2-8 range.
A couple of good bites and he could steal some of Jordon's thunder real fast. Bobby Lane, who is in third, has upgraded to 16-10, and has 29-12 for a total.
All of that serves as a reminder that Pool 4 still can make some noise.
At the moment, there are nine limits, eight of those have come from Pool 4.
One thing that will certainly change things, according to Kevin Short, who just left the command center to head to the Expo, "it's pouring rain in Shreveport and appears to be headed that way."
That means Pool 5 could start having a little fun with keeping their equipment dry if it indeed moves across the area. But that could take quite some time to get to Pool 4.
11:56 a.m. ET
Terry Fitzpatrick has come awake. He's on the board with a limit totaling 8-15 and back in the top 10 at fourth place with 26-14.
He shares the top 10 with another Federation Nation winner, Bryan Schmidt, who is 9th place with 9-pounds on the day and 24-5 total.
The Federation Nation is representing.
Interesting to note that Roumbanis, Martens, Matt Herren, Alton Jones and Greg Hackney still haven't reported a keeper on the day.
I've got to believe there are some technical difficulties involved in some of that.
I mentioned earlier that it was raining. It lasted about as long as it took for me to write and get it published, which wasn't too long. Temps feel like they are in the 50s. It is mostly cloudy and, relative to yesterday, the number of fish catches seem to be way down.
I just talked with Wes Miller, our top cameraman, who is filming Boyd Duckett. He says there are a lot of spectators, but they are starting to spread out. Evidently, they are tired of watching Boyd not catch anything.
That could actually help, having some of the boat presence dissolve for a while. It's the same for Martens and Kevin Wirth, who are within sight of each other.
11:35 a.m. ET
It's 11:35 a.m. ET and we're seeing on the BassTrakk that Duckett only has one small keeper; Roumbanis and Martens have yet to boat a fish to put in the well?
You have to ask yourself what changed since yesterday? Is it the cloud cover? The spectator boats? Other competitors? For whatever reason, they're not making the correct adjustments at this time. They still have several hours to put it all together, but you know that clock is ticking in their heads right now.
All that weight on Day One and nothing in the box halfway through Day Two of the Classic. Not a good time to not be catching fish and don't think for a minute that isn't rolling through the back of each of the three's minds right now. Can any one of the three get it together the last half of the day?
11:25 a.m. ET
A couple of really interesting moves in the standings:
Brian Snowden has just finished his limit (12-0) and moved into third with 27-9 total. And Edwin Evers has four that weigh 8-13 and he's moved to fourth with 25-13.
Snowden spent part of his time near the Jungle on Day One and all of his time there today. That's in Pool 4. Evers is down there in that pool, too, and fishing close to Hackney.
Hackney is still at zero, as are Fralick and Iaconelli. The fickle finger of fate that decides who catches them and who doesn't may be shifting at least for the moment.
Casey Ashley, who is fishing near Fralick, has a limit totaling 14 pounds and has moved into the top 10.
Duckett is stuck at 10th place with his one keeper and Martens is still at zero.
11:15 a.m. ET
Mike McClelland just finished his limit; he has 8-8 for a two-day total of 22-8. He still needs to find the quality bites that have eluded him.
Right now, his biggest fish is 2-6, and if he expects to make a run at the title that tight-eyed sucker can't be in the live well at the end of the day.
Bobby Lane has made another jump. He's currently in second place with 14-11 on the day and 27-13 total. Schmidt is in third, McClelland's in fourth and Wolak is fifth. Duckett still has only one and is in sixth place.
Lane has the third limit of the day. Three of those are 3-pounders, so he still has to catch the bigger heads.
It's interesting that Fralick and Iaconelli have still not scored. They are in Pool 4 and near each other, so the black cloud moving through the area may have an impact on transfer of information.
Ish Monroe is in Pool 3, and he's all the way to Natchitoches. No catches yet, but he's far enough away that he could run into the same fate as Dustin Wilks on Day One, which means running out of gas before he ever gets back.
11:01 a.m. ET
Rook is on the board with a 2-pounder and I would say that is a legitimate 2-pounder. He was a little put out yesterday that his observer big-eyed his fish. I'm sure he's making certain that the weights are more accurate today.
