I stopped blogging for a moment, stood up and took a look at the water in Stoddard Bay. It is the color of coffee with a double shot of cream, even in the most protected area in the back of the bay.
What a mess. The muddy water will definitely be a game changer for some of the Elite finalists.
We're in Stoddard Bay. We can't find Roumbanis, but we did run into Randy Howell. We watch him pluck a keeper from a patch of duck wart with a Senko.
He's not happy to be here. Plan A for Howell was to lock down to Pool 9. A barge in the lock has him on hold.
"The river is so muddied up from the rain it might make it tough on some of the other guys," Howell said.
"If I can get through the lock to my fish, I could make a big move today. The water is a lot cleaner down there."
Howell fishes a frog over a mix off matted aquatic grass, hoping to boat a few more before the lock is free.
My boat driver today is Lonnie Mesar from Marshfield, Wis. Also aboard is TJ Maglio of Madison, Wis. He'll be taking photos today.
We ran south to Stoddard Bay looking for Fred Roumbanis, who started the day in fifth place. I stopped by his boat yesterday after the weigh-in. He told me he is frogging.
There's no doubt about that. Fishing a hollow, weed less frog is one of his strengths. The carpet on the front deck of his bass boat had so much dried algae and duckweed on it that it looked like it had been slimmed.
A clump of grass was stuck to his electric motor pedal, looking for all the world like a potted plant.
We ran through patches of debris that was probably washed into the river by heavy rain last night. Included in the mess were some huge logs that would make short work of a lower unit.
With Tommy Biffle, as he predicted, off to a hot start, this is shaping up to be a tortoise vs. hare race. Aaron Martens hasn't been catching many fish -- 15 or 20 a day. And it has been a grind for him. One here, one there.
I don't imagine Biffle has been often compared to a rabbit, but he's clearly the rabbit today.
Martens has been throwing a bit of everything, from a Spook to a drop shot, and still doesn't have a keeper.
"I think by 8:30 it'll be over," Biffle smack-talked at takeoff this morning. "(Aaron) might not have his lures tied on by then."
Biffle also said he's gunning for a 20-pound bag, after three days when only Brandon Palaniuk hit the 18-pound mark and 14 pounds was a good day.
It all shapes up for an interesting final, especially with predictions of more rain at some point today.
Randy Howell is delayed at the lock because it took on a barge. He's got to wait about an hour now. Howell is fishing in Pool 8 until the lock is available.
Submitted by Bassmaster Marshal Tom Ebertowskip
Biffle still is catching fish, but the last two he snagged were undersized. He's still at three fish for about 7 or 7 1/2 pounds.
There are 10 spectator boats on him now, not including ours.
Looks like the Oklahoma pro is going to switch rods. He's digging into his well right now.
Tommy Biffle is throwing a creature-type bait, it appears, and it's paying dividends. Within a span of 90 seconds, he just put two more bass in the live well. They look to weigh about two pounds plus each, so that should give him seven pounds or so with three fish -- and it's not even 7:15 a.m.
That's the way you stay in the hunt for this Elite Series tournament title.
Shaye Baker has been a great addition to the Bassmaster.com crew. He can do a bit of everything, and most of it well.
At dinner this week writer Steve Wright made the observation that he'd never seen Baker eat a green vegetable. Maybe no vegetables at all, other than french fries. That night he was eating a burger and fries, like he does on many nights at our tournaments. We're not trying to turn him into a vegetarian, just hoping to see him live past age 30.
By the way, that's a green bean you see in the photo passing Baker's lips. And no, he didn't eat it.