Chris Lane was making his second pass around the reed head where he'd just lost a giant. He told us the fish he lost was a 7- or 8-pounder.
"I've been good for two of those a day," Lane said, matter-of-factly.
Then he set the hook on another good fish, and managed to get this one in the boat.
"I'd just told my (marshal) where there's one, there's usually two or three," Lane said, after a lot of hooping and hollering subsided.
This one he estimated at five pounds, and it allowed him to cull a keeper-size bass. In other words, it was right at a four-pound cull.
"One more, one more," shouted Lane as he fired up his outboard to move a short distance.
It was a good way for James Overstreet and I to leave Lake Okeechobee for the day. Overstreet will have a full gallery of Lane-sanity later today.
For the first time today, Alton Jones is headed out of this little pond located in a cut just across from the Red River South Marina launch site. He told us only one of the two fish he caught at the opposite end of the pond helped him, and then only by maybe 1 ounce.
So Jones is headed out into Port Lake for the last 30 minutes with something less than 13 pounds in his livewells.
He has been buzzing a frog for the last hour and had one big fish chase it, but that's as close as he's come to a serious upgrade.
We're going back to the marina. The water has definitely risen since we came in this morning, as our exit is much easier than our entrance here.
"In three days of fishing, I haven't burned a quarter tank of gas," said Jones, as the marina came into view.
In three days on the Red River, I've never felt more stumps sliding along the hull of a bass boat.
Here's how our day has ended: Jones' Marshal, who shall remain nameless, just dropped his cell phone in the water. The air around the Red River has turned a bit blue.
Tim Horton has moved back to his original spot in White House, but it’s gotten a lot smaller since he was here last. There are now two other Nitros in here with Horton: Matt Reed idled to the back of this finger while Evers has taken the front. Evers is pitching a spinnerbait around the stumps, and we can’t tell what Matt Reed is doing. Back behind us is Todd Faircloth, who’s come through the lock and is trying to upgrade before he has to run in.
As he idled by us, Horton gestured with his hands indicating he needs a big fish to have a shot at the trophy and $500,000.
It's 2:41 and Chris Lane is leaving the backwater. He hasn't been particularly talkative the last few minutes -- he's not throwing in the towel but now things are out of his control.
Overstreet and I are heading back to Red River South to see if we rode the winning horse today.
Chris Lane clearly knows he's running out of time.
"I can't think of anything I'd change," he said.
Just then he set the hook violently -- but the fish was short.
"I need some last-minute heroics."
The Bassmaster Classic is on the line. Can you imagine what had to be going through his head this afternoon? How about the last 10 minutes?
Could you handle it?
Chris Lane just switched to a square-billed crankbait and almost immediately got a bite. The fish failed to hook up. The wind is howling now, probably the hardest it has been all week.
He's moving away from the downwind end of the pocket, where he keyed on windblown hyacinths. The other end isn't protected because it's so flat here. There's still plenty of cover to try. The water in this pond isn't dirty, but there's another one over a berm that looks gorgeous -- it is not accessible.
Tim Horton has finally made a small move. He’s gone outside of the area he’s been fishing and gone further back into White House. He’s now working down the center of another pocket throwing the same spinnerbait.
This is new territory, and may be just the change of scenery he needs. However, time is against him; he’s got maybe 45 minutes left to fish and needs a couple kickers to ensure a win.
John Diaco, Ott DeDoe and Steve Kennedy have all located bedding bass and are trying to catch then currently. Kennedy estimates his at 6 pounds, DeFoe's is 4 and Diaco's is 3.
None of them have had any luck. With about 15 minutes left to fish, they need to get these bass interested in a hurry. The bright skies have warmed the water and welcomed bass to the beds.
Greg Vinson is easing his way back to make the lock, so Cunningham and I are headed for the ramp. It's going to be a close one. Can't wait for the weigh-in.
James Overstreet is an animal when it comes to getting the shot.
Pete Robbins has sent in recent blogs saying he and JO got out of the boat and took a walk to see what was up with Chris Lane. They didn't dare try to boat in so took the terrestial route. That's dedication.
Pete sent us this photo of the Lowrance to show that Lane isn't even in a known waterway. What the backwater?
Here's another shot showing the area Lane is fishing.
Here's Pete's latest report, which came in while I was working this up:
Lane tells us he caught 4 fish in here and culled twice. He believes he has 12 or 13 pounds.
"It ain't enough," he lamented.
He needs to be back at the ramp in 52 minutes -- and there is still the issue of getting out of here.