"I'd catch a 4-pounder and he would ask, 'what is that a 5-pounder?'' Rook said. "I'd say, 'no it's a 4-pounder.'
"I have no idea how it got to be 20 pounds."
Of course, Rook only weighed in about 18 pounds. My guess is, if that observer wasn't estimating weights, he would be on the internet chattering about why someone can't guess the right weight of a fish.
10:59 a.m. ET
Bobby Lane has caught a little fire. He's in Pool 4 and has three keepers in the well. They weigh 6 pounds, and it's pushed him to about 11th place overall.
Jordon is still the only angler with a limit, but Schmidt, Chapman, Scroggins and McClelland have four apiece. They may have something figured out, but they still need to get bit by those 4- or 5-pounders if any of them want to figure into this deal by tomorrow.
My guess is at least one of them will figure out the process.
Jordon is keeping up his dominance. No move in his weight, but he's already sitting pretty. What's more, he's sitting basically off the map in a tiny little pond or slough that's almost indiscernible on the map.
He's basically about ¼ of a mile from the launch ramp, but you can't see him he's so hidden from the trees and brush on the far bank. He may have actually found himself one of those hidey holes.
While Jordon is in the catbird seat, many of these anglers are just trying to fight their way into the final 25. It's hard to say, but it should be around 22 pounds, maybe more.
We have a story, Three Questions, that gives some expectations from those fishing.
10:29 a.m. ET
Boyd Duckett has added a keeper to his string (1-5), but he's still behind Schmidt and Jordon and now Wolak.
Jordon is hanging tight in Port Lake. Schmidt is about halfway down river and across from Duckett. Wolak is in Pool 4 and just added a 3-8 to his stringer bringing his total to 22-6.
Fralick is scoreless, but Casey Ashley, who is fishing near him, has three fish weighing in at 9 pounds. That gives him 18-13 unofficially and moves him into the top 10 at 9th place.
And while I was typing all that, Jordon culled his 1-6 with a 5-10 and now has 19-10 for the day and 35-4 for the event. That's some powerful stuff right there. If it holds up, he just took the potential winning weight up a notch or two, knocking several guys out of contention.
In other news, KVD made a big change. He stayed in Pool 5 on Day One, but locked to Pool 4 on Day Two. He's started his day with a 3-8 keeper. He's fishing near Rook and Alton Jones.
And Shaw Grisgby is making the gamble with Ish, headed to Pool 3.
10:26 a.m. ET
One of the intricacies of the fishing game that we're seeing play out today is the mind game of fishing in a crowd. Several of the anglers near the top are fishing within eyesight of each other and other anglers who are down the leaderboard. On the other hand, there are a few guys at the top who have areas relatively to themselves. Almost like a tournament within a tournament.
We see Jordon and Martens looking at each other in one of the areas they are both fishing during the course of the day. Duckett is working through a maze of other competitors and he was the Day One leader. On the BassTrakk, we can see that the best areas along the river have clusters of competitor's boats, some of them in close quarters.
When we see these guys bumping rubrails, what really decides who is the better angler? Does Duckett have a better bait? Does Martens have some secret Left Coast rubber worm that Jordon doesn't have? When you're staring down the other guy, a la a Red River Standoff, does the guy with the strongest mental game come out on top? I'm sure that A-Mart would love to forget about last year's near miss on Falcon Lake, but hey, lesson learned, dude cracked a little bit on Day 4. He let Velvick get in his head and it threw him off his game. It'll be interesting to see if he can suck it up today and continue to produce.
In the close quarters situations that we're seeing, it truly becomes a thinking man's game. The angler who can watch the "other guy", take note of the cover that he's fishing, the baits he using, how many (and how big) he's catching, and adjust his own game accordingly may be on top at the end of the day. Duckett may very well be taking note of every fish that the other anglers catch (or don't catch) and adjusting his game better and faster than those around him.
