We just listed the six anglers who have finished in the money at all five Elite tournaments this year. What about the anglers who have bombed — missing every cut and not earning a penny in prize money so far this year? Well, there are seven of them. Here are the names and their AOY ranks:
Kevin Short (#74)
Byron Velvick (#88)
Michael Simonton (#94)
Dave Smith (#95)
Jared Miller (#96)
Bernie Schultz (#97)
Chad Griffin (#99)
In our last Elite Series event on Lake Douglas we saw the tone of the tournament set with a technique - strolling or long-lining. It's not necessarily new, at least for these anglers. But it was introduced to a lot of anglers/fans who had never heard of it before.
This event may not produce any of those revelations. Instead this seems more of a locale type of event. Who is on what school and where they are finding them, either in brushpiles or drops.
While there are different techniques from cranking, jigging, spooning, Carolina rigging and Texas rigging, they all seem to be producing fairly well. Someone might have a secret weapon but it's not shown itself to us yet. The secrets will likely be timing and location and whatever an angler can put in front of the fish that are ahead of him.
The AOY standings are one way to gauge the success of the Elite anglers this season. Another is to take a look at who's making cuts and earning checks. These are the six Elite anglers who have finished in the money at all five tournaments this year and where they rank in the AOY standings:
Ott DeFoe (#2)
David Walker (#3)
Brandon Card (#5)
Kevin VanDam (#13)
Bill Lowen (#17)
J Todd Tucker (#29)
Ott DeFoe continues to fish this small area - a place where locals have the brushpiles marked and named.
Zona says Ott believes the winning fish are swimming here and he's seeing a lot of them on the screen. We are too — big pods of twenty or more moving around. Dennis Tietje says that the baitfish will show up in big numbers soon enough and that's when the real opportunities begin.
Ott catches another now, so he has two fish for about 3 1/2 pounds. Jeff Kriet has now moved into this area also.
Brent Chapman tossed out a marker buoy about 15 minutes ago, which appeared to be a sign that he'd located the big school of bass in this offshore spot where he's been camped for the past two days.
About 10 minutes later, Chapman said, "That's the kind we need," as he swung what appeared to be a 4 1/2-pounder in the boat.
Five minutes later, Chapman threw out another marker buoy. He appears to be getting dialed in.
"I've never caught a fish on an Alabama rig in a tournament," Chapman said, in answer to a question from his cameraman, Wes Miller. "But I'd give anything to throw one in here right now."
The castable umbrella rig, of course, isn't allowed in Elite Series events. Chapman's comment reflects that he's looking at a big school of suspended fish, which is a prime spot to use the Alabama rig, when allowed.
There's a story on our home page asking if this tournament is Brent Chapman's to lose. Of course it's his tournament to lose — he has the lead! Besides, the leader after two days goes on to win 46 percent of the time. Leading after three days is, of course, even more predictive.
The Day Three leader goes on to win 64 percent of the time. So, whoever's in the lead after today's weigh-in is far and away the most likely angler to win the tournament. Day Three leaders only get overtaken about a third of the time.
We can already tell that this will be trying day when it comes to getting information on the water.
Steve Wright blogged a little while ago that Brent Chapman has caught a couple of keepers. Chapman is less than a mile from the take-off. We can see him with binoculars. But as far as the GPS trackers on his boat, he might as well be in another area code.
Nothing has showed up. As it is, we have him with a couple of keepers. Cliff Pace has a couple as well and they are virtually tied for the overall weight lead.
Hopefully the signals will get clearer as the day moves on.
We are now with Ott DeFoe just about a half mile away. He's set up on a ledge with multiple brushpiles marked. One keeper so far. This is the area where the greater part of the Space Shuttle debris crashed into the lake a few years back. Dennis Tietje was on the lake that day, farther to the north where the sky was clear. He saw a brilliant light break the horizon and knew it was the shuttle. It then took a 45-degree turn and he knew something was wrong. "It started looking like a fighter plane shooting rockets toward the lake. I knew that it was breaking up. It rained debris for a long time; the sky was full of smoke."
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.