I’m going to take you inside Cliff Pace’s head at the top of every hour from now until it’s time for him to check in. This is just pure guessing/editorializing, in case that isn’t clear, we don’t have the technology to actually get inside his head … yet. At this point, I really thought he’d be celebrating in his head, but this is getting serious.
My last bass was four hours ago, but that still doesn’t mean it’s time to panic. Right? What could I do to go catch a 10-pound limit?
No. I can’t think that way. I have to stay calm and stay patient. The only thing that could make this worse right now would be to abandon what got me here right at the time it gets hot, and always wonder what could have been if I had stayed the course. Or is it worse to not adjust and just keep doing the same thing and expect different results. Isn’t that the definition of insanity?
One spot. Just one flurry. Just one little family or one fat aunt. That’s all I need. Where are they? Am I fishing too fast? What is going on?
No. Stop. Positive thoughts. This lake is full of bass and your next cast will catch a fish. Three hours is a lot of time. Fish in the morning don’t count more than fish in the afternoon. This cast is bass No. 3.
Nope. Next cast. On second thought, this place is dead. Time to move.
Cliff just hooked up and swung what many of us thought could be the Classic winning fish into the boat. Unfortunately it was a drum.
After the drum, he hooked up almost immediately. When he went to swing this fish it broke his line. Probably another drum, but it was on the other side of the boat so we couldn't tell for sure from this distance.
For the first time this week, we ran down the lake at full speed and didn't have to wear multiple layers of face and head protection.
Don't get too excited, Ike fans. It wasn't much of an upgrade, but it did help. Since Iaconelli has been accused of being a chronic big-eyer of bass, a more accurate estimate of his weight may be in the high 11-pound or low 12-pound range. His cull came from a a marnia as he was flipping a jig in and around parked boats. He set the hook, and the fish came flying at him, across a cable and into his boat. He's heading toward the mouth of Ketchum now, but is cranking his way out rather than idling. We've still got a contingency of just less than 30 boats with us. Trolling motor's up, gotta jet.
Pace is back where we first encountered him this morning. The spectator boats are much closer than they were at the last stop. He has three hours to make something happen. We're anxious to see some fish catches, but also curious about the biggest final day lead squandered in Classic history. Ken Duke?
The bite has slowed considerably from 10 to noon just about every day this week, and we’re seeing that again today. Is this part of the typical lull or is it, as Zona mentioned on the Lowrance War Room, the fish shutting down because of a change in weather?
It’s considerably warmer today than it was yesterday at noon, and it’s only getting warmer. The harder this afternoon is, particularly on Cliff Pace, the more anglers who have a chance.
Kind of an interesting throw away thought: There was discussion before this event about whether or not to let competing anglers know what we “know” from BASSTrakk, including the other anglers’ weights. It was ultimately decided against, but I wonder how many anglers out there would start dreaming a little bigger right now if they knew about Pace’s early troubles?
Yesterday a few of the anglers reported catching bass with the tails of larger shad sticking out of their throats.Not only that, 30 percent of the anglers reported that shad-type colors were most productive for them, a big change from Day Two where bait colors were all over the map.
Could the shad bite be coming on? Will crankbaits, spinnerbaits or even swimbaits be a factor today? Can't wait to find out.
Ike's just finished the long idle to the back of Ketchum Creek. He's back to working docks and the gravelly bank between them with a jerkbait, Shad Rap and jig. Edwin Evers was fishing this area the first day and caught a small keeper on a shallow flat with a jerkbait. Besides the temperature being warmer today, the conditions are much the same.
Cliff Pace has made another move up the lake. Before starting up the big motor he got on the back deck of his boat and pleaded with the assembled masses to keep a respectful distance at the next spot. It seems to have worked. He's just inside the point to a big cove and everyone else is bobbing on the main lake.
While Grand Lake is known for its abundance of 4- and 5-pound bass, there are some lunkers in this lake. Cliff Pace proved that Saturday with two in the 7-pound range.
But we're talking true lunkers here, i.e., 10-pounders.
The Oklahoma Dept. of Wildlife Conservation started a "lake record program" for the state's primary water bodies about five years ago. Only old state records were grandfathered into this list. For Grand Lake, the largemouth bass leader is a 10.9-pounder caught March 15, 2012. It's recent evidence that a few lunkers live here.
While a double-digit largemouth is unlikely today, it's not impossible on Grand Lake.