Pace's school has quit biting. It's been interesting to watch these guys fish Toledo Bend and it's obvious why the pros had such a tough practice here. Not only do you have to locate a small spot holding a school of fish on this huge body of water, but you also have to be on the school at the exact time they decide to bite. We know Cliff is casting to a wad of fish; he proved it by catching four bass in about as many casts. However, he hasn't gotten a bite now in 20 minutes.
Brent Chapman's last move continues to pay off. He just caught a 2 3/4-pounder on a spoon, which allowed him to cull up to 19 pounds.
And he added another bass shortly after, but this one didn't help him.
Chapman may have fired up a school of bass here. As I'm writing this, Chapman just had another bite on the spoon. And Chapman is doing all this while talking to the Bassmaster crew back in the War Room.
While the leaderboard gets its customary final-round shakeup, I'm back in the lab (home office) looking at the stats. If you're wondering how Toledo Bend is stacking up against the other Elite Series venues from 2012, it's on the middle to low side in terms of production.
In Bassing Average (the average number of keeper bass brought to the scales for each angler day), the Bend is dead last among the 2012 venues at 4.3871. Bull Shoals was best with 4.9615 (out of a possible 5), Okeechobee was second with 4.8731, Douglas was third with 4.8615 and the St. Johns was fourth with 4.7269.
In case you're wondering, the historical average for all Elite events is 4.5693, so Toledo Bend is quite a bit below the average.
Some of that is due to the changing patterns on the water and the fact that bass tend to be a little tougher to catch once things heat up, but these Elite anglers are the ultimate pros. They catch 'em anywhere and anytime. Toledo Bend just hasn't produced at quite the same pace as the other waters this year.
We'll take a look at average bass weight and average daily catch weight in a few minutes.
Brent Chapman didn't have another bite after landing that 6-pounder. The bright sunshine that replaced overcast skies shortly afterward brought surface activity to a halt. So Chapman made a move.
It wasn't a long one — he simply idled across the boat trail from where he'd spent the morning. The move immediately paid off with a bass that allowed him to cull the small spotted bass in his livewell. It probably gave him another 1/2-pound to put his total around 17 pounds.
A local angler was fishing this place as Chapman and his armada of observers moved in.
"You didn't know you were going to get invaded, did you?" remarked Elite Series angler Bill Lowen, who is driving a camera boat today.
The man just kept on fishing, as he should have. Chapman was probably 50 yards away when the guy hooked a good fish. After an extensive fight, the guy landed a 5-pounder as Chapman watched.
It couldn't have been a good feeling for Chapman. But this local angler wasn't violating any unwritten rules about tournament etiquette.
But at least Chapman knows he's around fish.
Cliff Pace just landed a 3-pounder on his new spot. Fought it to the boat and belly landed it. That will put him very close to the leader if BASSTrakk is accurate.
A few minutes later, Pace sets the hook again! This one rocketed to the surface ... a good fish. Cliff plays it to the boat and flips it in. It's a 3 1/2. Maybe 4. He culls again. Watch out Mr. Chapman, the pace is being set (couldn't help myself).
And another one! Pace boat flips another chunk ... and releases a smaller one. If I were better at math, I'd likely have a clue at what he has. Pace has culled three times from this one spot, though. So, I imagine he's scaring 18 pounds to death.
We found Pace. He has moved from his starting spot near launch to a ridge off the main channel just 2 miles south. It looks like he's throwing a jig and using what appears to be a statue retrieve ... just standing there ... waiting for a bite. He's certainly fishing slower than any other competitor we've seen.
Horton is moving. His big-fish spot did not pan out. We are going to check on Cliff Pace. This race is way too close to call. One bite could change it all.
A quick update after what seemed like a flurry that encompassed the whole lake. That said, we have to note some of our anglers are completely out of cell service. At the moment, though:
And we are sure Matt Herren is somewhere up the standings, but we've been unable to get in touch or get a report from him.
That's how our Top 12 is looking at the moment. The limits in the teen range are starting to show up and, unfortunately for Horton, some lost big fish are starting to have an impact as well.
If you watch the updates in War Room we will be showing you as up-to-the minute video as possible, including that Horton lost fish. Check in when you can.
Horton is combing a channel ledge with a Carolina rig, which is what he used to catch the big one yesterday. Evidently this spot replenishes, because he caught a 5-pounder here on Day One, a 6 on Day Two and a 9 on Day Three. He just switched to a white deep-diving crank.
Horton just set the hook. If this is his one bite on this spot he will be sorely disappointed. The fish might weigh 2 pounds. He put it in the livewell and is back to work. Not sure what this gives Tim, weight-wise. He waved everyone back 150 yards so we can't get close enough to talk.
It seems the magic time has arrived for Brent Chapman this morning. James Overstreet and I had seen several big bass thrashing the surface in the last 15 minutes. Right on cue, Chapman stuck a big one on a football head jig with UV Hawg trailer.
The bass hit his jig on the fall, so as soon at Chapman tightened his line, the fight was on. And the fight was quite an adventure.
"I can see him," Chapman said with a tone of distress in his voice, after the bass wrapped his line around a tree. Chapman managed to get the fish free, then leaned over the bow of his boat to lip it.
"That's a Toledo toad!" Chapman yelled as he lifted it in the boat.
It wasn't a giant by Toledo Bend standards, but the 6-pounder put a big smile on Chapman's face. That should give him 16 1/2 pounds, exactly what he finished with yesterday.