We followed Rojas as he made a couple of quick stops on the points of some rock islands at the bottom of Pool 8. He caught what looked like a couple of shorts but pulled back into a long cut. We didn't want to disturb his fishing, so we're going to go look for 9th place Big Show Terry Scroggins and 7th place Cliff Prince.
It's a long idle back to where they are fishing, in a huge expanse of slop just north of Stoddard.
Scroggins had one when we got in here, but he just shouted, "Y'all must be good luck" because since we've been watching him he's put three more in the boat, including a 3-pounder.
Prince is working the far end of the mat, so I'll update on his progress once we get closer and are able to talk to him.
Aaron Martens moved toward the back of the Black River mouth, where he started this morning, after Mark Zona left his boat. He promptly put his fifth bass in the livewell; this one came on the big flutter spoon. It was another small keeper.
Then Martens caught another one, this one in the 2 1/4-pound range, which allowed him to cull one of the 2-pounders in his box. Martens probably has 10 pounds now.
You aren't allowed to use a fly rod in B.A.S.S. tournaments; otherwise, you might see some guys whipping them out today. There's a huge mayfly hatch going on in a wide area of the Mississippi River this morning. Huge as in numbers, and huge as in size of the individual mayflies.
There was a solid layer of squished mayflies lining the sidewalk at the convenience store we stopped in on the way to the launch.
Aaron Martens has been watching bass coming to the surface to sip off the big aquatic insects.
For those of you that don't know, mayflies lay their eggs over water. As they hatch, the insects come to the surface and spread their wings until they're dry enough to fly. Sometimes it takes several attempts, and the mayflies kind of hop along the surface, which is tempting to any fish, especially as big as these bugs are.
Back to the matter at hand, Martens' action has slowed a bit. He's still seeing plenty of fish on his sonar. He just shed The Bassmasters TV Host Mark Zona from his boat, something that seemed to help Brent Chapman significantly on the Sunday of his win at Toledo Bend.
We'll see what Zona's exit does for Martens now.
Faircloth just caught fish No. 5, a 3-pounder. So he has a limit by 7:43 a.m. That gives him an unofficial total of 12.4 pounds. A nice way to start the day.
Before I finish typing this, Aaron Martens is certain to catch another bass. He's caught nine so far this morning and has four in the livewell that weigh maybe 7 pounds.
The problem has been the fact that they're almost all the same size. He's got one 2 1/2-pounder, and everything else, whether he kept it or not, has been under 2 pounds.
Martens is pretty much dialed in on the drop shot/Roboworm combination right now, looking at the fish on his sonar, then putting the lure in front of them.
As predicted, Martens just caught another bass — and threw it back.
The more things change .... Seven of the anglers fishing today (the Top 12) were in the Top 12 after the first day and 11 were in the Top 12 after Day 2. Just goes to show you that big leaps in the leaderboard don't happen when the fishing's good (nearly everyone has a limit) and the bass are relatively small (just two more than 5 pounds).
And don't expect any big moves today, either. Even though 3 pounds separates first from seventh place, this race is between the top couple of anglers. In Elite Series history, no one has ever come back from lower than sixth place to win on the final day. The Day 3 leader goes on to win 65 percent of the time. One of the Top 2 anglers wins 84 percent of the time. That's good news for Todd Faircloth and Aaron Martens.
Martens has moved back out near the mouth of this cut and is making longer casts now with the swimbait.
From Zona: The key depth here is 9 feet on a featureless sand bottom. Still two fish in the livewell, just under 4 pounds. Aaron says things are real quiet right now "but they will start biting."
Looks like Dean Rojas is moving. He said this morning he was only going to give his first spot about an hour before heading back to his primary area.
He has a 3-pounder in the box, so it would seem that it was a good idea to start somewhere else this morning.
We are going to follow Rojas as he heads to his second spot.
The sun came out and Faircloth caught fish Nos. 3 and 4. Both keepers. Our unofficial estimate is that he has 9 pounds, 4 ounces in his livewell. That includes a 2-pounder, 2.8, 2.4 and 2.8.
Faircloth is getting comfortable, taking clothes off.
It's time for breakfast in our boat. Here's TJ eating a honey bun.
Aaron Martens just caught a 2 1/2-pounder in the method you would expect from him - drop shotting a Roboworm. But he's been throwing everything except the kitchen sink at them so far this morning, including a big flutter spoon and a Basstrix swimbait.
That gives him three in the livewell for a total of about 6 1/2 pounds.