Aside from my recent case of blogger's thumb, the events developing on the water have proven to be pretty interesting. A case can be made that sight fishing will win this event.
Both Davy Hite and Keith Poche are mixing power fishing with looking at them. In both cases, the anglers were unable to boat a large bass and Poche will likely surrender his lead, perhaps he even cost himself a chance to win.
Because it was there within his grasp.
Twice today, Poche set up on a big bass near a stump and twice the fish pulled off after Poche briefly got a hook in her. He returned a few times after that and either she was gone or very skittish.
Both Poche and Hite locked down on a different bass that Hite hinted could be in the 7-pound range. Both set the hook a few times but never connected.
All that to say, the potential for a huge bag exists in their little pond. A shallow stumpy entrance separated by some filtering weeds has made the clarity near perfect. The water temperatures are into the low 60s in the afternoon and quality fish are cruising and locking onto beds. By no means have they exhausted the pond.
Most productive for these guys has been their covering water in between looking for beds. In fact, that's how we saw most of the fish caught. A 10- to 12-pound limit should be easy to come by. The challenge is getting a big bedding fish to bite. Tomorrow, those will change the leaderboard in a hurry if these two can catch one or more.
Conditions will be about the same and should set up for sight fishing to excel. Poche needs to wipe the slate clean and land those big fish. Let the ghosts haunt you tonight, but wake up refreshed and intense in the morning. For Hite, he just needs to generate bigger bites, more specifically, the 7-pounder he left sitting near a stump today. His 13 pounds yesterday and similar bag today, while respectable, just won't cut it in this first-or-last format.
If I learned anything today, it was the fickle nature of the Red River and the heavy burden a Classic Leader bears. I saw Poche on the water - he just wasn't the same laughing, joking angler I've seen in tournaments past. It's not easy knowing you have a chance to change your life: if I just caught that bed fish, if I didn't lose that fish on the log... If. If. If. All that matters is what hits those scales tonight and tomorrow.
It's far from over. If Hite or Poche can catch that big largemouth tomorrow, they could make a run at this thing. If.