Wild start to Day Three


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DEL RIO, Texas  As anglers launched to yet another windy, cloudy morning on Day Three of the Optima Batteries Battle On The Border, most were thinking about the type of adjustments they would have to make as the weather changes.

One man, tournament leader Gary Klein, seemed unconcerned with everything except getting a chance to go back out and catch his fish.

"I'm committed to doing what I'm doing," Klein said. "We've got clearing skies, something I've been looking forward to this week. That would make my fish more predictable."

Considering he leads the field by over 7 pounds after two days, another day of predictable fish just might make his lead insurmountable.

The rest of the field were challenged upon finding tournament conditions completely different from practice. Those anglers that saw the cold front moving in and prepared for it flourished, while some anglers were caught off guard.

"I didn't know this change was coming and I probably fished my pattern for too long," Gerald Swindle said. "That cold north wind came in and the fish were just gone from the shallows. I ran my pattern on Day One for 5-6 hours and didn't stray, but when I was done, I knew I didn't need to go back."

Swindle ditched his shallow water bite and moved out deep to fish with a big jig and was able to adjust, catching 30 pounds, 11 ounces over the first two days and entered Day Three in 26th place.

John Murray saw the forecast and factored that into his game plan, finding slightly deeper areas near the spawning ground that the fish were occupying during practice. Then the cold front brought the fish right to him, helping him to his ninth-place standing with 39 pounds, 10 ounces.

"What helped was that I knew from the past here on Amistad that if it isn't sunny and warm, those fish just won't stay shallow," Murray said.

Mark Menendez, currently in 35th with 28 pounds, 7 ounces, echoed Murray's feelings about the sun helping the fish to bite.

"These clear-water fish are more used to feeding with their eyes," Menendez said. "Some sun should really help the fishing. Up until this point, the weather really cut the weights down."

Anglers should expect some help from the sun over the final two days of competition. Saturday's forecast calls for partly sunny skies with a high in the mid-60s, while Sunday's skies should gradually start to clear with temperatures approaching the mid-70s.

For Bobby Lane, that just might not come soon enough to really make a positive impact on the shallow-water bite.

"Maybe Monday, when the tournament is over, I could go back out and whack them," Lane said. "We really needed the sun to come back out on Friday and temperatures to start rising before those fish will come back up and start thinking about spawning again."

With weights as closely packed as they are, only the weigh-in will tell the true story. Coverage starts at 4:15 p.m. ET Saturday with "Ask The Experts," followed by the Day Three weigh-in at 5:00 p.m. ET on ESPN 360 and Bassmaster.com.

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