Since only eight anglers have limited both days on the Sabine River, there's a pretty good chance that someone who hasn't limited will be in the hunt to win on Sunday. It's happened before.
Three times in Elite history the winner did not limit every day. One winner failed to catch a limit on two of the competition days.
In 2006, Kelly Jordon won at the Potomac River after failing to limit on Day 3. Casey Ashley won at Smith Mountain in 2007 despite not catching a limit on the final day. And in 2010 at the California Delta, John Crews won yet failed to catch a limit on either the first or third day. So, it can happen, but it's rare.
Alton Jones and Dean Rojas are fishing in close proximity at the moment. They've been in this same area all week, but this morning Jones, in the foreground of the photo, pulled up within casting distance of Rojas. Shortly after that, Jones drove around Rojas and pulled away. Rojas turned to the nearby camera crew and expressed a little bit of unhappiness.
Matt Herren, Stephen Browning and Cliff Pace are all fishing the "duck pond".
Photo by Derek Mangold
Four of the anglers who made the cut to the top 50 today failed to catch a single keeper on one of the earlier two days. John Murray and Takahiro Omori zeroed on Day 1. They're 23rd and 36th, respectively. Hank Cherry (31st) and Matt Reed (40th) zeroed on Day 2. Getting skunked one day but making the first cut has only happened seven other times in Elite history, most recently in 2011 on the Arkansas River when Shaw Grigsby and Jonathon VanDam did it.
JVD ended up 6th in that tournament, becoming the only angler ever to zero on one of the first two days but still make the final cut to 12 and fish on Sunday. Murray, Omori, Cherry and Reed have their work cut out for them if they hope to fish tomorrow.
Cajun Baby Cliff Crochet is flipping like a DJ in some sort of 1979 disco. He's still working this same piece of water that produced for him Thursday and Friday. He just threw to a cypress knee and shook off what appeared to be a 12 or 13-inch fish. No keepers though, as far as any of us can tell.
The Sabine River is acting a little like that "mayhem" character in the Allstate TV commercials. It's leaving a mess in its wake. "I'm the Sabine River, and I'm in a bad mood. Think you can catch bass here? Guess again."
Three anglers failed to catch a single keeper in two days on the water, including rookie Kelley Jaye. You can bet that wasn't how he wanted to start his Elite career. Two other rookies finished last in their Elite debuts (James Niggemeyer in 2007 and Keith Poche in 2010). They weathered that storm and eventually found some blue skies on the other side.
This week Ott DeFoe suffered the worst finish of his brief but impressive Elite career. He was 79th, and that will put a real damper on his chances of winning Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year this year. Ditto for former AOYs and perennial AOY contenders Michael Iaconelli (83rd) and Aaron Martens (85th). If they hope to make a run at AOY in 2013, they've got no more room for error.
Unlike yesterday when he caught 12-4 and moved into 8th place with
20-6 overall, Kevin VanDam has Watermelon Bay to himself this morning.
Four other anglers were in here with VanDam on Friday, but none made
the top 50 cut.
Well, VanDam is never alone when he's fishing an Elite Series event.
However, even the armada of spectators is minor compared to normal KVD
standards. There are only 10 observer boats following him at present.
VanDam has no keepers in the boat, and has landed one short bass. But
there's plenty of fish activity here. Mullet are flopping on the
surface almost constantly.
Photo by Jim Gilbert