Jeremy Starks is casting what looks to be a Carolina rig to a small point off the main lake.
"I have not had a bite," he says, looking bewildered .
It's very windy here. The sky is still overcast, but it is brighter than yesterday. Rain is supposed to move in this afternoon. I don't believe that will help the bite.
More boats are running about now. No doubt those who are struggling are feeling the pressure. It's do or die time to make the 50 cut.
In my last post I noted that KVD has never finished worse than 59th in an Elite event. Because I have a special mental issue that requires me to do such things, I did a little (actually a lot of) checking to find out who else might be about as good as the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all-time) when it comes to avoiding tournament disaster.
The answer is nobody. It's not even close.
KVD's worst finish is 59th in 67 previous events. The next "best worst" by an Elite pro who has fished at least one season is 79th by both Brandon Card and Ott DeFoe. Of course, they've fished a lot fewer tournaments than VanDam — 11 for Card and 19 for DeFoe — so the difference between them and KVD is a chasm that would dwarf the Grand Canyon.
Can you imagine fishing 67 tournaments at the highest level of the sport and with your worst finish you barely missed a check? On some level that may be even more impressive than all his wins.
Alton Jones just landed his second fish of the day. It is a good 5-pounder. He has two keepers.
Chris Zaldain with a 5 pounder. Photo by Bassmaster Marshal Chris Strickland.
Kota Kiriyama with #3. From Bassmaster Marshal Ryan Sower.
We left the creek where the pros are stacked like cord wood some time ago. After a good to bit of running we found Randy Howel fishing the very windy side of a bridge causeway. He says he has four small ones.
Fletcher Shryock passes under the bridge and gives us a thumbs up. Apparently, he's a having a good day.
We spot Kevin Hawk in the back of a pocket off the main section of a large creek. He has one bass. There's a still plenty of time, but he needs to get on track soon. He was in 38th place yesterday. He's in jeopardy of dropping out of the top 50..
Bassmster Marshal Chris Harber with Cliff Crochet, close to 3lbs, 2 in live well.
Yesterday I posted a few comments about the AOY race and mentioned that it's a battle of attrition at this point. It's tough to get yourself into the race, but it's easy to fall out of it.
On Day 1 at West Point, here's how the top 10 in the AOY race fared:
1. Edwin Evers - 40th with 7-12
2. Terry Scroggins - 35th with 7-15
3. Kevin VanDam - 31st with 8-3
4. Ish Monroe - 19th with 9-4
5. Jeff Kriet - 76th with 5-9
6. Brandon Card - 96th with 2-8
7. Gary Klein - 28th with 8-7
8. Jason Williamson - 54th with 7-0
9. Jason Christie - 91st with 4-0
10. Bobby Lane - 65th with 6-3
Kriet, Card and Christie will likely take themselves right out of the race unless they can rebound today. Finishes that low are killers in the AOY battle.
The good news for the other guys is that none of the top anglers in the points standings are doing very well so far at West Point. Of the top 10, Ish Monroe is having the best tournament, and he's only 19th.
A big part of the struggle to win AOY is to avoid a disastrous finish. When you can turn your bad finish into 55th place rather than 87th, you've saved yourself a bunch of points that you'll need at the end. Kevin VanDam is easily the best at this. in his Elite career, his worst finish is 59th at Clear Lake in 2010.
That's mind boggling! Every rookie in 2013 has already had a finish worse than that, and we're only three tournaments in!
Josh Bertrand with a nice 3 pounder. Marshal: Ryan Norton.