We've been running all over this mid- to upper-section of the lake. You get a good feel for how big this lake is when you are looking for anglers.
You can literally boat for miles and not seen another boat, outside of the occasional crappie fishermen.
There are numerous creeks, each winding crazily about and each dotted with their own feeders and pockets. If someone wanted to hide from the world, this would be the place to do it.
For the last 20 minutes we've been striking out when it comes to finding an Elite guy, let alone one of leaders.
Another nice spot for Matt Greenblatt.
Ott Defoe's first three catches. Photos by Bassmaster Marshal Frank Untalan.
Jeff Hamilton .. Hackney #3 ... 3.5 lb Smallie
Photographer James "Osprey" Overstreet reports that Jeremy Starks has had a hot start to a cool morning in the Ozarks, courtesy of smallmouth bass.
Starks entered the day tied for 10th place with 14 pounds, 3 ounces. He has almost duplicated that weight with four smallies that weigh about 13 pounds.
But Starks has found the going a bit tougher in the last hour, since the sun has moved up in the sky and there's no ripple on the water.
Overstreet has also observed Scott Rook this morning. Once the sun got up a bit, Rook put his rod down, kicked his trolling motor on high and has been looking for spawners.
If no wind blows today, the majority of this 100-man field will be doing some version of the same thing. It could be Tuesday all over again. It was Tuesday afternoon during practice when Jeff Kriet observed bass moving to spawning beds "by the thousands. There were fish everywhere."
The storm and cold front Thursday pushed many of those fish back off the banks. A warm, calm day, like today, might bring them right back.
Iaconelli is fishing down a bank that leads onto a small pocket. Cliff Prince was approaching the pocket from the opposite direction. Prince pulls up his electric motor and leaves before they get too close.
Ike started in an area where the water had muddied. It failed to yield a bass and cost Iaconelli 90 minutes of fishing time.
His livewell is empty. Strike that. He just boated his first keeper. Ike is focussed but is relaxed enough to chat with his Marshall.
"I haven't seen one on a bed yet," Ike says.
He is fishing slowly enough near the bank that he can scan the bottom ahead of him for spawning bass.
The water temperature in this creek is only 54 degrees, so the sun has yet to work it's magic.
That is likely to happen this afternoon. The big females are as eager to come up as a throng of screaming teenage girls at a Justin Bieber concert.
Given the warming trend, there should be some big momma a on the bed before this tournament is over.
John Murray is out fishing off the bank a bit. All three guys we've seen this morning are fishing totally different from one another. Vinson's working one area deep to shallow with a reaction bait and Montgomery was pitching to flooded bushes.
Murray is dragging something around super slow. No keepers so far but Murray had some nice fish on bed in this same general area. They aren't on bed anymore and his goal now is to relocate them grouped up somewhere. They have to be around here somewhere. Don't they?