Pete Ponds starting off the day with two quick keepers. Pete made a 5 mile run to some new water mid lake. He caught a short fish and then just landed his 5th keeper. His spirits are high and he is feelinOne is a good one. He is fishing a drain with moving current from the heavy rains yesterday. He is having good about his start this morning.
We are running a classic river search mission.
Biffle is sticking his nose in some nooks and crannies trying to make something happen. It reminds me of lower Mississippi River fishing. The last little spot he nudged into and he came face to face with a limb. It broke his sunglasses, but he kept pushing in.
We are back where we started this morning and the home of his only keeper.
We got word that Hank Cherry had caught a big one, not far from where James Overstreet and I were following Aaron Martens, so we made a move. And Cherry was on the move when we got close.
We followed him into Yellowjacket Creek, under a bridge and then Cherry shut it down to fish a boat dock. When we pulled up, he said, "You want a picture of that big one?"
He pulled a largemouth bass from his livewell that Cherry estimates at 7 or 8 pounds. This iPhone photo, taken from a distance, doesn't reveal how big it looked to Overstreet and me. We agree with Cherry's assessment. It's a game-changer, possibly.
Cherry started the day in 8th place - 3 pounds, 3 ounces behind Day Three leader Tommy Biffle. He's got another 1 1/2- to 1 3/4-pounder in the livewell.
"If I get three more bites, they're going to have to beat me," he said.
Cherry is swimming a white jig and trailer around boat docks.
By the way, he said he swung that big one in the boat. Cherry deserves some good fortune after the heartbreaker he missed during the Bassmaster Classic on Grand Lake.
We are way up the river with Biffle. For the most part he's been running bays throwing a spinnerbait, occasionally picking up a jig when he comes to a lay down.
He's battling an influx of mud and debris. The river is flowing pretty good and there's everything that will float coming down with it. That means the water is rising.
The cool rain may have dropped the water temp too. It's at 58 degrees, but the sun is shining.
In some ways this is classic Biffle conditions but the rising water and dropping temp may have him in a bit of a corner.
Right now he's in a backwater lake off the main river. It's shallow and the mud is pouring in. My guess he's hoping there is clearer water in the back.
He's asked us to stay back. So we can't verify. Either way, it looks like he's scrambling.
This looks like a big one for Cherry. More info to come.
In the last pocket he said he a 2-3 pounder chase but stopped and turned. He follow it up with something slow but no luck on that one.
He has now moved a few pockets up Wehadkee Creek. Water is stained and warming up. Its 5 degrees warmer than the first stop of the AM.
Faircloth has slowed his already slow pace by switching to what looks like an unweighted sinking worm. He's practically casting into somebody's back yard right now.
He has a gaggle of six spectator boats now. The sunshine must be pulling them out of the woodwork. The sky is turning blue and the sun feels wonderful.
Aaron Martens moved away from the weigh-in site, but not far. The Highway 109 bridge is just around the corner. And he's quickly put two fish in the boat, giving him four for the day.
They came on consecutive casts with a shaky head worm.
There's not much weight to either one, and the second fish was bleeding badly.
Martens just told us, "Fish-killer."
This one took it deep, and it may have to stay in the livewell all day. You can't release a dead fish, so Martens may be stuck with this one.
After fishing a pocket twice, Faircloth hops to a fresh pocket. Two honking Canada Geese fly in to join him. He must be infringing on their territory. Faircloth hooks and lands one on a white buzzbait. This one is short of 14 inches, too, the minimum size here. Faircloth releases the bass.
The bass was short but maybe it told Faircloth that the buzzbait is the deal.
The water here in Beech Creek has more color than anything I've seen elsewhere during this tournament
Casey has moved down south and into Wehadkee Creek. He is fishing the same pattern, and that is the back of a pocket casting to the scrub brush from where the lake came up. This shallow pocket is loaded with stuff.
Report from Russell Sanders