After 3 days of being our camera boat driver and watching other guys fish, Jonathon VanDam can't take it anymore. Once Cliff Pace left our area JVD broke out the fishing rod and tried to catch a big salmon. We had seen a big school rolling around near us. He tried a crankbait, then a spoon. No luck. "Man I don't know how the Marshals do it all day," he said. Of course most of the Marshals are thrilled to watch an Elite angler fish. Now we're off to check in on Edwin Evers.
Edwin is struggling. He only has four and they are probably under 9 pounds total.
Making things worse when we pulled up on him, his body language was telling us he had just lost one.
To make it a little more worse, Hank Cherry was in the middle of his flurry. The spectator noise was loud enough to carry the 600 yards we are away.
Evers, though, always figures out something in this event. He's finished second twice.
But like Ott DeFoe in his rookie season, Cherry's roll may be too hard to overcome.
Still a lot of time left, though.
In the last hour, Hank Cherry has started showing why these four All-Star finalists were fired up about coming to White Lake. Cherry has been on fire.
He moved back down to the mid-lake area after leaving Whitehall Marina and set up on another one of these sandbar flats that has a deep drop on the edge. He's caught two 3 1/2-pounders and a 4-pounder, plus two more small ones. All of them were smallmouths.
Unfortunately for us, we missed the action after having to run photographer Darren Jacobson back to the takeoff site to put together a photo gallery. But Cherry's marshal, Mike Ebach, just gave us a blow-by-blow account. Ebach manages the Gander Mountain store in Traverse City and is an avid bass fisherman. In other words, he's a trusted source.
If anything, Ebach said, he might be underestimating the size of the two 3 1/2 pounders. The 4-pounder he has no doubt about.
Cherry has continued to rely on his main weapons for the day: Damiki anchovy shad swimbaits, and a Brian's Bees chatterbait.
Under that black jacket is Steve Bowman, intrepid content man for Bassmaster.com. Cliff Pace rolled by and asked if he was taking a nap. A Spectator asked if he needed a private moment. Neither is right. Bowman is actually shielding himself from the bright sun in order to pick the best photos from today's All Star action. Check back this afternoon for some great stuff!
Cliff Pace is fishing in the Whitehall Landing Marina. He has caught 4 fish in here in the 30 minutes we've been watching him. There's a fair amount of vegetation floating in amongst these big boats. Cliff is skipping his bait around the boats and under the the docks. He tells us he's focused on the largemouth. Some of the other finalists are running around a bit, but Cliff is sticking with the marinas for now.
The take-off area is filling up. There are a couple marinas back here and all the competitors are in this area.
Jonathon tells us it's a good area, where lots of derbies have been won before.
We've watched Pace fill out his limit and start culling. Looks like around 10 pounds.
Hank Cherry has moved back up the lake into Whitehall Marina. I had a moment to chat with him and get the details of the lures he's working this morning.
- That last largemouth came on a Brian's Bees chatterbait.
- The swimbait that has produced most of his fish is a 4-inch Damiki in anchovy shad.
- He did miss a good fish earlier that grabbed a Senko and didn't get the hook. The bass jumped and spit out the Senko a few feet from where it grabbed it.
- He's also throwing a jerkbait some, and caught his first bass on a topwater bait, but hasn't thrown it again since early morning.
Cherry basically is imitating shad with all the white lures of various types.
"That's what they're primarily feeding on now," Cherry said.
As to his immediate plans, he said, "Just keep having fun. I'm having a ball."