We've made the run downriver to the Stoddard Bay area where we were assaulted by high winds, driving rain and 4-foot waves yesterday.
Tis a far better day today with a nice breeze, a slight chop and no rain at the moment. The run down is scenic. High wooded hills line the banks. This is not Mark Twain's muddy Mississippi up here in the north country.
We find Takahiro Omori fishing what is known locally as "The Box." It's a riprap area in the middle of the river that blocks the river's flow. Omori has four in the box. He's slinging a shallow crankbait, his strong suit.
T.J., the ace photographer on our blogging team, is frustrated. It's three hours into our day and he's yet to get a decent fish catch photo. We just missed our chance when Vinson caught a good keeper as we approached him, but we were still out of lens range. We watched him fish for several minutes and then decided to look for greener grassbeds. Just as we got out of range again, Vinson caught another keeper, although it wasn't big enough to cull anything.
After a long idle, we've worked our way into a shallow, grassy pool bordered with riprap and spoil banks. Many of the top anglers are patrolling the rocks in search of largemouth. On our right is Yusuke Miyazaki, in fifth with an estimated 39 pounds or so. Dead ahead is Kelly Jordon, 48th with 24-3, according to BassTrakk. Kelly just missed a strike.
A hundred yards past Jordon, Brandon Card, last year's Rookie of the Year, and Cliff Pace, the reigning Bassmaster Classic champ, are on opposite sides of the low riprap wall. Those two are chatting about something, although the conversation is likely to be lopsided. "Game Face Pace" doesn't say much during competition, usually. Card, who's in third with 41-2 at this moment, just boated a fish, but it wasn't heavy enough to help him.
After crawling his boat over a couple of submerged logs, Pace left the premises and is heading upriver.
Tune into the War Room Brandon Palaniuk will speak with us live about his disqualification. Palaniuk's Day Two weight was disqualified when officials learned he culled from a limit, which is against Minnesota's laws. Palaniuk said he had no idea he broke a rule as he thought he was in Wisconsin. Hear from the angler himself today on the War Room,
There are now about 15 boats hanging outside of the small pocket that Aaron Martens is fishing. In that number, if my eyes do not deceive me, are good friends Tommy Sanders and Mark Zona. Of course, they want to see what the Mississippi River Rumble leader is up to this morning.
A pontoon boat, loaded with a half dozen or so folks, stopped by for a moment, but they've since moved on.
It remains very dark on the river today. There is almost no wind, which is much different than yesterday's gale force action the anglers endured.
We're on Martens until the end of the day.
Mark Zona and Tommy Sanders are headed out to track down Tommy Biffle and Aaron Martens. Check back soon for BassCams and blog updates from the dynamic duo.
Everything is biting so well for Kevin Short that they come in the boat unhooked!
Photo by Mike Augustin
After boating his fifth keeper of the day, Aaron Martens has ducked into a small canal just off the point he has been fishing all morning.
James Overstreet, ever searching for the best pictures possible, hopped off our boat and onto Martens' rig. Aaron is about 100 yards from us now, but it appears as if he's using the same technique as earlier — slowly drop shotting and milking this piece of water for all it's worth. He clearly was happy with what he's done so far, indicating as much when sidled up to him let Overstreet on the boat.
That heavy 4 1/2-pounder he bagged earlier seems to have eased up any pressure he may have felt and Aaron is confident in this location.
We have moved down to the lower end of Pool 8, where many of the current leaders are holed up. Greg Vinson is working some riprap lined with emergent grass. Just as we pulled up, he caught a 2-pounder that might cull one of the smaller bass in his limit. He's throwing a frog, mostly.
No one else is in sight, but BassTrakk shows a gang of anglers just around the bend. As we started our run downstream, we chatted with Chris Zaldain, who was working the same point where Palaniuk got into trouble yesterday.
Switching between tube baits and crankbaits, he had a pair of 3-pounders from the point already. I doubt he'll be culling anything from that particular spot in Minnesota today.