The rain has abated, and we've started hopscotching upriver, looking for pros catching fish. Our first find was Paul Elias, fishing a construction zone under the I-90 bridge. Elias said he has one in the well. We just watched him catch a short fish and toss it back. He's drifting with the current and cranking a small swimbait around rootwads and branches. A decent-size northern pike grabbed the lure, and Elias landed and released it, too. He needs a good limit of the right species to move up from 31st.
Biffle works over one patch of flooded trees for several minutes and plucks three short bass from the branches.
As I write this, he boats three more bass. One of them is big enough to measure. It passes muster and Biffle adds it to his box.
Two spectator boats are following Biffle and staying well back to stay out of his way. They are also checking in with BASSTrack to see how the other pros are doing.
The weather has finally calmed here in southwest Wisconsin, and the spectator boats are out in force. There currently are 13 boats on Aaron Martens, who continues to patiently work a very small area just off the Mississippi. Everyone is giving the Alabama pro his distance, though.
Biffle has finally ended a long dry stretch with what looks to be a keeper. He measures the bass and tosses it back. Before making the next cast he runs his line through his fingers to check for nicks.
Biffle swung and missed two times before catching the short bass. With both instances he immediately dropped his Power-Poles, dug out a fresh soft plastic bait and worked the bass over.
Although he was unable to coax a second strike from either bass, the instances clearly demonstrated what a boon Power-Poles are to the Elite pros. At this level of competition, you are severely handicapped if your boat isn't equipped with Power-Poles.
When the rain stops, it's time to put the camera down for a second and grab a Diet Dew!
You meet the nicest people under a bridge. My companions, Lonnie Mesar (driver) and T. J. Maglio (Bassmaster.com photographer), and I just watched 12-year-old Jack Mulholland catch a small bass while his dad's boat was seeking refuge under the same bridge where we've been parked since the rain started.
We trolled over to chat with the family. Jeff Mulholland, along with his wife, Robyn, daughter, Danielle, and Jack, drove down from Elgin, Minn., Friday to watch the fishing and the weigh-ins.
Jack's rooting for Todd Faircloth, who won the La Crosse Elite last year and was in fourth at the start of today.
Jeff is a member of the Dumbro Valley Bassmasters club, and he's disappointed in his home state's no-culling rules. "The only reason Minnesota had the rule was because Wisconsin did. Wisconsin changed their law, and Minnesota didn't," he said.
This morning's action has been punctuated by bad weather, but Aaron Martens just put a change to that.
He hooked into a really big bass a minute ago and it took him a full minute to bring the fish in. He worked both sides of the boat, from front to back, to haul it in.
"About 4-6," Martens said after he boated the bass. "That one really fought."
Indeed it did. We weren't even sure it was going to be bass until he pulled it from the dark water here on the Mississippi.
We're being told that he has four fish that go about 11 pounds right now. That big bass he just boated in anchoring the bag, for sure.
Those are the fish that are going to keep him atop the leaderboard.