It appears Aaron Martens is going to use every last minute of his available fishing time today. He just moved across Lake Decatur from Bayview Cove to the western shore of the lake.
If Martens does win this thing, it might be because he's simply been able to keep a bait in the water longer than Edwin Evers today. Evers gambled with the long run up the river; Martens made his first cast five minutes after take-off and has stayed close all day long.
Evers made it safely into the spare Nitro and is fishing away in the main lake. He’s flipping bushes, flipping a small jig to trees and cranking riprap. He caught a short fish and missed another one. He’s only got about eight or nine minutes left to fish.
We can verify that Edwin Evers has made it out of the Sangamon River and still has time to rally. While continuing to observe Aaron Martens in Bayview Cove, we saw Evers speed past here at exactly 3:37 p.m.
Check-in time for both anglers is 4:15.
It's amazing that anyone can catch a fish in water as muddy as Lake Decatur is now. Not unheard of - it happens with regularity in water muddier than this. Bass adapt to feed in whatever the conditions they find themselves.
But we tend to picture things in human terms. That's a long explanation for why I whipped out the redneck Secchi disk again - this time in the form of a merthiolate-colored plastic worm - hunter orange, in other words.
The verdict, as verified on a fish-measuring board, four inches exactly. That's the distance from the surface that the bright orange worm completely disappeared from sight.
When the water's this muddy in Arkansas, we say, "You can see coon tracks on it."
Evers is being towed right now, out of gas. He’s gathering up a few bait boxes and rods to transfer into the spare boat that Nitro brings to all high-profile events. Actually, the spare boat just blew past us, heading upriver! Evers waved his arms, but the driver didn’t notice. Rather than jeopardize his day and go and notify the driver, we’re going to stay put while he tries to phone him.
Aaron Martens has been trying to get rid of the one keeper-size fish in his livewell for awhile now. And like he has all day, he just put on another show in front of a crowd - both watching from the bank and in boats on the water.
Martens has been flipping his way down the bank in Bayview Cove, where he started this morning and - bang - finally, a 2 1/2-pounder that led him upgrade a pound.
Martens thinks he has 12 1/2 pounds now, and he's all smiles.
Trip Weldon was just in the Media Center when his phone rang. “Hello Edwin,” he said.
There may be problems for Evers. You’ve read about his fuel gauge issues. Whatever it is, we’re sending him a back-up boat now.
This is getting very interesting! If you’re wondering why Evers wouldn’t have filled his gas tank before launching this morning, it’s simple. More gas = more weight = tougher to get to his fish.
According to Trip, Evers has a “fuel problem.”
We’ve left the river portion of the lake and just got across the shallow spot. Evers, however, had a heckuva time getting over it. He was at a dead stop for a minute or so, revving his Merc to the moon and back again — not a good thing when you may be running on fumes. Mud, water and debris were being blasted 50 feet high and 80 feet back. He had to stop four times to clean out the water discharge hole (I don’t know the exact term). His alarm was blaring the whole time he was inching his way across the sandbar.
Evers is now motioning for his camera boat to come over. His motor has stopped “peeing” water despite repeated attempts to clear it. He’s entered a large basin that’s idle-only. We’ve got about a 15-minute trip to the main lake.
It has come to my attention that some people have taken offense to a few of the comments made by Gerald Swindle over the last week. If there's someone to blame, it's probably me. In selectively quoting Swindle, it may not come across that Swindle's favorite target of ridicule is himself.
Swindle absolutely had the crowd in tears of laughter at Saturday's Nelson Park weigh-in. He is bass fishing's version of a cross between comedians Don Rickles and Eddie Murphy.
But again - Swindle doesn't aim his barbs at anyone or anything else as often as he does himself.
It's all said in fun, although when written in black-and-white it may not come across that way.
That's my fault, not Gerald Swindle's. And I sincerely apologize.
Now back to what appears to be a nail-biting finish to All-Star week.
Evers is trying to get out of the river, back into Lake Decatur.