While most of the Top 49 are fishing backwaters, grassbeds and clean water, river rats like Stephen Browning march to a different tune.
We found him cranking main channel riprap, and his rod quickly loaded up with a heavy fish. His smile turned to a frown, though, as he realized it was a drum.
He says he's caught quite a few, but he only has one in the livewell because he is fishing the Minnesota side of the river where culling isn't legal.
"I'm only putting them in the box if they're 2 1/2 or better, and that's a hard thing to do!" he says after he boats and releases a keeper smallmouth that weighs about 2 pounds.
The rules are always a complicating factor in these tournaments, and Browning must feel like the quality is there if he's dumping keeper fish.