Britt Myers said he might have had his best fishing day of his life yesterday, estimating he caught 100 fish.
"I was so tired, I was trying to get them to jump so I could see whether or not they were worth reeling in," Myers said.
He's got about 17 pounds today, and he's still having a blast.
"They're not biting as good as they were yesterday," Myers said. "I've probably caught about 30 today."
Myers is throwing a crankbait, like a lot of people, but he may be doing something a little different.
He just landed a 2 1/2 pound largemouth.
"Any other tournament in the world and I'd be tickled to death," Myers said. "But this one probably won't even help."
Sure enough, he culled it.
Bobby Lane is interviewed Saturday morning. (Jerry Cunningham photo)
Count Bobby Lane among the anglers astounded by the Bull Shoals Lake fishery.
"I was really amazed to see the quality of fish and the numbers still coming in every day," he said at launch, "and they're not getting beat on. You can go back to the same areas and catch the same amount of fish. It's amazed me."
Lane started Day Three in third place with 37-7, a bit more than 8 pounds behind leader Brandon Palaniuk. When asked if he was doing special, Lane said he was just chunking line.
"You spend more time culling fish than catching fish," he said. "It's a matter of culling one of the 2-and-a-half pounders for a 4-pounder. It's a great lake. great fishery, tons of fish in it. But it's kind of crapshoot. It's the guy who can catch the 4 or 5 pounder instead of the 2 pounders."
While he said so long to brother Chris, the reigning Classic champ who headed home Friday, he was left with words of encouragement.
"It's unfortunate he missed the cut yesterday," he said. "He left here with a smile on his face and told me to go get them today."
Lane is trying. He has caught about 12 pounds today to maintain his position, but he'd have to get on a flurry of 5-pounder to make a dent in Palaniuk's lead, which is about 11 pounds right now.
"It's been a long time since I've been on a lake where you got this many bites," said Bill Lowen, who has rounded off the bill on his square-billed crankbait while working his way down a rocky bank.
Lowen just caught a 2-pound smallmouth that allowed him to cull up a few ounces. He guesses he's got about 12 pounds now.
"They hit so hard you don't know how big they are until you see them," Lowen said.
Lowen has caught five fish since we've been watching him, and we're getting ready to move on.
We've been searching for anglers and cell phone service on the upper end of Bull Shoals Lake. We're finding more anglers than phone service. Here's a quick rundown:
Been slow for 30 minutes or so, then comes along a keeper from the dead center of this 300-yard wide creek. It's a good one too - -four pounds or so. Now Brandon is over 16 pounds -- sorry, I miscalculated a bit earlier.
Zona says that again, the slight change of cast was key. I forgot to pass on that before the last flurry, Brandon had turned on his Hydrowave device and felt that it got the school fired up, per Zona.
This year's Elite event marks B.A.S.S.' seventh professional tournament on Bull Shoals Reservoir and the first since a WBT event in 2006. It's been more than 20 years (1991) since the top B.A.S.S. pros competed there. That event (the 1991 Arkansas Bassmaster Top 100) was won by Ron Shuffield.
Matt Herren is somewhat concerned about the lack of bites this morning. He has moved into another creek arm on the upper end of Bull Shoals Lake where the water has a little more color in it.
Several factors concern him. The water color, for one, which has been clearing all week. The lack of wind is another. The bite has been best when the wind is blowing. The lake level has dropped several inches from yesterday, another concern. And the big one is the cold front that moved through overnight and presented bluebird skies today.
"I wondered when this lake was going to start showing its true colors," said Herren, who has a lot of tournament experience on another lake in the White River chain - Beaver.
So Herren pulled out a spinning rod with a shaky head worm attached.
"I just want to make sure there ain't something happening that I don't know about," Herren said.
He added a 12 1/2-inch spot to his livewell on the shaky head, but knows that isn't going to help him at the end of the day.
"Boys, it's dadgum tough," Herren said.
But he also knows that his best fishing all week has been about mid-day.
"Sometime between 10 and 12 o'clock they go to chewing," Herren said.
*Editor's note: We have got really bad cell service in this part of the lake. In fact, I have none as I'm writing this. We will probably leave Herren shortly and try to find someone else, and maybe some better service in the process. Luckily, AT&T comes in and out up here; my Verizon cell phone might as well be dead.
BASSTrakk is up and rolling. This is the place where we keep up with the fish being caught by the 50 anglers competing today. We're getting texts and phone calls from the Marshals today. We'll update BASSTrakk, presented by Toyota Trucks, every 30 to 45 minutes. You can keep up with it here: http://www.bassmaster.com/basstrakk-presented-toyota-trucks
Brent Chapman began the day in fifth place, and reports from the water are he only has one fish of about 2.5 pounds so far. Relying on texts for catch infomation, he could have more but might be out of cell range.
Staying in the top 12 and fishing Sunday could be important for his chances to win the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year. With Skeet Reese missing the cut, it's a given Chapman will be leading the standings after the TroKar Quest. Not important, Chapman said.
"You can't think much about Angler of the Year right now," he said this morning at launch. "It's always great to have that opportunity and be where I'm at, but that doesn't really matter until Oneida (the final Elite Series event)."
He will be in for a $1,000 bonus award from Toyota for leading, and while that's great, he has his eyes on the biggest prize.
"Hopefully we can keep this momentum going, keep us up there, where Oneida will be an exciting tourament," he said.
Like most of the anglers on Bull Shoals, Chapman is cranking. He caught all his Day One fish on a crankbait, then switched it up a bit Friday.
"I culled out all my cranking fish yesterday with a bigger fish catcher, and hopefully I can do that again today," he said.
Mark Menendez is making a move, climbing from 19th to eighth in the latest, greatest, but very unofficial BASSTrakk standings.
The veteran angler from Paducah, Ky.., is listed with a limit weighing a little over 12 pounds.
Menendez has relied on a big bite each day, and as evidenced in the photo sent in by his Marshal, Clint Long of Missouri, has another nice fish to his credit.
He'd love to get his 21st Top 10 finish in B.A.S.S., but will have to keep the pressure on.
A top 12 here would help him climb in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings. He started the TroKar Quest in 64th, and if he can fish Sunday, should move up in the points.
Mark Menendez shows off one of his nicer fish from Saturday. (Clint Long photo)