Noah, from Connecticut, with his first Arkansas smallmouth ... drum, that is. Got his heart pumping.
Photo by Jim Alexander
The JWC contenders have about 90 minutes until they check in at the ramp. I just made the run back to the ramp through a rain shower, so I'm wondering how that might change fishing conditions in the waning moments. Based on what I've seen, it's still anyone's tournament, and a big bite now could propel one of these young anglers to the top. Be sure to check out the weigh-in about 4 p.m. to see who pulls it out.
Ryan Wood from the Western Division just caught keeper No. 5 and now has a limit for around 9 pounds.
Photo by Evan Smith
Jeff Lugar started the day in second and is trying his best not to end his day there. He has five for about 12.5 to 13 pounds.
Daryk Eckert and Roman Chapman of the Northern Division are up the Petit Jean River, the Arkansas's largest tributary in Pool 9. It's a narrow stream, probably 60 to 70 yards wide, with shallow stump fields extending about 10 to 15 yards from the bank. It also features lots of laydowns. Eckert has three bass that will weigh about 6 pounds but Chapman is still looking for his first fish. This place is a target-rich environment; it looks there could be a fish on every stump or tree in here.
Presidents from across the B.A.S.S. Nation are spending the competition time during the championship in meetings. The presidents use this time to go over ways to increase membership, to better use their resources and to talk about what's new with the Nation.
Here, Anthony Roy, president of the Kentucky B.A.S.S. Nation, addresses the presidents.
Trevor Yates of the Central Division has a limit that weighs an estimated 9 to 10 pounds. It's been a few hours since I checked in with some of the other boats, but he may be in the driver's seat of the 15-18 age group at this point in the day. His fish came on a crankbait and buzzbait on the main river as well as a small backwater midway down the pool. His big fish is a 2.5-pound spotted bass that inhaled the black buzzbait right at the boat. His Central Division partner, Remington Wagner, has two fish. They're in a tucked away backwater area, which are few and far between on this particular pool.
Short note on the weather: Wind was nonexistent this morning but has now increased out of the north with an approaching cold front. After partly cloudy skies throughout the day, it looks like the rest of the day will be mostly cloudy. This could bode well for Trevor Yates and his buzzbait.
While the BNC and JWC anglers are out on the water, state youth directors from all over the country are convening. Hank Weldon, youth director at B.A.S.S., has been leading discussions and taking feedback from state youth directors. The dominant topic has been implementation of the new B.A.S.S. Nation High School program.
Two Bassmaster Elite Series pros showed up at weigh-in yesterday for the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship. Jami Fralick came to Arkansas to support his dad, Monty, who is competing in the Northern Division. If Monty wins his division, he and Jami will be the 10th father-son duo to have competed in the Bassmaster Classic.
Billy McCaghren Jr., who lives nearby in Mayflower, Ark., stopped by as well to support the competitors in the championship.
Well, we left Thompson in search of Jeff Lugar who started the day in second. Haven't found him yet, but two places left to check.