"Bobby just made a move and got us out of the wind," said Bobby Lane's Marshal. "He pulls up...and on the third cast, he cracks a 3 1/4-pounder."
We're trying to follow Roumbanis as he streaks downriver. He takes a shortcut across a flat out of the marked channel. We elect to not risk it.
We can see him in the distance, but now we're stalled while trying to idle across a flat. The outboard just overheated due to grass clogging the water intake. Lonnie resorts to the trolling motor.
Lonnie has been standing on the trolling motor pedal since my last blog. We've finally crawled within 80 yards if where Roumbanis is fishing. We see him catch and release one near a rocky point of a man made structure in the middle of the river. He catches and releases another one.
The water is choppy here but Roumbanis is diligently fishing a frog. Few fishermen would have elected to fish a frog in this spot under these conditions.
Roumbanis tells us he was catching them on every cast before we got here. He hooks one that looked to be heavy and loses it. Then he quickly boats two keepers that won't cull. He needs something that'll go 4 pounds or better to have a shot at winning this event. Aaron Martens reportedly has a good limit.
Aaron Martens just caught another bass just like the other bass in his livewell. He put it on a balance beam with at least three bass from his livewell, and we're not sure which one he kept. If he culled up, it wasn't by much.
Martens is working his way north on a series of docks along the west side of Black River. He's still well within sight of the Clinton Street bridge.
James Overstreet and I got out on a dock and visited with Martens briefly. He never minds talking and fishing at the same time.
Now he's making a move, probably back to his original spot. The wind is whipping out here now.
Either the sky is growing darker or I'm dying. Fifty-percent chance on either one of those choices, too.
Martens has swung and missed twice in the last 10 minutes.
Roumbanis slides a keeper in over a bright green carpet of duck wart and promptly releases it. The water is protected and calm in here, but there is enough of a breeze to push Roumbanis silently along.
He is making long casts and fishing his frog fast with quick, short twitches.
Here's something to keep in mind: BASSTrakk currently has Aaron Martens with 14 pounds, 5 ounces. James Overstreet, who has seen a few bass in his day, doesn't think Martens has a 3-pounder in the boat.
In fact, he heard Martens say earlier, "Where are all the 3-pounders?"
Overstreet believes Martens now has five bass that are cookie-cutter 2 3/4-pounders. That would put him at 13 3/4 pounds, which isn't that far off BASSTrakk.
But in a race this tight, it could be the difference. So who are you going to believe: JO or BASSTrakk's lying eyes?
We idled for eternity across a very wide, shallow, muddy and choppy Mississippi River in search of Fred Roumbanis. He is proving harder to find than the Lost Sea Scrolls.
I'll be dogged. There he is, right where we started looking for him this morning in Stoddard Bay.
BASSTrakk has him going on 14 pounds. He's frogging away, just as we expected he would be.
The water in this stretch is still clear. Far across the same bay is Todd Faircloth. He wasn't here this morning either.
I saw Roumbanis' two frog boxes last night. They are 2- or 3-inch-deep utility boxes in which he can stuff the frogs into it on their noses. Those two boxes must hold at least 200 frogs. Roumbanis has a frog for every occasion.
"I've got three good ones and two that weigh about 2 1/2 pounds each," he says.
Roumbanis has caught three bass in Stoddard but nothing that would allow him to cull. If he doesn't sack a good one here soon, he says he will go back where he caught the bass that are in his well.
Looks like Tommy Biffle was just able to cull for the first time today. He's fishing a narrow area of the Black River and slowly working a heavily treed shoreline. The bass he just boated looks like it may go about 2 pounds, which probably gave him a few extra ounces to his Day 4 total. That should have him in the 12-pound range, but again, that's just going by eyesight.
The weather has held off so far, and we certainly are thankful for that.