The overcast conditions this morning haven't seemed to affect the fish for Jamie Horton; he has boated two keepers in the last five minutes.
The first was about 2 1/2 pounds and fell for a jig. The second ate a frog but was just barely legal.
As I was typing this, Rojas hooked up with about a 3-pound class fish on Kermit, so he's on the board as well.
B.A.S.S. photographer Darren Jacobson got some great shots of Horton's frog fish blowing the bait up. Be sure to check out the morning gallery once it's up on Bassmaster.com.
After a little bit of a search, we located both fourth-place Dean Rojas and fifth-place Jamie Horton sharing the same backwater area at the very bottom of Pool 8.
The backwater is about 30 or 40 acres, and is ringed with matted vegetation. Both anglers are throwing frogs.
There are about 10 spectator boats in here with them. So far, the only fish catch was by Rojas, but it was a short.
We'll see what happens.
Aaron Martens is already releasing fish, even though he only has two in his livewell. His third bass of the day came at 6:47. Although it was keeper-size - measuring more than 14 inches - Martens apparently decided another 2-pounder wasn't going to help him in the end today.
He also may have made the decision based on the health of the fish. The last thing you need in this tournament, where ounces will be a deciding factor, is a small dead fish among the five you weigh in. Dean Rojas had a 4-ounce dead-fish penalty Thursday, which dropped his total that day from 15-0 to 14-12.
With as many fish as Martens has been catching here in the mouth of Black River, there's just no use keeping another small one at this point, no matter how healthy it looks.
Both these last two have come on a drop shot.
Faircloth just landed fish No. 2. We're guess a little over 2 pounds. The water is still and beautiful this morning, about like a mirror.
After a 20-mile run south on the Mississippi River, my boys Dennis TIetje, Kyle and I are perched on the side of an island near Stoddard watching Todd Faircloth. He's fishing in a quiet little marshy area with no current. Todd caught a fish five minutes after pulling in — a nice one. We're guessing 2 3/4 pounds. This is the same spot where he started yesterday.
We just watched Aaron Martens catch his second bass of the day — this one at 6:40 a.m. And we have confirmation that he kept the first one. So Martens has two fish, both about 2-pounders.
The first one came on a swimbait, the second one on a drop shot lure of some kind. Again, we are at the mouth of this canal and Martens has started deeper into it than we ever saw him yesterday.
Aaron Martens has started way back in the canal that he has fished all week, so far back that we have some disagreement on whether he kept the first fish he caught today. But there is no doubt about when he caught it: 6:25 a.m.
That points to one distinct advantage Martens has here. Takeoff was at 6:15 and he'd caught one 10 minutes later. Several others in the Top 12 are still running to their spots.
Cliff Pace and Dean Rojas didn't sound like they had a spot this morning, as both said they were going to gamble and try something new. Rojas noted that he had caught 15 pounds the first three days in his spot, but 18 pounds was his goal for today. Overnight he obviously figured he needed to go somewhere new to catch 18 pounds.
Good morning everybody! We're getting ready to start Day Four at the Mississippi River Rumble in La Crosse, Wis. We headed downriver early to try and catch fourth-place angler Dean Rojas as he heads downriver.
While we're waiting, here are a couple factors that could affect the way the day transpires.
1. The sun: It was overcast yesterday, and several anglers, particularly the froggers, commented on how the lack of sun was hindering the big fish bite.
2. Mayflies: A couple anglers commented on Day Three that they were fishing trees and bushes laden with mayflies. Well, the hatch is fully on this morning. All the gas pumps at the service station were completely coated in mayflies. Will it affect the fish?
Just a couple of things to consider as Day Four begins.
Thanks to my on-the-water crew today. In the photo on the left is Kyle Herlitzke, an native of La Crosse, and a member of the River Road Bassmaster club. He did a great job driving the boat and really knows his way around this river. On the right is Dennis Tietje (TJ), Elite Series angler from Louisana. He's on medical leave after back surgery. TJ's expertise and good humor were invaluable! Thanks, guys.
It's fitting that we ran into Matt Greenblatt again coming back in for the day. He's fishing the same stretch he was this morning when we caught him on our way out.
He's worked his way up to four keepers, but he said there's still a lot of work to be done because he doesn't have much size in his livewell.
On that note, we're heading to the ramp. Make sure to tune in to the live weigh-in because from the looks of things, it's gonna be a tight Top 12 cut!