Paul Elias reaches for his fish, hoping it's a keeper.
Photo by Jimmy Murphy
We've been at the famed Moccasin Gap (in photo) on the Coosa River all morning expecting Brent Chapman, Steve Kennedy or David Walker to make a run up this way. All are fishing just south of us. But after Walker got hung up on a rock and struggled to get off, all three anglers have headed south to safer waters.
We're taking that as a sign that there will be no action at Moccasin Gap today and heading to check out the action in the Corn Creek area.
Paul Elias barreling a 2 3/4-pounder for a good upgrade.
Photo by Jimmy Murphy
It's slow going right now for Edwin Evers in the Bouldin Dam Canal, and that's not completely unexpected, according to our boat driver Matt Chambliss. Chambliss lives in Pike Road, not far from here, and fishes this canal frequently. He said the key to the canal is catching that early flurry of fish just like Evers did first thing this morning. "There's a chance of getting another flurry, but you have to be in the right place and at the right time." It could happen for Evers, and clearly he's waiting it out here and hoping for that next flurry to happen.
"I need a big 'un," Evers said loudly to no one in particular.
It's like he's reading our minds.
Aaron Martens has a keeper that weighs about 2 1/2 pounds!
So who really has a chance to win this tournament? Well, it's almost never as wide open as some would have you believe. I think even the anglers sometimes have an unrealistic idea of how far back is too far back to make a run and win a tournament.
The basic guideline is this — and I call it Ken's Comeback Formula — if you're going into the final day and you trail by more than the weight of a daily big bass, you're too far back to win. It would take a miracle!
What's that you say? "The last two Elite events were won by anglers in 11th and seventh place going into the last round!" You say, "Big comebacks are not only possible, there's an epidemic of them happening right now!"?
Well, maybe. While it's true that Jason Christie at Bull Shoals and Skeet Reese at West Point pulled off the biggest come-from-behind victories in Elite Series history (by place), they were both within the range of Ken's Comeback Formula. In fact, every Elite winner in history was within the range of the Formula.
More on who has a chance to win here with my next post.
The city of Wetumpka was founded on the site of a Creek Indian village called we-wau (water) and tum-cau (tumbling).
David Walker almost went we-wau tum-cauing — tumbling into the Coosa River. In more drama for the day, Walker's boat got hung up on a boulder in Corn Creek Shoals, and it took him a while to get it off. It didn't look like fun.
Brent Chapman was thinking about moving up, until he got deeper in the the shoals, then saw what was happening with Walker.
"When you get right there, you realize the difference in elevation," said Chapman, who has moved back down to where he's been catching them. "I've caught enough here that I need to commit to it."
That's good news for photographer James Overstreet and me. It looked like we were about to run out of fisherman. We ain't doing no Corn Creek Shoals.
Paul Elias has another keeper for a small upgrade.
Photo by Jimmy Murphy
A quick look at BASSTrak shows Edwin Evers with 10 pounds, 6 ounces -- a weight that has him in third place unofficially at the moment. From our angle, we think Evers' total is a bit higher than that, as I've reported him in the 12- to 13-pound range.
I'm not going to dispute the numbers, but I'm going to try to clarify exactly what Edwin thinks he has in the boat -- if he's talking today. Right now, however, he's methodically working both shorelines of the Bouldin Dam Canal and regardless of how much he has, it appears he's going to need more to keep up with Brent Chapman and Steve Kennedy, who are fishing near the Corn Creek area, according to our Live Blog.
We are waiting at Moccasin Gap, wondering if any of these guys will chance this giant shoal to get farther upstream.
A couple of the anglers said they would, but indicators from the blog say that gamble may not be worth it.
This is a rough, rough stretch. I'm looking at white water where many folks wouldn't dare float through with a canoe.
But we've seen them take these chances all week. If anything, this event may come down to who actually takes the biggest chance and makes it pay off.
There's a lot of day left so we are still waiting. We had a flatbottom with a jet drive come through an hour ago. But nothing wrapped in fiberglass. We don't know which way to hope: Will they come or think better of it?
Regardless, we are somewhat on edge. We can't see much of the river, so the even the rumble of an airplane engine over the roar of these rapids gets us ready for the action we know will take place if they get here.