On the other extremes are Iaconelli, Roumbanis, and Fralick. These guys are fishing pretty much by themselves or with only one other competitor within sight. They really don't have to worry about seeing the guy ahead of them in the standings catch a 5-pounder from the row of trees they were headed for. The loners can go out, fish their game, and hope they catch more than the competition. Unlike those fishing in the crowds, they have the luxury of totally taking an area apart without worrying about keeping other competitors away from what they may find as a "sweet spot". The thing they don't have is the feedback from seeing other anglers catch or not catch fish.
Almost like a game within a game.
10:23 a.m. ET
It's raining, at least at the launch ramp it's raining. Nothing hard, just a little drizzle, but the front that was expected is here.
Now we get to see how this will impact the tourney.
Expectations are that the front will likely solidify the power fishing patterns. But the biggest thing is, it might keep some of the spectators off the water.
All of the pros have been very complimentary about spectators in this event. River guys just seem to understand the sensitivities of shallow fish more than in some other places.
But not having a few extra boats out there crashing into stumps will have to help some body.
Meanwhile in action on the water, Ish Monroe is headed back to Pool 3. He took a gamble yesterday and lost, and the only way to come back from that is go all in.
Sounds like a good title for a fishing show or something.
The answer to whether or not any of the pros are using a jet drive is I don't know for certain. The only pro I know who has one to use at this event is Clunn, but I didn't notice if he was using it this morning or not.
We'll try to figure that out.
As far as catch rates go, the top 10 is shaking up a bit, but it comes from those 1- and 2-pound fish, which means unless some of the big heads start showing up, once Pool 4 starts catching them things will get back to the way they were.
Those guys are just settling in. Fralick has yet to catch anything, nor has Iaconelli. But Wolak has added a 1-8 to his total and he's in 8th place.
In Pool 5, Mark Davis just caught his first keeper, a 4-8. Five of those and he could be in the mix of things at the end of the day, but it would take five like that.
10 a.m. ET
Kelly Jordon just finished his limit with a 3-pounder that gives him about 15 pounds for the day and 31 pounds in the event.
If that holds, he's automatically in position to win this event tomorrow. Best guess it will take about 51 to 53 pounds and change. That obviously could go up if Duckett starts adding the heat.
Jordon, though, is way out in front at the moment. He has the first limit of the day and he still has a 1-6 in his livewell, so one toad could launch him even further and he has the time to do that.
He also went in the same area as Duckett and Martens yesterday and caught a 5-pounder. Right now he's still in sight of the ramp.
Bryan Schmidt, our Federation Nation Champion, has moved to second. You may recall that he led during these same hours of Day One, so he's back on catching track for Day Two. He's still got to catch the big ones, but the Federation with him and Fitzpatrick are making a showing.
Chapman is in fourth with four fish and 8 pounds for 21-5 total, and Dean Rojas is tied with him with 5-8 on the day with three fish.
9:48 a.m. ET
Brent Chapman is sneaking up the leaderboard. He has three fish that weigh around 6 pounds and has moved into third place below Boyd Duckett and ahead of Jami Fralick.
Chapman, though, has a long way to go. The guys headed to Pool 4 are still close to the lock and it won't be long before they start impacting the board. They make up about half of the top 10.
Skeet Reese, who is in the same general area as Duckett and Martens, has caught a 3-pounder and is now in fifth place with 18-8 total. He's another one of those guys who can get real sneaky and be right in the middle of things at the end of this thing.
Rojas and Schmidt have added 1-pounders to their mix, while McClelland has his first 2-pounder. None of those will help other than give them a little confidence.
I know McClelland has probably caught more keepers than anyone in the field and is totally confused on how he could go through so many fish and not boat any 4- to 5-pounders. If they start showing up, he could be in the mix as well.
9:37 a.m. ET
Another question, hopefully answered.
Most of these guys are using some sort of small creature bait like a Sweet Beaver or Brush Hawg around wood and some hyacinths. They are moving through water, utilizing their choice of a square-billed crankbait, banging it around and trying to catch the pre-spawners.
Some of these guys swear they're are bass on beds, so the creature baits or drop baits are being utilized more methodically.
But I don't think this will be a bait tournament in the sense that what they are throwing will be as important as where they are throwing it.
