If you didn't know any better, you'd think Dustin Wilks is doing his best to polish the top of every stump on the west side of McDade.
"I've been hung up more today than in an hour than I've been all week," he said.
We half expect Aaron Martens to show up here soon; BASSTrakk has him with one fish, and he knows better than we do that McDade is loaded.
Chris Lane has asked us not to get closer than about 75 yards. It's shallow back here and obvious that the boat traffic muddies up the water. Even unmolested it wouldn't be as clear as McDade.
The action has been slow. Water temp gauge in this boat reads 57.8, and the sun is strong today so the afternoon bite could be key.
Reed and Lane have swapped banks. Lowen is slowly working down a third stretch.
There are pad stems all over the cut Bobby Lane is fishing, but he stays keyed in on a particular series of them. There is a thicker stretch of pad stems about 20 yards off the shore. Lane is positioning himself between that stretch and the bank, casting to both sides of the boat with a spinnerbait and then flipping the thicker shoreline cover, a mix of pad stems and vegetation.
He fished in and out down the north bank and now pulls up the trolling motor to make a move. He's idling through the pad stems, surprisingly not hitting any stumps. We must have left the jungle and made it to the savanna, with high grasses everywhere.
Lane heads to the pocket closer to where Vinson is currently. He's far away, so I can't tell how thick the pad stems are, but I can see he's picked up the spinnerbait and he's back to tossing it around.
Greg Vinson is covering some new water this morning. Same spot as the previous two days, but he worked farther down the north bank than I've seen him fish before today.
He has put down the Power-Poles twice so far to work on bedding fish. Now he's using a push pole to move the boat. Right now, Vinson is slowly working the boat into position with the pole. He hasn't even touched his rod in two or three minutes.
When he really locks in on these bedding fish, Vinson pulls on his hooded Yamaha sweatshirt to shield his eyes from the sun.
I can't accurately describe just how calm and collected Vinson appears to be. Did someone give him a Xanax this morning?
Our boat driver must've hit something particularly bad, because the boat is taking on water slightly faster than it can pump it out. Overstreet and I are now orphans --- we've moved to a crowded boat while we wait for another ride.
We talked to the TV cameraman on Chris Lane via telephone. He said it appears the tournament leader is pitching a black and blue creature bait.
We just saw Chris Lane catch a small keeper, shove it in the livewell and get back to pitching in just a few seconds. We're trying to get closer.
Within a minute of Chris Lane's catch, both Lowen and Reed put fish in their boats.
We are sitting in about 4 feet of water out at the entrance to this small rectangular-shaped cut. There appears to be a small channel through the pad stems that Bobby Lane worked his way through to get to the back.
One of the spectator boats followed Lane yesterday too. He said there is a 20-yard stretch of water where Lane has caught all his fish. Lane will catch one and then back off, let it rest and return to catch one later. Right now, he hasn't had a bite, prime stretch or not.
Part of that might have to do with the barometric pressure. Henry Jolly, our camera boat driver, has a handy tool on his electronics that shows the pressure and yesterday during the afternoon flurry, the pressure was steadily dropping. Today, the pressure was rising all morning and now it's holding steady.
Or maybe it's the moon phase. Jolly told me that today is the worst time of the month to fish, judging by the lunar calendar. That caused some dissension in the boat, as Eric then argued insistently that moon plays no effect on the fishing. It was experienced Jolly versus scientific Pinter and they any back and forth for a good 15 minutes. Finally, Eric conceded the light from the moon might have an effect, but he still doubted any gravitational influence.
What do you think?
I just wanted them to stop yapping so I could do some blogging in peace.
It's been exactly one hour and Lane hasn't got a bite.
It seems that the Red River has claimed another victim. A camera boat operator was screaming out of the Bee Hive – the area Chris Lane is fishing – and busted up the lower unit on a stump. The owner of the Legend in question? Elite Series pro Jason Quinn (his boat is here on behalf of Quinn's main sponsor, Evan Williams Bourbon).
After limping to the service yard, the Mercury service crew had another one bolted up in no time. All the service crews are amazingly efficient and good at what they do. Any angler will tell you the same thing. Plus, they know their way around a Big Green Egg.
Back to McDade: Dustin Wilks is cruising the area he’s been milking all week with the same small crankbait. But if that quits working, he’s not afraid to get weird and toss a buzzbait. There’s a slight chop on the water, which Wilks says is good for his fishing. His little crankbait just landed him another keeper.
DeFoe is now retracing his steps and heading back up the bank he came down.
The spectators who beat us here report that they've seen Bill Lowen catch a couple of fish, but none for Chris Lane -- he's worked back and forth down this bank three times. The competitors are spread out, unlike Day One when Lane and Marty Robinson put their Power-Poles down with their boats touching.
Here’s a photo of a 4-pounder from Steve Reneau who is Stephen Browning’s Marshal. We’re crunching the data now, but it feels like we’re getting larger fish earlier in the day than we have on days one and two. This is setting up to be the best day of fishing.
Timmy Horton already has a 15-plus pound limit, which is easily the best limit we've seen by 9:32 a.m. all week.