Brent Chapman has three fish for 9 pounds. Photos by Bassmaster Marshal Karl Jones.
David Walker's first fish of the day is a toad -- a big ol' 5-plus-pound spot. Photo by Bassmaster Marshal Jace Hilton.
Chip Porche with his first keeper of Day Two. Photo by Bassmaster Marshal Trait Crist.
Photo by Bassmaster Marshal Jimmy Murphy.
Clark Reehm knew he had to change the game plan for today. It's looking real good so far.
Right before we were going to leave Randy Howell, he put fish No. 4 in the livewell. It came on a crankbait he's casting toward a red dirt bluff. He said he's catching his fish early. He put 17 pounds on the scales yesterday, so he's staying right in the hunt early today. He said the water flow has a lot to do with the bite and its success. Off to the dam.
It’s interesting to see John Murray leading this derby after the first day. Murray is the quintessential professional angler. He’s had a lot of success out West, won a couple of WON Bass U.S. Opens (1997 and 1999) on Lake Mead, picked up four WON Bass Daiwa Cup Championships (their version of AOY) and earned the respect of everyone who follows the sport. He’s also qualified for six Bassmaster Classics and won the Bassmaster Open Championship in 2003 on Toledo Bend.
So why am I a little surprised to see him leading after Day 1 on a muddy river in the Deep South? I guess it’s because his reputation is for catching ‘em on the deep, clear reservoirs out West using finesse tactics.
Word has it, though, that he’s catching spotted bass deep here, so that makes more sense … at least to me. Of course, Murray can catch them any way he needs to. He’s one of the greats of the sport, though some fans in the East and South may not be all that familiar with his record.
I remember “Classic Night” in 2010, when Skeet Reese made his speech as defending Classic champ. Reese can be an emotional guy, and when he speaks you pay attention because you know he means it and that what he says is more than just words, it's feeling. He spent much of his time thanking John “Papa” Murray for showing him how to be a professional angler. Murray's still a young guy (not yet 49), but he's already shown a generation of western anglers what it means to be a professional.
I am on my way to the Tallapoosa River, where Kelly Jaye and Tommy Biffle fished yesterday.
I expect to have a little bit of an adventure from this. Jaye had a pretty good sack of fish yesterday but Biffle crashed getting up there.
That's why I'm going to drive up there. I'm in my truck driving down I-85, which is a much nicer ride than a jet boat.
The interesting thing about this morning is we received a notice from Alabama Power they may shut off the water.
With the water up, canoeist, kayakers and other adventure seekers have been using the river.
Unfortunately one of them drowned yesterday and they've not been able to locate the body.
They may actually shut the water down in order to aid in the search
We obviously understand the importance of that over allowing some guys to be able to fish. We just hope they have found the body before we get there and we say a prayer for the family of the loved ones.
It all produces a very interesting morning that has me searching the Alabama countryside, hoping to find fishing and not searching
Photographer Darren Jacobson, boat driver Mike Noble and I made our long run to the canal that leads to the Bouldin Dam. It's about a 30-minute run from the launch.
Just like yesterday, we found Randy Howell in here. Howell reports he has three fish -- one that goes over 4 pounds and another that's over 3 pounds. He says he has about 11 pounds now.
Edwin Evers is not far from us, but he's out of range for us to see just yet what he's doing.
There were many boats running and gunning on our way up the river. Perhaps the Elites are trying to hit some of their key areas before any rain rolls in. It's expected today, and we're all in our rain suits waiting to see if the nasty weather actually arrives. We'll poke down this canal a bit, toward the dam, and see what the other fellows are doing shortly.
Dave Smith surveys the shoreline early on Day Two on the Alabama River. Photo by Bassmaster Marshal Harvey Starling.