Tharp started idling toward the next dock but stopped well short of it to flip some laydowns. In the brushiest part of one tree, he hooked a big fish that got wrapped up in the tangle of branches. He had the fish pinned at the surface and the water was swirling, but he was afraid to exert more pressure and break his line. Suddenly, it was gone. He threw down his rod and sat down for 30 seconds with his head buried between his hands before reporting that it was a 9- or 10-pounder.
Max Leatherwood owes Jeff Kriet a soda.
Kriet and Leatherwood, the first Bassmaster representatives to see Paul Mueller’s huge Classic Day 2 limit, wagered a soda on guessing its weight.
Kriet, the 2010 Bassmaster Classic runner-up, guessed 29-12. Leatherwood, a long-time Bassmaster tournament “bump station” bass inspector, estimated it at 27-4. Mueller himself said, 33-8, having weighed each fish with a hand scale.
Mueller’s official weight, determined almost two hours later to thunderous applause from the crowd in Birmingham’s BJCC Arena, was 32-3. That rocketed Meuller up from 47th place to 5th, less than six pounds behind leader Edwin Evers – and won Kriet a soda.
Bassmaster.com recruited Kriet, who did not qualify for this year’s Classic, to interview Guntersville contenders yesterday as they came of the water. 1999 Bassmaster Classic Champion Davy will conduct the “Take Out Live” interviews today, starting at about 2:30 p.m.
Hear Kriet incredulously interview Mueller about his huge limit at this link: http://tinyurl.com/lleuxuo
As he left another unproductive dock, Tharp apologized to his gallery: "Sorry guys. I'm trying." He sped toward the mouth of the creek, stopping partway to hit a three-stall boathouse on the side of a point, but not leading into a defined pocket.
Though it couldn’t be called scrambling, Paul Mueller is sure digging around his boat quite a bit. He’ll toss one thing for a while, then root around a bit, pull out another rod then get back to casting. His cameraman has left him, likely to find some hotter action. That’s not to say that Mueller’s done, but there’s simply nothing going on at the moment. He’s still alternating between an Ima Rock’N Vibe lipless crankbait and ChatterBait with Reins swimbait trailer. The reason I know that is because we happened across Matt Paino, who imports all kinds of good Japanese tackle, including Ima, Deps, Reins and others. He’s hooked Mueller up with tackle since Mueller’s YouTube channel has exploded. The swimbait is a prototype that’s expected to be released at ICAST this summer.
DeFoe has checked his livewell several times. Apparently, he has a bass that might die. Sure enough, he digs out the bass and releases it. It was a small one. He knows that he can't win the Classic and take home the trophy if he has to weigh a small dead fish. Bassmaster rules do not allow the anglers to release dead fish. In addition, there is a penalty for dead bass.
I had to stop blogging for a moment to watch DeFoe battle and land a 4-pounder. This one elicits a scream and a fist pump.
Edwin Evers just cranked up and moved about 400 yards back toward the mouth of the Goose Pond area. He started fishing around an island but quickly changed sticks and turned his attention to an offshore grass patch.
Tharp spent a lot of time on the point dock to no avail. When he was done he idled across the cove and hit one on the opposite entry point. He's spending so much time on particular pilings that you might think he'd seen a bedding fish, but this is the dirtiest water we've encountered. No way he's seen anything, just has to hope big mama sucks in his jig.
Tharp missed a second bite on the dock, then worked his way around it without a third opportunity. Rather than hit the others in that same pocket, he made a run of a mile or so, straight to another boathouse. The apparent similarity of the two is that they're both at the entry points -- not sure if the bass spawn on them or use them as staging spots on the way in to bed.
Paul Mueller’s stagnation continues. The current is still flowing, the crowd is coming and going but the fish aren’t biting. However, he did mention yesterday that he didn’t have a fish until after noon, so we’re hoping in the next hour or so that things will pick up. Otherwise, it’s a lovely sunny day here in the South.