Tim Horton and his entourage just pulled in across the channel from Marty Robinson. This is where Horton caught the 9-pounder yesterday. We were on him when he hooked that fish and he told us he would only get one bite on that spot per day ... but it is always a quality fish. So, we are going to shoot across the channel and see if we can be there for the one bite. I don't think Marty is going anywhere any time soon.
Marty Robinson is in the midst of a flurry. He's caught seven keepers in the past hour. As you can see, we have a fair amount of cloud cover.
Again, Robinson took three minutes to make a cast after he landed the last fish. He retied and is now moving toward the schoolers.
Robinson has slid up his structure a hair. Caught a small one that didn't help, casts back out and sets the hook again. This fish is a solid 3 pounds and will help him cull. A school of bass just broke the surface about 70 yards from his boat ... He's in a goooood spot.
Marty Robinson has now made 20 casts without a bite and has broken off once. Back to grinding it ... Wait, I spoke too soon!
He set the hook on another solid bass. Looks to be between 2 1/2 and 3 pounds. He reached in his livewell and returned a smaller fish to the lake. Robinson is likely in the 12-pound range now.
At 8:20 a.m., Brent Chapman put his belly on the boat deck and reached into the water to tie his boat to the top of a tree. Staying in one spot has paid off for him, as he's added two bass in the last 20 minutes — a small spotted bass and a 2 1/2-pound largemouth. That gives him four fish that should weigh around 10 1/2 pounds.
The last one was caught on a jig. But bass have been breaking the surface near him occasionally, and he'll reel in quickly to fire out a topwater lure.
Chapman said 8:30 a.m. was going to be his cutoff time for this spot, if the fish weren't biting. Obviously, he's finding reasons to stay, now that Mark Zona is no longer haunting him.
The fish catching has started to pick up at least for a couple of our anglers.
1. Brent Chapman is still in the lead. He has three fish at the moment, including a 5-pounder that gives him about 10 pounds total or in the neighborhood of 69 to 70 pounds.
2. Marty Robinson is in second with about four fish for 9 pounds, 8 ounces — 68.9 total
3. Cliff Pace still has one for 3 1/2 pounds or 63-6 total
Some catch reports are filtering in, but not at a great clip. But this is how we see the Top 3 for the moment.
Robinson piddles more than any other pro I've watched. After he catches one, he sits, redresses his jig, checks his livewell, whatever. Eventually, he gets back on the front deck for another cast. It was three minutes between when he landed that last fish and his follow-up cast.
We've got a very tight tournament on Toledo Bend going into the final round. Just 5 pounds separates the top seven anglers, so a lot of guys have a fighting chance out there.
Do you know the lowest seeded angler going into Day Four who went on to win an Elite Series tournament? If you do, I'm impressed. If not, I'm here to tell you it was Todd Faircloth on Lake Amistad in 2008 ... but that was a strange situation and doesn't really compare to what we have today on Toledo Bend.
Faircloth was in ninth place after the second round, trailing Jason Williamson by 8-11. Day 3 was canceled due to dangerous weather, and Faircloth hammered 'em in the finals.
The reason that tournament was so different is that it lasted just three days, instead of the usual four, and the fishing was really good — much better than it is at Toledo Bend. Those two things matter because it's 50 percent easier to make a big jump in a three-day tournament than it is in a four-day tournament, and because it's easier to improve dramatically when big catches are a possibility.
If you disregard that comeback from our comparison (and you should), the biggest comeback in Elite Series history came on the Mississippi River in 2009. Kevin Short was in sixth place going into the finals, 4-15 back of Billy McCaghren, when he came on to win.
Robinson is on fire ... He just landed another one! His sixth fish of the day is going to cull the small one he caught this morning. We are guessing his limit will go 11 pounds.