Looks like the 2012 AOY race will be one of musical chairs. We've had a lead change after every event.
Current tournament leader Brent Chapman is now in the driver's seat and should remain so at least until the next stop at the Mississippi River later this month. A lead change after each of the first five tournaments hasn't happened since 2008, when there was a change after every tournament until the ninth. KVD won it that year, kicking off his string of four in a row ... and counting.
Photographer James Overstreet and I have joined a dozen other boats with observers of Day Two leader Brent Chapman. He already had one bass in the livewell and we saw him add another at 6:55. Neither is much more than a keeper.
But Overstreet has spent time observing Chapman each of the last two days, and he reports Chapman has been whacking bass all day long.
Chapman mentioned at the weigh-in yesterday that the thermocline in this area is right at 30 feet deep and the bass are holding as close to it as possible.
The take-off is over and the semifinal 50 boats are on their way. Shortly, or at least no later than today's weigh-in, we will be able to put to rest a couple of arguments brewing around the crew.
Some say already that this is Brent Chapman's tourney to lose. The boy is just stroking them that strong. Yesterday's 25-pound, 8-ounce stringer is a testament to that.
But the other side insists it's too early to tell. This is Toledo, where a 5-pound deficit is just a half a bite. One big fish and you can make a major move. Ish Monroe did it last year. Still others say, guys like Matt Herren are catching them pretty strong, as is Cliff Pace. Even Jeff Kriet, who boated 25 pounds on Day Two and sits in ninth place, has a shot.
We love to argue. This remains, after all, a bass tournament, where almost every scenario is possible. And this is a lake that always serves up some drama. Dean Rojas had a decent lead last year, and just won by an ounce; we've had ties here before and about 10 years ago, the space shuttle crashing closed off sections of the lake.
All of that to illustrate: You can't rule out anything on Toledo. Promises for an interesting day.
Steve Wright and James Overstreet are out on the water, and we'll soon hear from them in the Live Blog. Mark Zona and Tommy Sanders are there as well and will be shooting BASSCams, and James Hall and Gary Tramontina are in another direction. All their info with BASSTrakk and we should soon see this event taking shape.
There’s nothing like being at a Bassmaster Elite Series event. But if you can’t be in Many, La., for the 2012 Bassmaster Elite Series Toledo Bend Battle this weekend, we’ve got you covered. You can keep up online in a way that will make you feel like you’re on the water yourself.
Here are nine ways we’ll keep you informed:
You get a front row seat to the weigh-ins each day. From the comfort of your home, you can watch the pros weigh in right in front of you on your computer screen without delay. You’ll know who wins at the same time the winner finds out! Tune in to the live weigh-ins at 3:15 p.m. CT all four days of competition.
In fewer than 140 characters apiece, you can read updates of the tournament as it is happening. From your laptop, phone or desktop, you can watch the event unfold, tweet by tweet.
There are several ways to follow along on Twitter. You can follow the official B.A.S.S. Twitter account, www.twitter.com/BASS_nation, where you’ll get insider info provided by B.A.S.S.’s on-site staff, B.A.S.S. emcees and tournament officials.
You can follow the official hashtag of B.A.S.S., #bassmaster. Anyone connected to or interested in the tournament tags his or her posts with this keyword, and fans can read multiple perspectives on the tournament’s goings-on. Even the pros post with this hashtag, so you could get actual updates from contenders who have spectators on the water tweeting for them. To follow the hashtag, whether you have a Twitter account or not, just go to http://tweetchat.com/room/bassmaster.
You can also follow the pros’ or insiders’ Twitter accounts. Click these links to follow the lists of Bassmaster Elite Series pros, including Randy Howell and Keith Poche, or to follow B.A.S.S. insiders, including emcee Dave Mercer and host Mark Zona.
BASSCam is a series of videos shot on the water and uploaded immediately so you can get near-live updates of what’s happening out there, often in the pros’ own words. Vidoes are posted all four days of competition.
Fans of B.A.S.S.’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/bass, get updates and photos throughout the day right in their newsfeed. You can comment, ask questions and share photos, all within Facebook. Plus, most of the Bassmaster Elite Series contenders have their own fan pages, so you can watch your favorites (and get their fishing advice) all year long.
During the live weigh-ins, fans can watch the Live Leaderboard to see who’s on the bubble for the final cut (from 50 to 12 during Saturday’s weigh-in) and to keep up with who has performed consistently and how much they need to bring to the scales to secure a win.
B.A.S.S. emcee Dave Mercer and Bassmaster hosts Tommy Sanders and Mark Zona team up for Toyota Hooked Up!, a live video special, which airs at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. CT Saturday and Sunday. After the champion has been crowned, you’ll hear from the winner in his own words — while he’s still absorbing the shock of his win.
7. War Room
At the 2012 Bassmaster Classic, B.A.S.S. introduced the War Room, a concept that was extremely popular with fans. The doors to the formerly private TV and production trailers have been pried open, and you now get to hear what B.A.S.S. officials hear, when they hear it.
Even better, if you have a question, just ask it in the comments box below the War Room video, and the producers will make every effort to get your question answered.
The War Room opens at 9 a.m. CT Saturday and Sunday and provides updates on the hour until 2 p.m. CT.
8. Live Blog
The Live Blog is where our reporters’ on-the-fly updates will be posted throughout competition on Saturday and Sunday. B.A.S.S. reporters take to Toledo Bend, seeking out contenders and trying to get the scoop, which we then deliver to you, right here.
The very popular BASSTrakk will be running during competition hours Saturday and Sunday. When a contender catches a fish, his Marshal reports the estimated weight, which in turn is posted online so you can see how your favorite pro is doing — and where the fish are.
All nine of these options are completely free! We invite you to tune in, interact and enjoy!