Kurt Dove with a 2 lb-er. Photo by Bassmaster Marshal Perry Johnson.
Bowman and I just caught up with leader Greg Vinson as he was putting what looked like his first keeper in the boat (he turned on his aerators after dropping the fish in the well).
One thing to note this morning, every angler we saw up river yesterday, including Vinson, was at most 30 feet from the bank. Vinson is that far off again but he caught that fish firing straight out towards open water.
"There coming over the deep water," Vinson said as he motioned for us to backup a little. "This is surprising," he said.
It's attention to detail like this that will help keep Vinson ahead of the curb if he's going to stay there. Calling an audible and backing off in the first 30 minutes after leading an Elite field is not an easy call to make.
But it's working as he's put another fish in the boat in the couple minutes it's taken to write this.
We just left Reese. What was a low fog has turned into a dense fog bank in the creek. It clears enough to run when we reach the main lake.
I'm in a boat with super photographer, Seigo, this morning. He brings so much camera gear that I had to squeeze in to find a seat.
Sometimes it pays to be small.
Our driver is B.J. Davis, a prison guard from Mt. Home.
We ran up a long creek with a low fog rising over rippling water. We were searching for Skeet Reese, who is in second place after day one.
We found him in the back of a quiet pocket with flat water. He's mixing it up, casting to the bank and into open water.
We watched him catch his first bass, a solid keeper. Reese appears relaxed and confident.
When we left Bull Shoals boat dock, it was clear sailing for the Elite anglers taking off.
We're about halfway up the lake and it doesn't look so clear anymore. We've run into a heavy bank of fog. We don't know if it's isolated or not.
No sooner than I type that and we arrive at the lake.
The fog has cleared some but you can see it moving in.
We quickly launch the boat and see Clark Reehm fishing off a point. He said some of the bends in the river got a little tricky with fog but that it wasn't socked in on their run this way.
But with just a few minutes on the water, the fog has gotten much heavier. We assume, or hope, a lot of these guys are where they are planning to fish. This will make it hard to move around and hard to find anglers.
If you wanted to get an idea of how isolated Bull Shoals lake is, take the trip that we're on right now.
We're headed from Bull Shoals to Lead Hill by land, saving ourselves the brutal 30-minute cold boat ride.
By land, it will take us almost an hour up and down valleys, over ridges and around knobs.
We're halfway there and at this point we've come close to hitting one deer, two turkeys and a cattle dog.
The place we're headed, Lead Hill, has a population of 287. Folks on these hills wear the "hillbilly" title with pride. They should too. This is some of the most beautiful land in the country, one of the better kept secrets this nation has to offer.
If we can make it over all the hills, around all the curves and through all the valleys without hitting a deer or a turkey, we plan on watching Greg Vinson for the first part of the morning.
There is a heavy layer of frost on the ground surrounding Bull Shoals Lake. The air temperatures are about 8 degrees cooler than they were yesterday with high-pressure skies. Today more so than yesterday we're seeng the classic post-front conditions that anglers have cussed forever.
Today will be the day where guys either live or die. Sight fishermen may be able to see some fish but there's no guarantee they'll still be there.
Some of the guys that caught them yesterday had wind in their favor. That was the biggest factor in their success. Today it's not blowing nearly as hard.
Those who catch them today will be the ones who forget about everything that happened yesterday and make the proper adjustments for today.