The problem with smallmouth is that they can be so aggressive they are often hard to put in the boat. Todd Faircloth has had a couple fish follow his bait to the boat and had a strike that he missed. His fourth keeper followed soon after that, and Faircloth spent plenty of time playing out the aggressive smallmouth before the 2-pounder hit the well. It's obvious that putting those first four fish in the boat so early in the day is what's keeping him cool.
Normally, Faircloth is as calm an angler as you will find. He admitted to me as I sat in his boat that he has a hard time sleeping the night before Day One, especially Day One of a season finale like this one.
"Tonight, though, I will sleep like a baby," he said.