Kevin VanDam quietly passed another milestone on Thursday. He became the first angler to weigh in more than 1,000 bass in Elite Series competition. No one else is close. Skeet Reese is second with 935, and Todd Faircloth is third with 905.
We saw Dean Rojas run by a couple minutes ago. He is sitting in eighth with 29-15. He set down at what looked like about a mile south of where Faircloth is sitting in another of the limitless grassbeds on the bottom of Pool 8.
Faircloth has culled one more time since my last post, but it looked like he gained only ounces.
We're off heading south to try and find the Godfather of Frogging.
I just got a text from Trip Weldon, B.A.S.S. tournament director. He tells me that Greg Hackney is back at the ramp with a hook in his hand.
That makes the third or fourth of those we've had since Bull Shoals. Going to check the damage.
Things have been quite slow in this little cut for the past 45 minutes.
Again, Aaron Martens is a bit concerned that the baitfish movement is being impeded by the number of spectator boats.
Now comes another 2-pound keeper. So four fish and 11 pounds. Zona will soon be sharing some interesting videos with Aaron.
The "crowd" erupted with a cheer just now, after Aaron Martens landed his fourth bass of the day. Martens has been chatting regularly with the three men and three women who are observing him from their house, which sits at the mouth of the little inlet where Martens has been all morning.
This one was another 2-pounder, like the first one he caught this morning, and gives him about 11 pounds for the day.
Martens is fishing extremely slow. He doesn't have to make long casts in this narrow inlet, but it takes him a long time to retrieve his lure, which he leaves motionless at times.
Normally we don't like to give away lures or techniques on Saturday, with one more day left to compete for the Top 12 finishers today. But it will surprise no one that Martens is drop shotting.
The pace has stayed about the same, and since I last posted Todd Faircloth has caught a pike, a couple shorts and two more keepers.
A couple casts after he boxed his limit, he set the hook on keeper No. 6, which looked like it was about 2 pounds and he was able to dump an earlier squeaker.
It's hard to tell how much weight he has, but if his first two were similar to the ones he's boated since we've been on him, he's probably sitting at 9-10 pounds.
It's a decent start.
Aaron Martens now has two fish. Our best guess is 9 pounds total or thereabouts. Zona says that Aaron believes the baitfish are funneling past him in this little creek, and the bass are following.
Aaron said he thinks the spectator boats may actually be slowing or stopping the baitfish.
We set down on Day Two leader Todd Faircloth, who had already put two keepers in the boat by the time we found him.
Throwing what looks like a white frog, Todd quickly catches a short, misses another and then boats keeper No. 3.
He's fishing the back of a large grass flat and it's pretty difficult to get close enough to see if any of his fish have any size, but at least it seems that they are biting this morning.
As I am typing this, he boats another short.
Looks like the action is just getting started.
Chris Lane was fishing with a frog, then switched to a creature bait. He's targeting holes within the hydrilla. He has already caught five fish, but he's tossed them all back in. Here's why. We're on the Minnesota side of the Mississippi. And there is no culling in Minnesota. Sure he can cross back over to Wisconsin and cull, but it looks like Chris is swinging for the fences. Go big or go home. He's in the Top 50 and he's not going to get into the Top 12 unless he catches some bigger fish. So he's releasing the small to medium fish.
Anytime the Elite Series anglers visit a river system, they have to deal with coordinating their fishing schedules with those of the barges.
For the first two days of the River Rumble, barge traffic was very light. On Day Three, however, anglers were warned that traffic for today was heavy. That proved true as we ran into a giant triple coming north from the lock down to Pool 9.
We'll see if increased barge traffic alters anyone's game plan.
Could get interesting.