Bobby Lane came within 30 seconds of missing the cut yesterday and, possibly the Bassmaster Classic. That's how close he was to missing his check-in time Friday, and he wouldn't have made it at all without a big assist from James Niggemeyer.
With 11-13 in his livewell to go with the 15-3 he caught Thurday, Lane cranked his outboard motor one more time to head to the check-in point. But he couldn't get it started. Lane said he saw Niggemeyer about 50 yards away and waved him over. Thanks to Niggemeyer, Lane beat the clock by 30 seconds. A one-pound per-minute penalty goes into effect once you miss your check-in time.
Lane might have been the happiest Elite Series pro at Friday's weigh-in. Making the top 49 cut assured him of a $10,000 check, and then there's those valuable AOY points he would have lost upon being late and plunging in the standings. Lane entered this event ranked 15th in AOY points, with a Classic berth all but in the bag. He didn't even want to consider what a zero Friday would have done to his season.
"I'm just glad I'm here," Lane said on stage, before thanking Niggemeyer.
Later Lane explained that the ever-cheerful Niggemeyer brought him to the dock, "Then he just went back out fishing."
As for good things happening to good people, Niggemeyer finished in 24th place Friday to earn another day on the water and the check that goes with that.
Rook is in desperate need of a bite: Not only for him, but for me as well. He's sticking with his area and, in Rook fashion, thoroughly working it over again and again.
Looking at the BASSTrakk, one, certainly two, of those lost three fish would have him in the lead.
This is our first day to watch him, I don't know if he has an afternoon bite or not. I do know he's not budging much.
We just pulled up on Kevin VanDam and he's strapping his rods down to move. Travis Manson, Skeet Reese and Brent Chapman are fishing nearby.
Here's a trend to watch as BASSTrakk totals are updated throughout the day. For almost everyone who made the cut, it's either been a morning bite or an afternoon bite. Very few anglers have caught fish all day. Brent Chapman said yesterday that he didn't catch one after 10 o'clock. He admitted that left him nervous about today. He might begetting a bit more anxious now, having only 4 fish at 11 o'clock.
Matt Herren, on the other hand, didn't have a bass in the boat at noon yesterday. "I was actually starting to think about what I was going to do [Saturday] working in the Yamaha booth," said Herren, referring to his duties for a sponsor if he missed the cut. But Herren finished the day with 15-2, giving him a ninth-place total of 30-0.
"This lake is changing every day and it's a real challenge," Herren said. "You've just got to wake up each morning and fly by the seat of your pants."
Gary Tramontina is shooting photos for Bassmaster Magazine. He's following Scott Rook at the moment.
We just pulled up on Ott DeFoe fishing a shoreline as he was culling. He told us he has a solid limit for about 15.5 pounds.
I hate to even say this, let alone type it, but it seems as if the wave action is subsiding a bit. I hope that doesn't jinx us, but we are not bouncing nearly as high as we were this morning. We are still bouncing and the wind continues to blow, but we're not getting wet anymore.
That could help Rook. It will certainly make it easier for him to stay on his fishing spot. He's not had a bite since he lost his last fish.
Elite Series pros Jonathon VanDam and David Walker will take your questions in the War Room at the top of the 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. (ET) hours. You can submit them three ways: in the comments box below, on the B.A.S.S. Facebook page or by tagging @BASS_Nation on Twitter.
VanDam is coming off his big win at Green Bay in the last Elite Series event. Walker should have some great insight into how quickly things can change at Oneida this week, as the accomplished veteran fell from fourth place Thursday to 74th place Friday.
Randy Howell has made a long run this time. After 30 minutes in the vicinity of his 3-12 catch from earlier this morning, he has nothing to show for it. He settled down within spitting distance of Edwin Evers and in the same area Howell has spent much of his tournament time.
I can report that Howell's lone fish came on a small swimbait, which showed up on James Overstreet's zoomed-in photo. It's a treat to ride with Overstreet, the man behind the lens of so many awesome photo galleries on Bassmaster.com. My daily ritual is to visit his Facebook page and view his photo of the day. They're works of art.