Faircloth has moved south, to an offshore grassbed well offshore of Frenchman Island, and the move paid off with a good keeper, which we estimate between 2 1/2 and 3 pounds. I can see through binoculars that it's a beautiful, olive-gold smallmouth, and it gave Todd a heck of a fight. It's amazing to watch the Elite Anglers play fish. He only let it jump once, right after it hit his jerkbait on the end of a long cast. From that point, he kept his rod tip down, close to the water's surface, and applied steady pressure. It came to the boat quickly but he let it run near his Skeeter for at least a minute, burning off excess energy so it wouldn't make a sudden surge when he reached for it.
When the time was right, he scooped the bass up by grabbing its belly and sliding it into the boat. That's your only choice with a feisty fish wearing a "jerkbait smile," as they say. A number of fishermen this season have had to go to doctors to get treble hooks removed from their hands, and Faircloth doesn't want to join that club.
Faircloth has the area to himself. In fact, he hasn't had competition for any of the three areas he's tried today. Maybe that's because he's only in 22nd place and no one wants what he has. More likely, there are so many fishing areas to go around, so many good grassbeds and shorelines and underwater structure where bass congregate. As Aaron Martens summed it up yesterday after the weigh-in, "This is a little lake that fishes big."