Just caught a large yellow perch.
Jeremy Starks and Kelly Jordon are fishing right next to each other and helping each other out. Starks just culled; he pulled in a 2 1/2-pound largemouth. Jordon is not catching them as much, so Starks just told him the color lure he's been catching them on.
We've pulled up on Kelly Jordon, Jeremy Starks and Boyd Duckett. They were bunched up together in Maple Bay in a shallow area, about 7 feet deep with pockets of grass and a sand bottom. Starks has five keepers. And Jordon has one. We're not sure about Duckett.
Here's what Maple Bay looks like. And that's Ott DeFoe. This area is surrounded by homes. DeFoe is now moving out to the main body of the lake. He just told us he's going to try fishing between Frenchman's Island and Dunham Island.
We are watching Ott DeFoe in the Maple Bay area.
Things have been pretty slow up to this point. He's had one bite without a hook up and caught a pickerel.
He's always cool and collected but he's seen Bill Lowen catch a decent keeper, and we are sure he's wanting to put one in the box just to get started.
He keeps marching along, but it's probably a blessing we don't have a live scoreboard for these guys to watch. Dave Mercer tells us Brent Chapman has four.
That knowledge would certainly add the pressure to Ott.
Things could be looking up. DeFoe is known in some circles as "Otter." Just a few minutes ago two muskrats swam out to check him out or offer encouragement. Who knows? But they are close enough cousins to an otter that maybe they are a harbinger of things to come.
As Todd Faircloth said Wednesday, "The wind is your friend on these clear-water lakes."
So these won't be friendly skies for the Elite Series anglers over the next four days, if the current weather forecast holds up. It's predicted to be cloud-less and essentially calm through Sunday, with only a 10 percent chance of rain on Saturday. The wind forecast is less than 10 miles an hour and from a different direction each day.
But after this long hot summer, the rest of the forecast is a breath of early autumn air – highs in the mid 80s and lows in the 60s every day.
Every angler I talked to yesterday and this morning before launch mentioned that Oneida Lake was fishing tougher than it had in the four previous Elite Series events here. Keep an eye on the catch-rates at BASSTrakk as the day goes along. That early-morning bite that Todd Faircloth and others have capitalized on today may be the key to the tournament. As the sun gets higher, those tough practice days everyone mentioned may become the norm in this tournament as well.
It didn't take long after today's 7 a.m. launch for the BASSTrakk leaderboard to begin lighting up. Todd Faircloth, who enters the day in third place in Toyota Tundra Angler of the Year points, had three bass in boat totaling 7 pounds by 8 a.m.
We've got a lot of eyes on Oneida Lake every day to provide as much up-to-the-minute coverage as possible throughout the tournament. In addition to the AOY race, there's All-Star berths, Bassmaster Classic berths and the Rookie of the Year title that will be decided over the next four days.
Although our minute-by-minute figures can't be entirely accurate, since only 50 boats have BASSTrakk phones, we think we can paint a fairly clear picture of how everything is going to shake out this week.
We followed Ott DeFoe up a little creek off Maple Bay. This is what he likes to do. Get off in a quiet little spot, away from everybody else. This spot is known for smallmouth. He hasn't caught anything yet, but is working it hard.
We're following Ott DeFoe and Bill Lowen this morning. We're in a canal off Maple Bay. Lowen already caught a nice looking 3-pound smallmouth.