2012 Elite Series St. Johns River Showdown St. Johns River - Palatka, FL, Mar 15 - 18, 2012

2012 St. Johns River Showdown Live Blog

Too close to call

3:02 pm EDT, Mar 18, 2012


Any way you look at it, this event is too close to call.
Faircloth did what he hoped he would do; Jones did what everyone thought he would need to do to win.
Now our guesstimates have it way too close to call.
Most of the time we sit around and talk about how the guy in second place can still create a close race. Most of the time it's just talk.
Mike McClelland warned us yesterday that you are never truly safe in Florida. He jumped by Brian Snowden three years ago in the middle of a 15-pound final-day deficit.
We aren't saying Jones has lost this. We are simply saying that Faircloth has at least made a game out of it and it looks like the weigh-in will be really close.
Both anglers are close to picking up stakes and heading to the weigh-in. Unless something changes, this will be our last blog for the day.
Jones has already headed up the river. Faircloth will need to leave in minutes. 
Most of the rest of the day will be boating and working on getting here in time.
End result: This could be one of the more exciting weigh-ins to watch.

Scroggins catches a 3

2:52 pm EDT, Mar 18, 2012

Terry Scroggins

Terry Scroggins lands a 3-pound bass. This catch makes his total about 11 pounds, 11 ounces at 2:49 p.m. ET.


Photo by Jeff Keith

Coming down to the wire

2:26 pm EDT, Mar 18, 2012

Obviously, Faircloth has thrown a monkey wrench into the idea that Alton Jones had this sewn up. We knew he would have to catch some weight today, but we figured a 12-pound limit would get it done.


Faircloth's 22-pound stringer all of a sudden stiffened everyone's spines. That's less than a pound ahead of Jones.


We are judging these guesses from BASSTrakk and photographers who are close by, which means they are all guesses. It also means someone will think we are creating it for some last-minute drama. That's not the case. Faircloth has put together an amazing day, and if Jones doesn't answer, for the second time in as many years he will let an Elite Series victory slip through his fingers.


What BASSTrakk also tells us is Jones has left Lake George and is boating up the St. Johns toward Palatka. Faircloth is sticking it out to the bitter end in the lake, at least at this minute.


I will say it appears as if what looked like a "ho-hum" day has suddenly turned into something else.

Faircloth brings the heat

2:07 pm EDT, Mar 18, 2012

After most of the day of simple resignation that Alton Jones had this event in the bag, we are now inclined to say Jones may have to start picking up the pace. 

He has about 30 minutes to get it done. We've called around to cameramen, etc., to get an idea of what each of them have in their wells. 
Alton has about 12 pounds. Faircloth about 22 pounds. 
That gives Faircloth about a 15-ounce lead. This may be a little too close to call all of a sudden.
Faircloth did his job, and now Jones may need to get one of those better fish if he wants to win this thing.

Long dry spell for Jones

1:28 pm EDT, Mar 18, 2012

Just when it looked like Alton Jones' day was picking up, it has slowed to a crawl. Jones continues to methodically pick apart this huge eelgrass spawning flat in the south end of Lake George. His Power-Poles go down, he makes a couple of pitches with a Yum Dinger, and then the poles come up and he moves.

Jones probably wasn't too happy with a local angler who went 50 yards in front of him running his outboard motor at idle speed.

But, otherwise, Jones hasn't been hampered in any way by spectator boats. What few we've seen have stationed themselves far away.


Jones still has plenty of time to put this thing away with one big bite. But when and if that time comes, James Overstreet and I will not be there to witness it. We are trolling our way out of here, on our way back to the weigh-in, which could have much more drama than we expected when this day started.

Jones scores No. 4

12:42 pm EDT, Mar 18, 2012

Alton Jones did some serious work to add his fourth bass of the day — a 2-pounder. He made countless pitches into a bed before finally getting a strike. You have to wonder whether he's looking at a much bigger female there.

Regardless, he's now one fish shy of a limit.

Sight fishing conditions couldn't get much better. The slight breeze here earlier this morning is gone and it's dead calm.

Jones strikes Heisman pose

12:12 pm EDT, Mar 18, 2012

Nothing like a 5-pounder to take the weight off your chest. Alton Jones struck the Heisman Trophy pose after landing his first good bass of the day. He estimated its weight at 5 pounds, and looking through James Overstreet's telephoto lens, it appeared to be every bit of 5.


That should give him somewhere between 9 and 10 pounds. But, more importantly, Jones appears now to have some added confidence.

Jones scores again

11:41 am EDT, Mar 18, 2012

Alton Jones just put his second bass in the livewell, and this one is in the 2-pound range, maybe 2 1/4. But Jones is now 200 yards away from us, so it's difficult to be accurate from here.

The bottom line is that the action appears to be picking up, as Jones predicted.

Catchable fish scarce

11:20 am EDT, Mar 18, 2012

Alton Jones just trolled close by the boat where photographer James Overstreet and I are positioned — with our Power-Pole down. He confirmed that it's just now getting to be prime time, and that his first bass of the day — a 2 1/2-pounder — was foul-hooked and had to be released.


But he did express some concern that he's not seeing many "catchable" fish.

"I've caught  the only two I've seen that were acting right," Jones said. "One big fish will go a long way for me today. I've got plenty of time.

"If I  happen to catch a limit of little ones, so be it. But I didn't get here catching little ones."

Again, he's only got one little one in the boat at this time.

Jones on the board

11:01 am EDT, Mar 18, 2012

Alton Jones finally has a keeper in the boat, but that's all it was - maybe 1 1/2 pounds. However, he doesn't appear to be feeling any panic.

"The sun is just now getting right," Jones said. "I really haven't been through the heart of this area yet."