After a long drought, Ike finally bowed up on what appeared to be a good fish. He babied it around the boat, jumped to the back deck, reached down and landed ... a drum. The hunt goes on. When you think about it, it's really a miracle he catches anything at all given the fact that his water is constantly beaten to a froth.
With Palaniuk's recent success comes boat traffic. It's no where near VanDam or Christie level, but there are15 or so boats bobbing around him. He seems to be in good spirits as he's chatting and interacting with the crowd. He's in Carey Bay, which my boat driver Steve Meador says is usually a player in tournaments He says that most of the big tournaments release fish in the main river channel and this is the first bay that's accessible to them. Palaniuk was working a jerkbait when we first pulled up, but now he's gone to spinning tackle and a shaky head along shallow banks, much like what VanDam and Cherry were fishing on Day One.
As Iaconelli sits watched by half of the midwest, Alton Jones fishes alone just 250 yards away.
Edwin Evers may still be in shock from encountering the tornado known as Mike Iaconelli. We followed Ike down lake and into another skinny pocket, as did Ike's armada. At the same time Edwin idled out trailed by HIS fans. He had to weave a careful path to emerge unscathed.
Ike is in the far back of a pocket. The water here is at least one degree warmer than any other place we've been.
So much for peace, though. He's leaving, the helicopter is arriving and 60+ boats will follow his every move.
Ike idled out toward the mouth of the cut, closer to Christie. They can't see each other due to the island between them but eventually their fleets will intersect.
Keep in mind that we’re really watching two races today: the race to win the Classic and the race to make the top-25 cut.
Win the Classic:
Iaconelli has another decent limit, but his largest right now is 3 pounds (he has two of them). Watching BASSTrakk early in the morning, quality is better than quantity. Cliff Pace (co-leader with Ike coming into today) has two bass that go 7 pounds, and he’ll probably use both of them on the weigh-in stage this afternoon.
Currently sandwiched in between Iaconelli and Pace right now is Brandon Palaniuk, but it’s a bit misleading. Palaniuk has a limit that goes 15-9, which is great, but the larger the limit, the harder it is to upgrade. He’s obviously on something good, but he needs to find a way to make that 15-9 a 19-5. It’s a lot easier to get creative, though, when you have almost 16 pounds swimming in the livewell.
VanDam is just plodding along (for lack of a better word) with a sack of 2-pounders.
I don’t mean to downplay the importance of a limit or he peace of mind it might bring to an angler, but when you’re talking winning a Classic, limits are assumed. It’s the type of limit that’s important.
Make the Cut:
Sitting on the cutline right now is Marty Robinson with 18-8 (two-day total). If you want to go with the traditional x2(-2) formula to find the cut line, it should finish around 22 pounds, 10 ounces.
When you consider that, according to BASSTrakk, Chris Lane already has 19 pounds, 6 ounces, he might actually have a shot at making the cut. What an incredible comeback that would be – he’s currently 22nd in the BASSTrakk standings.
However it unfolds, it’s going to be incredibly close. There are 13 anglers within a pound and a half of Robinson right now.
I'm pretty sure we're dead smack in the middle of 90% of the boats in the state of Oklahoma. We've followed Ike into a long skinny cut, but to get here we had to pass Jason Christie, who's fishing an island at the mouth. Two locations, separated by a few hundred yards and a raft of boats-- you could walk from one angler to the other without getting wet.