Our eyes are off the anglers we've been following all day. Steve Wright and James Overstreet are back in the War Room getting their photo galleries ready for the evening.
Mark Zona abandoned Jeff Kriet a few hours ago and Dave Mercer did the same with Skeet Reese.
All we have for information is the BASSTrakk and the Marshals in the boat who are keeping us updated every once in a while. That means slim pickings this last hour or so of the day for information. But we are used to that.
We feel like Chris Lane has cut into Ish Monroe's lead of 13 pounds. By how much remains to be seen. We do feel, though, Monroe's lead will shrink.
We also feel like Lane still has a small fish in his live well, so a decent thumper and he adds to his weight. We also know Monroe has a lot of room to move. He has a couple of 2-pound class fish and one or more big bites in the last hour and he could really start to close the door on everyone.
Monroe knows that. He knows he will likely lead no matter what, but the more cushion he creates the easier his day goes.
We will keep an eye on BASSTrakk and keep listening for any change. But unless we've missed it, today's story is the battle of Lane and Monroe.
We just got a ping on BASSTrakk that Ish Monroe has caught a 5-pounder. That brings his weight up to around 16 or 17 pounds.
For a brief moment, Chris Lane had the lead. Now Monroe is taking it back.
There's an interesting thing about that catch. From the outside looking in, it appears as if Monroe has had a slower day than expected. But now he's caught a 5-pounder and at almost the same exact time as Mike McClelland, who is fishing close to Monroe, caught a similar size fish.
Both anglers are in the southeast end of Okeechobee. Those fish in that corner might be firing.
Meanwhile Tommy Biffle, who is fishing the Observation Shoal area, has jumped to fourth place with an estimated stringer of 25 pounds, 11 ounces.
That's the first time we've mentioned Biffle's name all day. He's quietly got that weight built and looks like he could be a factor before the day is over.
Chris Lane said yesterday that he wasn't going to let it get in his head, the fact that he's been losing two or three big bass a day in the thick vegetation he's fishing. Well, he just had his first frustrating moment of this day. He set the hook on a big one, which quickly wound his line around some reeds. After the fish was off, Lane broke his line trying to retrieve his lure, then banged his rod on the side of the boat.
How big was the fish? Lane looked over at James Overstreet and me, then held his hands about 2 feet apart. It was a big one.
One of those "friggin' giants" finally showed up for Jeff Kriet. This photo by Mark Zona shows what could be as heavy as a 7-pounder.
Kriet lost two fish that were in that same range. If he could have boated those, he would be in the 21-pound or better range with just three fish.
Zona said that Kriet made a bait switch, and immediately "bam" the fish bit.
That's very interesting considering he's lost two fish that size. A bait switch can mean a lot of things: More bites or just better hook ups. Either way, Kriet made the adjustment which is what you have to do when the tough bites start hitting you.
As it is. He's got that giant and four peckerheads. But that one fish jumped him from 5 pounds to about 11 or 12. We'll see how it comes across from the Marshal.
Good to see Kriet starting to right the ship. But it hurts to even think about those two that got away.
Chris Lane has made a series of short runs but hasn't had another bite since that 4-pounder. He made an interesting observation at yesterday's weigh-in. Lane is concentrating on reed "heads" where there is a hard bottom in Lake Okeechobee. He thinks these provide ambush points for bass that are keying on shellcrackers (redear bream) as they are moving into spawning areas.
"The (bass) aren't in the Kissimmee grass yet, but it won't be long," Lane said.
In addition to its largemouth bass fishing, Lake Okeechobee is known for having a huge population of bigger than usual shellcrackers. I visited with a local bass fisherman in a bait shop earlier this week who told me that he quits bass fishing during the first shellcracker spawn of the year and fills his freezer with bream that weigh up to 2 1/2 pounds.
The shellcracker slugfest is probably a week or so away.
The wind has picked up. We're seeing a few whitecaps on this part of the lake, enough that you need to rest your carbonated beverages a bit after making a run with the big motor.