Through the first seven Elite events of 2014, only two anglers had earned a check at every tournament this season: Greg Hackney and Gerald Swindle. Swindle stumbled this week at Cayuga, finishing 83rd. After two days Hackney leads the event, making him the only Elite pro to make a check at every stop in 2014, and that's a big accomplishment.
Matt Herren still working Cayuga Lake
Todd Faircloth decided to make his last stand elsewhere. We are up the lake about 2 miles on the grassbed where he caught his biggest fish today.
As we got ready to leave, Zaldain had hooked into another fish, losing it at the side of the boat. I don't know if it was a bass or one of the toothy critters in this pond. And I don't know if Faircloth saw the caught or lost fish before he decided to leave.
Less than hour left. I'm sure the pressure is mounting.
This last spot is paying off for Faircloth with bites.
In the last few minutes he's caught two, but none big enough to help.
Getting bites, though, is a good thing
Greg Hackney just explained why he started here on the west bank this morning and why he's here again this afternoon. It was here where Hackney was able to cull a 4-pounder with a 5-pounder late during his big Day 2. He also shook off a big one here before heading to the weigh-in.
It will take a pretty big one to do Hackney any good at this time. He's got nothing but quality in his livewells.
Greg Hackney apparently got tired of rotting on his spot on the east side of Cayuga, and he has moved back west, where he started his day.
I don't have any idea how many short pitches he's made with a Strike King Hack Attack jig today, but it seems like 10,000. That's a lot of work for seven keeper bites. It appears as if they are the right bites to win this event. But several anglers have found a late bite this week, so who knows.
Here's all I know at this point late on Day 4: If anyone finds an "O" key from an iPad keyboard floating in Cayuga Lake, it's mine.
Pat, I'd like to buy a vowel. Could I have an "O" please?
Zaldain is in the house. The young California angler just rolled up.
Don't know what he has in his well but obviously he's scrambling too.
Basically the band is back together. Both are hoping for the great music and big fish that played here this morning.
Zaldain wasted little time in hooking up. It looked like it was a hefty fish as well. Big enough for him to hit the deck and lip it.
But he kept the fish hidden where we couldn't get a good look at it.
At least there are still fish in the area.
Regardless of how today turns out, the rematch between these two _ Faircloth and Hackney _ promises to be exciting when the Angler of the Year finalists head to Bay de Noc.
Both guys have flirted with winning the AOY title in the past. Hackney lost on the final day to Swindle the year he challenged. And Faircloth got bested by VanDam on the final day of the season he was close.
Both of these guys want that title in the worst way. They are almost hungry for it a cannibalistic kind of way.
One of these guys will be heartbroken by the end of today. But it won't hurt nearly as much as the final day of the AOY Championship.
After visiting with Overstreet and Wright, we've come to the firm conclusion that this event is far from over.
Hackney leads right now, probably by about 3 pounds.
Faircloth is pulling up second and no one else can catch Hackney but him. He still needs to get rid of a 2-pound class fish, preferrably by something that is 5 or better.
If that happens then we have a close finish. We know it can happen, because a late, big-fish bite has happened all week.
In the last hour and a half Faircloth has had 7 bites just none big enough. Hackney has had 7 bites all day, almost all of them big.
With an hour and a half to go, it still boils down to any last-minute heroics that Faircloth can muster. And we are sure he's hoping the big one will finally show up.
With lots of sun and very little wind, the flipping bite ought to be on right now. "The fish are acting strange right now. Straaaaaaange," he said. "Did you see that one? I flipped in there and a fish swam out. It was a 3-pounder." Strange indeed. Since he couldn't fish for the bass holed up in the milfoil yesterday, he figured the flipping bite would be on right now, which would make sense. But they're not. The dock bite, which was also good when the sun was out, is also nonexistent, despite seeing plenty of fish hanging around under them.