Freddy "Boom Boom" Roumbanis, 4th Day Ramada Quest at Bull Shoals Lake. Photo by Bassmaster Marshal Troy Krodinger.
We've just finished our 25 mile run from up the river. Christie got the jump on us and we weren't able to catch up.
He likely slipped into a cove of creek. No time to find him. But we'll look for some of the others on the lower end.
Cliff Prince described his lure choices this week as "throwing everything but the kitchen sink at them."
His go-to bait, especially for his bigger fish, has been a tube fished on a Booyah football jig-head. But he's also Carolina-rigged a Yum Mighty Craw and used a shaky head worm "that Terry (Scroggins) made in his garage." The soft plastics were all in green-pumpkin or watermelon colors.
Regardless of where Prince ends up today, he's made major progress at Bull Shoals, where he finished 95th last year.
"When I came here last year, I was really lost," Prince said. "I may have been the only one who didn't figure it out. I think I beat three people."
Actually he beat four, and one of them was his buddy in Yocum Cove all week, Steve Kennedy. Prince's Patatka, Fla., pal Scroggins also made a major turnaround at Bull Shoals. He finished 92nd last year, which essentially cost him the 2012 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year title.
This is the 6th time Jason Christie is culling. He is poised to make an incredible comeback. Does he have enough?
Photo by Bassmaster Marshal Mikel Wyatt.
One of the friendliest people in Bull Shoals, Ark., was born in Mumbai, India. His name is Tejas Parekh, better known at T.J. He bought the Exxon convenience store in Bull Shoals just before the Elite Series came here last year, and quickly made a bunch of new friends.
For one thing, Parekh lowered the gasoline prices.
"We just went with the market rate," he said.
When the Elite Series comes to town, gas prices often go up, because people realize just how much fuel is consumed by these 250-horsepower outboards and the big rigs that pull them.
For another thing, Parekh opened extra early to accommodate the anglers.
He has followed that same plan this year, even more so. When he arrived the first day at 5 a.m. and saw anglers waiting, he started getting here at 4:45 the rest of the week.
Plus, he stocked up on the items that ran low during the tournament last year.
You don't have to be in this store long to realize that he takes time to take care of everyone, not just the Elite Series anglers. You can still write a personal check here, and it goes straight into the register, not through some electronic banking system, if Parekh recognizes you. And he seems to recognize almost everyone who walks through the door.
Parehk is especially thankful that the Elite Series has come back to Bull Shoals.
"I think I can speak for the whole town," he said. "We feel so fortunate you guys chose to come here for the second year in a row. You guys are putting us back on the map. Somehow it seemed like we were falling off of it."
Jason Christie is back where he's caught his weight. I'm sure he's hoping the school is ready to snack again.
He's found a deep hole where this bigger fish are sitting, probably waiting for their turn to hit the bank. Meanwhile, they are gorging on shad. He won't have much time. He has to allow at least 30 minutes to get back, which means not much more than that of fishing time.
After a few minutes of flipping and looking for bedding fish, we are back in the area we believe Jason Christie started this morning.
We are not where the breaking fish were, but in the creek below. As wonder would have it, there are fish breaking here. He's still looking for that 4-pound bite to seal the deal.
Jason Christie has made a move about 3 miles upriver, leaving the breakers behind. He's now in a cove where the wind is whipping through hard enough to almost create whitecaps.
It looks like he's still swimming the jig. True fortune shined on him when he found those breaking fish. If he's able to pick up 4-pound plus on this swing, then he's truly in a zone where he can do no wrong.
He quickly moves into a short pocket and begins flipping to flooded brush.
It had to have been a difficult decision for Cliff Prince to leave Yocum Cove at noon today, especially after what Steve Kennedy witnessed after noon there yesterday. But Prince caught his two biggest bass yesterday back down the lake in Gunnel Fork, which splits off from Little Sister Creek, not far from Bull Shoals Boat Dock.
The move has quickly paid off. Prince has culled up twice now. The latest was a football-shaped spotted bass that replaced a smallmouth. Prince also caught a good eating-size walleye. So the fish are definitely biting here.
Yocum Cove has quit producing for Cliff Prince. He just released a short fish. He hasn't caught anything that has helped him since he reached the five-bass limit.
"I thought for awhile that Steve (Kennedy) and I had caught them all," Prince said earlier. "But every fish I've caught today had two or three with it, so there's plenty of fish in here."
But Prince isn't sticking around to look for any more of them. He's headed out of here, and Cliff Pace is coming back in Yocum Cove.
Prince isn't leaving because of Pace's arrival. They seemed cordial here earlier this morning. Most importantly, Prince has planned to do this all day.
"I know I can't win it in this creek," he said. "I'm going back to the boat ramp where I caught my bigger fish."