I just completed a semi-call around to the Marshals watching our anglers today. Many of them are out of cell service..
None of the ones we reached gave us any indication that the fish were biting this morning..
We have Timmy Horton and Marty Robinson with 2-pounders, Chapman with a 1 1/2-pound keeper and the others with either a zero or unreachable..
We will keep trying as the day progresses.
Marty Robinson might be best known for the dance moves he showed off on the Classic stage last year. So, I find it a little ironic that he is having his best event of the season on a jig. Headline: "Robinson does a jig for Toledo Bend win." Were his Classic gyrations simply foreshadowing this tourney? I say yes.
Robinson has switched to a deep diving crank, chartreuse with a white belly. No luck. He just picked up the buoy he dropped after catching his only fish of the morning and is sliding further up the flat. It's a very hazy, calm morning. Looks a bit surreal.
Brent Chapman caught his first fish of the day at 7:20, but it's not one he hopes to keep in his livewell at the end of the day. The bass, which looked to be in the 1 1/2-pound range, bit a big plastic worm thrown on a Carolina rig.
Chapman has caught most of his fish this week on a big flutter spoon. He's thrown it some this morning with no success so far.
Mark Zona is in the boat with Chapman and reports that Chapman isn't seeing a bunch of bass on his sonar. That's probably why Chapman just started his outboard motor and idled 100 yards or so to the west side of this area which is filled with standing timber.
Brent Chapman is still working his spoon. He then switches to a Carolina rig with a 10 inch worm and his comment to Zona: "I'm throwing a Carolina rig at 7:15 and that's not good."
But it works — first fish comes at 7:20 — 2 pounds.
Dennis remarks that we are not seeing any schools of bait come by. "That's got to change," he says. "That's the one and only reason those bass would be here."
Early into the fishing day and nothing yet for Brent Chapman, but as Brent reminded Zona, it took them a while to get going yesterday too. He's working the flutter spoon mostly — that's what most of his big fish have come on this week for him. Heavy layer of fog/cloud above us — it will be interesting to see if things pick up when it thins.
Forty spectator boats are in an almost perfect circle here as Brent hooks a fish and it quickly pulls off. Zona says that Chapman is starting to appear concerned.
Marty Robinson is poised to post his best Elite Series finish ever. Coming into the final round, he's second. His best previous finish was seventh at Grand Lake in his rookie season (2007). In the past three years he seems to have turned a corner in his career.
His first three years in the Elites were obviously learning experiences. Robinson finished 64th, 86th and 80th in the AOY standings in 2007, 2008 and 2009, respectively. Since then, he's been solid. He jumped up to 43rd in 2010, missing the Classic by six spots. Last year he was 35th and earned his first Classic berth. This year, he ranks ninth and is looking to make another Classic. He definitely seems to have found himself as an angler.
Robinson's story is a bit unusual, though. For the most part, the anglers who struggle early in their Elite careers never turn it around. Terry Butcher has been another exception, though he struggled in 2011 and is just starting to get back on track.
Toledo Bend offers its challenges in a lot of ways. From an angling standpoint, more than 180,000 acres that swell up and bounce at even the slightest wind is just the beginning.
From a technical standpoint for blogging, BASSTrakking, etc., it becomes a different kind of monster. We were watching our GPS tracks this morning as the anglers left the take off. It's an interesting sight to see the anglers name inch out and actually move on the map. Kind of looks like those movie radar screens where you are watching the bombs come toward you, only in our drama they are moving away.
Watching them this morning, we got to track some of them as far as 5 miles away from the take-off before they simply disappeared as in vanished from view in the black, electronic hole that surrounds Toledo Bend.
Those kind of things always make it tough getting information. Even the guys on the water have another brand of problem trying to find service to send it back to the War Room and the blog. Hopefully we can work around some of the problems. We will still have the most up-to-date information any where.
As the leader going into the final day of the Toledo Bend Battle, Brent Chapman has drawn a crowd. James Overstreet and I are among 33 boats filled with interested observers. Fortunately for Chapman, everyone is giving him plenty of room in this area where he's caught most of his fish this week. It's less than a five-minute boat ride south of Cypress Bend Park.
Chapman said at yesterday's weigh-in he wouldn't stay here as long as he did yesterday, if the fish aren't biting. He had most of his 16 pounds, 5 ounces by 8:30 a.m., but stayed here until 10:40 a.m.
He's planning to leave by 8:30 this morning, if the fish aren't cooperating. So far, they aren't. But Chapman has perfect fishing conditions - there's a bit of chop on the water, more than at anytime Saturday, and skies are overcast.
Chapman said Saturday the bass are on the bottom in this off-shore spot early. Then as the sun comes out they seem to rise up and suspend, making them less likely to bite.
"This tournament is going to come down to one guy catching a big bag of fish (Sunday)," Chapman said Saturday. "I just hope it's me."
We don't know whether this is a harbinger of great things to come or quite the opposite, after hearing so many of the pros talk about having a difficult practice on Toledo Bend.
Today's conditions are overcast, slightly foggy and really muggy. Not exactly, the type things you build a post card with, but it is much closer to the weather these guys had during their practice period.
Again, some of them made a point of saying they had terrible practices. Hopefully that won't translate into a tough final day. But we do know from experience that these type days seem to pull fish off of the cover, which means these guys may not be able to pin-point their targets as well as they have been the last couple of days.
Suspended roaming fish can be the bane to the guy casting in 20- to 30-feet of water. Or they can turn into a dream for a topwater guy.
It will be interesting to see how things play out. One thing is for certain, in this part of Louisiana the weather can change quickly.
There might be a few Elites hoping for that change sooner than later.