Aaron Martens was hoping to put the hammer to the fish that he backed off at 9 a.m. yesterday, but the fish aren't cooperating. He's still seeing some bass there on his sonar, but not like they were yesterday. And the ones still there aren't biting like they were yesterday.
So Martens has made a short move back toward the launch site. I could swim to my hotel room from here.
He caught one short fish upon arrival. He's still holding about 12 pounds in his livewell.
We're back on the water and it didn't take us long to find someone as we came across Davy Hite fishing a railroad bridge about 5 minutes from the takeoff point.
He's throwing a swimbait and counting it down before slowly swimming it around the concrete pilings.
He's got a limit but wouldn't say how much it weighs.
After about a dozen casts, a fish loads up and he expertly plays it to the boat. The fish looks to be about 2 pounds and he has to put it on the balance beam with a couple different fish to see if it culls. I couldn't see if he ended up culling, but if he did, it was just ounces.
We have anglers drop shotting suspended fish, throwing swimbaits around bridge pilings, cranking and fishing matted grass.
This is truly a diverse fishery.
Terry Butcher makes an upgrade as he flips a solid bass into the boat.
We just caught up with Matt Herren. He's fishing the back waters by Goose Island. He's fishing current, right up against the bank and has two in his livewell. We just watched him get a big bite from a pike. It broke his line off about six inches above the bait. Pike have teeth, you know!
After watching Stephen Browning catch a couple more small keepers and a short that he pitched back into the river, we are heading in so B.A.S.S. photographer Darren Jacobson can upload the morning photo gallery.
Check it out; there will be some great action shots from Day 2 leader Todd Fairtcloth and several other anglers.
We'll be back on the water and blogging ASAP!
Michael Simonton has some some early morning action on Day 3 as a Mississippi River largemouth bass thrashes on the surface. Simonton's Marshal, Tracy Skare, sent in this photo from the water just now.
Almost all the boats observing Martens have left. The family conversing with him from their nearby dock has gone inside, and the bass aren't biting either. The day has definitely come to a lull for Aaron Martens.
"I don't know where all the 2 1/2-pounders I threw back yesterday went," he said. "Nothing I've caught today had any hook marks in them. There's a ton of bait (flipping the surface) in here, but nothing is chasing them."
The light rain that fell off and on in the first couple of hours has quit, leaving a high overcast sky. Martens thinks some sunshine might help turn on these fish.
He hasn't hit a couple of good spots he found in practice since the tournament started, but he's thinking about doing just that soon, if things don't pick up around here.
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.
Kevin VanDam has now made the first cut (and earned a prize money check) in 18 straight tournaments. He had an earlier streak of 16 in a row (2008-'10). No one else has ever made the Top 50 in more than 15 consecutive Elite Series events.
Nate Wellman just rolled into the area Chris Lane is fishing. Chris moved away from the area where he caught his 3-pounder, saying he wanted to let the fish "calm down" and was planning to come back to that spot in 30 minutes or so. About that time, Nate started moving toward the same spot. We watched Chris put his trolling motor on high and skedaddle back to his spot before Nate could get there.
We heard Chris say something, and at that point Nate stopped his boat.