A lot of these top guys, like Fralick and Iaconelli, are concentrating on one spot and all of the top guys are very good at picking apart specific areas and utilizing a slow-moving piece of soft plastic or shallow crankbait.
9:27 a.m. ET
Maybe Rick Clunn is making a little move. He's boated his second keeper of the day, giving him 5-13 and 16-8 total.
That puts him in 12th, with a pretty hefty climb in front of him. One big difference from today over yesterday: he spent the first part of Day One in the back of Port Lake before he moved down river. Today, he took a left and went straight down river near the Caspiana Lake area.
That's one of those decisions we mentioned earlier. Clunn made an adjustment and thus far it has paid off.
Jordon still has an unofficial total of 12-5 and leads with 27-15. The smallest of those four is 1-6. He adds two of those heads and he'll be scaring the heck out of 20 pounds.
9:09 a.m. ET
Boyd Duckett and Aaron Martens are both in Shaw Lake or around there close. As a matter of fact, it looks like they are within eyesight of each other.
But that doesn't mean they can see each other. Both probably have a big contingent of spectator boats, so it's bound to be crowded.
Those folks are probably getting a good show. Not only are those two there, but so is Mike Burns, Skeet Reese, Kevin Wirth (all in the top 20) and a few others like Kotaro Kiriyama and Bernie Schultz.
Of that crew, only Pugh has boated a keeper (1 pound) to start the day.
Other catches to report: Brent Chapman (2 pounds), Terry Scroggins (1-8) and Todd Faircloth (1-0).
And Kelly Jordon, who has four fish for 12-5 and a 27-15 total. He's got a big lead at the moment, with Boyd still in second with 20-3.
9:05 a.m. ET
If you haven't checked out the comments at the bottom of the blog, you need to. Some pretty interesting comments from those who are taking the time to join in.
I see quite a few negative comments on coverage, ISP connection to ESPN360, and "sources." For all those flowing the negativity, here's a question what were you watching and/or reading 2 years ago? 4 years ago? 6?
How many remember when we had to wait for your local newspaper to bring us the results the next morning? If they even carried the story. To get the "inside scoop?" We had to wait for Bassmaster Magazine to come out the next month. That hasn't been too long ago. Now, we read the "scoop" literally minutes after it was scooped.
Six years ago, we could barely spell c-o-m-p-u-t-e-r and now we're talking back and forth on them while watching a web cam of the action.
Is the coverage perfect? No. Are we able to cover every single angler on the water? Nope. Are we way ahead of where we were in the past? In some ways, definitely yes and we're getting better with more coverage every year.
Don't like it? Wait until tomorrow morning and read about it in the newspaper.
9:00 a.m. ET
Love the comments, keep them coming.
Not much action on the water, so I'll take a moment and answer a few questions.
As to boats, there were no huge mishaps.
Fred Roumbanis bent his trolling motor shaft, which is easy to do in this area, and it makes it difficult to move around. That was easily fixed for Day Two.
Kevin Wirth piled enough mud into his intake that his motor overheated. Outside of that, most of these guys are real intent on taking care of their equipment on Day One.
Day Two they may take a few more chances and we'll see how that plays out.
As to some of the coverage questions: From someone who has covered every Classic since 1989 and almost every FLW Championship, you've got to be kidding.
No tournament coverage is perfect, but it's worlds apart from anything out there (although I hate that weigh-ins aren't being shown on this site) and it's certainly leaps and bounds ahead of anything we've seen in just a few short years.
Now back to the action. Rick Clunn is on the board for Day Two. He's started the day with a 3-pounder. Now, that's the Clunn we've all been looking for.
He's moved up to 21st. Wonder if we're on the verge of seeing another one of Clunn's classic Classic moves?
8:45 a.m. ET
Already a couple of compelling stories have come out of the morning. Basically, they came from yesterday, but I really didn't know them or comprehend them until this morning.
You have to like Terry Fitzpatrick, our leading Federation Nation qualifier. All of us root for the underdog every year, and it's simply impossible to not be rooting for this guy.
