It's Day Four at the St. Johns River Showdown in Palatka, Fla. The 12 finalists will be taking off from the launch in just a few minutes. We have Steve Bowman going up in a helicopter this morning to take from-the-air photos of today's action. You find them on Bassmaster.com late this morning.
Alton Jones starts today with a huge 9-pound lead. But there are some hungry guys behind him who will be working hard today to try and overtake.
Enjoy all the action, right here at Bassmaster.com!
The anglers are all heading for the weigh-in. We're wrapping up our on-the-water coverage for today. Be sure to watch our Live Weigh-in at 4:00 ET, here at Bassmaster.com. And check back later today for full coverage of Day Three of the St. Johns River Showdown!
Keith Combs catches a giant bass on a bed, estimated 8-9 lbs, holding it next to a smaller fish for comparison.
Alton Jones spotted a bed that was only a few feet from where our camera boat was anchored. He asked us to slowly back away, which, of course, we were glad to do. Jones hooked the male first. It came off before he got it to the boat, but Jones was going to release it anyway.
A few minutes later, Jones landed the female - a 3 1/2 to 4-pounder - again on a Yum Dinger.
That fish allowed Jones to cull a 1 3/4-pounder, and should put him somewhere north of 17 pounds.
We've got a half-mile troll to get out of the eel grass, so James Overstreet and I are leaving Alton Jones, on our way back to the ramp.
Jones is clearly maximizing his time today. He's covering water, but only with a trolling motor. His last catch was particularly interesting because Overstreet and I had been watching the bed with the fish on it before Jones got there. We didn't hint of it in any way. It just proved that a sight-fisherman as good as Jones isn't going to miss much.
With at least another 90 minutes to comb this bedding flat, there's no predicting what he might add to his bag today. I wouldn't bet against him.
Alton Jones has trolled within a few feet of us. He confirmed that that last fish should give him about 16 pounds.
"From now on, if you see me stop, it's a good one," Jones said.
No sooner than the words were out of his mouth, he set down the Power Poles.
"There's six fish on this bed," Jones said, "but only one is a good one, about three-and-a-half pounds."
Jones added that he's looking at bass swimming everywhere in front of him.
Todd Faircloth and Andy Montgomery have joined Alton Jones in the big eel grass flat in the south end of Lake George.
Montgomery just landed a keeper.
Jones and Faircloth got close enough for a brief conversation about how their day was going before going back into full search mode.
Gerald Swindle lands a 2 pounder. Photo by Kirk Lockwood
It took 20 minutes, but Alton Jones landed the big fish he's been set up on. How big? He estimates seven pounds. It came on a Yum Dinger. That should give him at least 16 pounds.
James Overstreet captured the catch in mid-air three times. It should make for some highlights in the photo gallery today.
Mark Zona just chimed in that David Walker has finished his limit. He now has five fish that weigh about 7-pounds.
The water has warmed up to 75.8 degrees. We just had a report on the group we are watching, Shaw Grisby, KVD, and Takahiro. We talked to a local who has been watching them all morning. He watched Shaw catch a small keeper.
Takahiro has one that will go two and a half pounds. He did have a "big one" right up to the boat. "It made a huge splash and then got off." Tak is still sitting in the same spot trying to get that fish to bite again.
Alton Jones has this huge eel grass flat on the south end of Lake George to himself, and he continues to work it over. James Overstreet and I are barely within shouting distance, and we can't say anything anyway, but we are seeing more bass on beds than we did earlier this morning. That may just be a function of a higher sun, but some of these are, well, let's just say better-than-average.
It's been from noon on when Jones has caught his lunkers this week. So we're hanging with him.
We still think he has four bass weighing just over 9 pounds total, but BassTrak seems to disagree.