Wind is blowing a steady 15 miles per hout now and the only-recently cleared water is getting dirty again.
Poche has gotten a few bites. But between the wind and the bountiful stumps, footing requires a bit more concentration.
More than one angler has told me they've almost gone over out here and having someone else in the boat ain't necessarily a bad thing.
Remarkable to see a young former Division 1 football player like Keith have to catch himself every now and then.
Browning is still cranking around an oxbow off of Pool 4, while we found Josh Polfer nearby playing with what we assume was a bedding bass.
Polfer caught a small fish from the area, then hung around throwing a bright green wacky worm back into the bed. Yerger says that he's caught several 20-plus-pound winning stringers from the area Polfer is fishing.
Apologies to Yerger for misspelling his name previously.
Ott DeFoe mentioned Tuesday about having to find a few places to "hunker down" on the Red River for this event.
"You can't do a bunch of running around," DeFoe said. "This isn't a place where you fish one place for an hour, then run somewhere else and fish for 30 minutes, then run some place else."
But you really can't appreciate those remarks until you take a boat ride into the Red River backwaters. There are plenty of visible tree stumps, but there are just as many or more just under the water surface. There's a definite mud line you cross as you ride the stumps into the clearer backwaters. But there's no way to get there quickly. It's like a slow motion bumper car ride.
Only after one of these boating adventures can you understand the importance of "hunker down" places.
"You're going to have to really pick it apart," DeFoe said. "Go through it with one bait, then go back through it with another bait, then go back again with another bait."
Having a dozen places that are holding fish simply won't do you any good here.
"You're only going to be able to fish two, three at the most," DeFoe said.
Gerald Swindle is accustomed to going against the grain. He's got a little of that in his game plan this week.
One of the expected trends is to search out and find clean water. Leading up to this event, the weather was a bit unstable, leaving a large part of the river system rolling in red mud. The backwaters have the cleaner water the further you get off the river. In between is a variety of muddy to stained water, where few are settling.
We had the opportunity to sit with Swindle yesterday and he explained a little of his game plan with us.
You can see part of that conversation here:
David Walker is having a tough morning.
He's in the process of putting a new transducer on his trolling motor to replace one he knocked off. It's his second mechanical interlude of the day. He bent a prop on his first run of the morning and had to pull over to the bank to swap it out.
When he stopped to work on his gear, the inside of his storage box contained a big show of fan support -- a pink sign emblazoned with the simple slogan "Go Daddy!"
My boat driver and Red River stick Beaux Yearger and I are in Pool 4, roughly 25 minutes south of Lock 5.
We saw 15 boats coming through this morning, most all of which were en route to Sullivan's and the other ponds off the Red. However, Kevin VanDam was creeping along at 57 MPH, making Yearger think he's saving gas to head to Pool 3.
We caught up with Fletcher Shryock who is looking for a bite in the Wagon Wheel area. "I'm now hoping I don't get bit in here," he said. If he did, he'd have to consider the area. Fortunately, he didn't get a nibble and headed to Sullivan's.
Stephen Browning is further down the river cranking in a backwater. The water temperature here is 55.8, but it's a lot clearer. Yearger expects fish to be pushing toward shallow water in anticipation for the spawn.
John Crews promised his 4-year old daughter that if he wins she'll get a giant inflatable delivered to their yard for a week.
She requested a "castle with windows" and he agreed.
Seems a small price to pay for Classic glory -- I'm sure there are 48 other anglers who would be willing to rent the Crews family the same thing in exchange for a victory.
Keith Poche has locked through to Pool 4 and now we've entered a good sized cut-off lake.
Poche says the water temp is almost 8 degrees warmer than in earlier practice days . It's also cleared considerably.
He is concentrating on stumps in a fairly shallow flat. He throws at one stump for 12 minutes.
I think he definitely has established a hierarchy of stumps in this lake and this one is a favorite. It's submerged and he says the fish are on it, maybe even want to spawn there .
He tells me it can take many many casts at one target to get a bite. Judging time and weighing probabilities is the age-old tournament challenge. At the Classic it just seems a whole lot more crucial.
Shaw Grigsby didn't run far to begin his last practice day, and he liked what he saw when he got there.
"The water temperature is warming up quick," Grigsby said. "It's about to get to that point where it's pretty special."
Grigsby said he was fishing 57- and 58-degree water at the end of the day on Sunday. The water temperature he found first thing Wednesday morning was in the same range. And with air temperatures expected to reach 70 degrees today, the water temp will continue to rise.
Mark Tucker may be the most relaxed man in the field.
As we photographed him he started up a conversation and trolling motored over to us to talk about the tournament. He's fished six or seven events here but won't be making the run to his favorite water in Pool 3.
He might do it against a lesser field, he said, but with this field the short fishing day that resulted would be a death sentence.