Part of that is a year ago he was laying in a hospital bed watching the Classic on television. Today he's in the mix of the biggest tournament of the year. He grew up on the Mississippi River and understands river systems. So, Day One was not a fluke.
Whether he can pull off this thing or not doesn't matter at this point. It's just awesome he's doing so well.
Then there's the leader, Boyd Ducket, who caught half his stringer on Day One on a LaserLure. That's the crankbait with a little blinking light that most of us would think is a gimmick on first glance. Wonder what those things will be selling for by the end of the event.
And lastly, Timmy Horton will not be competing on Day Two. He's come down with a bout of food poisoning and he's laid up for the day.
In early action on the board, Kelly Jordon has just started his day with a 5-pound, 6-ounce bass that pushes his total to 21 pounds and gives him a Day Two lead for the moment.
Jordon, like yesterday, hasn't gone very far and is within sight of the take-off area. At the moment. The only other catch of the day is from Brent Chapman, who boated a 2-pounder and has moved into the top 20.
8:30 a.m. ET
Looking at the weights from Day One of the 39th Classic, it's almost as interesting to see who didn't catch them as to see who did.
Top of the list? The Man himself, God Incarnate on the Bass Waters, Mr. Kevin VanDam. And how 'bout those Fantasy Teams for the 70 percent who picked The Man? Oops. I'm just gonna take a guess that Kevin is pretty pissed as he heads out today. Mad KVD is not a good KVD to have behind you in the standings, even if he is close to the bottom of the chart.
Dustin Wilks Dustin is one of those guys who seldom challenges for the lead in any event, but he's always Mr. Consistent. Even with the Classic being a winner-take-all event, I was surprised to see him come in with only one fish. He was probably surprised when he didn't make it back on time to the dock. Wonder if he was surprised when he ran out of gas? Sometimes you have to take a big risk to get the big reward. Maybe a smart move by Dustin to gamble on the long run away from the pressure and the crowds. Too bad it didn't play out for him.
Rick Clunn With 10 pounds in the box, I haven't crossed The Master off my list just yet. The Classic is a 3 day event and Clunn has today to put all that brain-iac power to work and figure out how to catch the bigger fish that he is more than likely floating over. Who in the field has won more Classics? No one. Who knows better how to win this thing? Maybe KVD. It ain't over yet for Clunn.
The Hack The leader of my Fantasy team is holding down the Top 25 cut position after Day One. Not where I wanted him to be. Not where he wanted to be, I'm sure. With 12-9, he's not entirely out of the picture, but today will definitely need to be the day that he steps it up big time.
8:15 a.m. ET
We just finished playing the National Anthem and boats are starting to pull away from the dock.
The second day is getting underway and answers to a series of questions will soon start to form.
One of those will be where some of these guys will start their day. That seems easy, but in some ways that little decision could have a big impact on today.
Just as an example, look down the list of the standings and you have about eight anglers who are in a good position to win this event and a total of 17 who have a mathematical chance at putting together a winning run.
That leaves 34 anglers who are fighting for a chance to make the cut, while trying their best to not get in the way of the others. Several of those will abandon their primary places from yesterday, others might have the luxury of having water to themselves.
It's probably a good bet that no one will make the long trip to Pool 3. It could happen but that's even more a shot in the dark than it was a day ago.
Then you have anglers like Aaron Martens who has been wrestling with how to approach his day. The best way to explain it is he is fishing in an area that has an easily accessible outside edge and not-so easily accessible inside area.
He caught his best fish on Day One on the outside, but there are more fish on the inside. He's dealing with spectators who are following him, and the knowledge that Kelly Jordon caught a 5-pounder in the same outside area.
"I'd like to go inside, but if I do and Kelly shows up he could sack them," Martens said.
The whole idea of protecting you water and getting the job done is something each one of these guys is wrestling with this morning.
It's a well-known fact that you can't win the Classic on Day One, but you can lose it. The progression of that is Day Two is the day where you have to produce if you expect to win. Of those 17 who have a shot, chances are only half, possibly less, will be in a realistic position to win after today.
Day Three is full of pressure for those few. Day Two is full of pressure for everyone.
Click here to pick a fantasy team for the Bassmaster Classic.