After hitting one more spot in Seibold Creek without a bite, Tharp sped downlake to a spot we haven't seen him fish during the tournament -- although it's not far from where we found him early on Wednesday's practice day. It's exposed to a lot of boat wakes. With an hour to go he needs a big bite.
It's back to one of the early-morning spots for Edwin Evers. He just ran to the back of the creek that produced his biggest fish of today's early stages. The wind is picking up a little more and blowing straight into this creek. We're figuring Evers has until 2:15 CT before he needs to head back to the takeout. The clock is ticking, and Evers needs to engineer a late scoring drive to win this thing. In this case, late scoring drive means a 6-pounder or better.
Faircloth is south of South Sauty Creek at the moment and has roughly 25 pounds in the boat. He’s got his Power-Poles down to slow his drift; the wind is blowing from the southwest at the moment, pushing him up the lake. He’s working what I’d guess is a Strike King Red Eye Shad and is keeping a close eye on his electronics, supposedly throwing up to a small submerged island.
Has Randall Tharp made the key adjustment he predicted yesterday he’d need to win?
“The water’s warmed up six degrees, they should be biting better than they are,” Tharp told 2010 Classic Runner-up Jeff Kriet in a “Take Out Live” webcast interview, minutes after he came off the water on Day 2. “And they are biting somewhere, I just have to make the right adjustments to win this tournament tomorrow.”
After going more than half the day with only two bass in his livewell, Tharp might have made the adjustment he needed – BassTrakk indicates he recently moved back into second place, unofficially, after boating his third and fourth fish of the day, for an estimated 15 pounds, 5 ounces – 3 pounds, 12 ounces behind unofficial leader Randy Howell.
“The Randall Tharp adjustment right there, catching two more fish, getting him near 15 pounds – [that’s] absolutey enormous!” Mark Zona said minutes ago, reacting to the news on the “War Room” live webcast.
This Classic just keeps getting curiouser and curiouser …
We've found Tharp in a section of the lake where we've seen many other top competitors fishing over the course of the week, although we haven't seen anyone on this precise spot. It's within sight of where Fred Roumbanis caught his monster on Friday so we know there's big-fish potential.
We’ve left Paul Mueller and found Todd Faircloth slinging a giant lipless crankbait. Just as we were pulling up, his rod doubled over and he crouched down and the fight with a 4-plus was on. The fish bit at the end of his cast so a long battle ensued with the fish jumping multiple times. He led the fish around his Skeeter until he was able to get enough momentum to lift it into the boat. He’s culling 3-pounders right now.
As we gorged ourselves last night in a local Mexican restaurant, a woman came over and told Overstreet he looks like "a young Kenny Rogers." After today's healthy dose of sun and extensive boat rides, he looks more like a cross between Kenny Rogers and a California Raisin.
We just took a 30-minute ride. Shortly after Tharp caught a fish at his starting spot, he decommitted and pulled the trolling motor for a long ride down the lake.
As a result of his diminished gallery, we lost him along the way and ended up going too far. We called his cameraman, who told us where to backtrack. He also mentioned that Tharp caught another keeper. Keep hope alive.
After making two moves, Evers pulled up on a bank and boated a 4-pounder. That's going to bump him up about two pounds. He landed a 3-zoo under as I was writing that last sentence, so that could bolster his total by another pound. Are we witnessing some fourth-quarter heroics?
DeFoe runs farther out into the middle of the main lake and fishes a ridge. It's been a long dry spell, but within five minutes he catches a bass that weighs more than 7 pounds. He sets the hook and the bass leaps out of the water. We all gasp at the size of the fish. DeFoe does the kabuki dance while fighting the bass from one side of the boat around his outboard motor to the other side before he gets a grip on it.
DeFoe is pumped. He holds the bass high for the fans.
"That's the kind of bass that'll win the Bassmaster Classic," he shouts.
We've got real excitement going now. DeFoe has a shot.
Evers just landed another one and promptly tossed it over the other side of the boat. Seconds later, he moved to a spot behind the Goose Creek Marina.
Perhaps it's the time of day, warming water temperature, or the chop the wind has put on the water. Whatever the case, the pace of fish catches is picking up for Evers.