With Tommy Biffle not catching any fish, Steve Bowman is trying to make something happen. Anything. You may notice that's a turkey call in his mouth (Hounds Tooth by Lyle Gilbert). Bowman is an avid turkey hunter and in this idle time he's practicing calls. We're departing Potato Creek and Tommy Biffle, going in search of the leader in Basstrakk Skeet Reese.
A B.A.S.S. cameraman captures the action as Pete Ponds changes his lure.
Skeet Reese is going to keep fishing until the last possible minute. He's not far from the check-in site, and he's got a 5-pounder here that he's been trying to catch all week.
But James Overstreet is back in the boat with me, and we're out of here. It's almost weigh-in time, and it should be a good one.
James Overstreet is in the boat with Skeet Reese and has been texting me details about Reese's method of success. He's not targeting bass on spawning beds, but bass that have spawned and are guarding fry. Most have been in small clumps of grass.
He's throwing a weightless green-pumpkin colored worm in these grass clumps right next to the bank. Reese said this area has been pummeled this week, but believes the sunshine today has made the difference.
He's using Berkley Nanofil 12-pound-test line with a fluorocarbon leader.
Reese thinks the bass are attacking the weightless worm because they think it's a bluegill.
With the intensity of an Elite Series event, and the crowd at yesterday's weigh-in - despite the rain - sometimes we forget that not everyone on this lake is into bass fishing. Observers around Skeet Reese just got a reminder of that.
The sea of spectator boats had to part as a white-haired man piloting an older model party barge came back into the creek, near where Reese is fishing.
"What's everybody doing back here?" the man said, as he eased his boat through the crowd.
Nobody seemed to know quite what to say to him.
I guess he realized that folks weren't too happy with him, so he added, "Just trying to get to my dock."
As he has every right to do.
Skeet Reese has attracted a big crowd in the creek behind Highlands Marina off the main lake, and he's putting on a show.
All of a sudden, Reese has got a cameraman and photographer James Overstreet in his boat, and he's not slowing down. Reese just caught another fish off a spawning bed, which looked to weigh about three pounds.
When asked how much weight he's got now, Reese said, "I don't know. More than I had!"
And he dropped a 2 3/4-pounder back in the lake.
There were at least 15 boats back here when Overstreet and I arrived. The spectators erupted with cheers when Reese hoisted that fish in the air.
An elderly couple has come down to their dock to sit in lawn chairs in the shade and watch Reese do his thing. Reese hooks a bass and it hangs up on an old dock 20 feet from were the couple is sitting. Reese moves over to the dock, lays down and gets a handle on the bass. It's a small one, but it's hard to tell when you hang one like that.
Got to go. Reese's Power-Poles are down.
That's a photo of Travis McDermott, our boat driver today. He's from Marietta, Ga., with wife Heather and 2-year-old son Brock at home. Travis is an avid angler and was a winning co-angler fishing at Lake Murray in 2008.
He's a full-time student studying to be a chiropractor. He's been a B.A.S.S. member for 15 years. Travis has kept us in good humor today with stories and jokes. He knows these waters well. "When I'm out on the water, this feels like where I'm supposed to be."
Pete is feeling a little better about his five-fish stringer weight now. I have been holding back a distance to give him plenty of room and had him around 10 pounds. In talking to Pete, sounds like his weight is a little better than what I have him estimated for on BASSTrakk. Tough to tell the size of these fish at a distance. He might be closer to 11 or 12 pounds.
Reese slowly works his way around Perch Creek. He hasn't put down his Power Poles since he caught the bass on the bed. As I write this he screams. He just missed another big one.
He hooks the bass on the next cast and hauls in another fatty. The crowd, which has grown to 20 boats, screams their support.
Now Reese sets up on another bed. His Power Poles are down. I'm thinking this California boy is feelin' it under a bright sunny sky.