Koji Kuroda of Japan is beating this bank, and he's got one bass to show for it.
You can see how tough the Ouachita is on anglers' boats. The scary part isn't the part above the water; it's the area below that you can't see.
"You don't even know they're there until you go over them," said Chris Ponce de Leon, our boat driver. "It can be tricky."
As Waine Pittman was exiting the area, our boat got stuck.
"Welcome to Louisiana," he said. "Stumpland."
Ponce de Leon was able to get the boat clear and move forward after a few minutes. As we got deeper in, you could see what lurks beneath when the water's up. Tons of little wooden death spikes with a vendetta against bass boats.
Waine Pittman of Georgia has not been successful back in Wall Lake, either, the same place Ron Welch came up empty.
"It's dead as a hammer," he said. He's only got two dinks in the boat so far.
Ron Welch of California has zero as of 10:30 a.m.
"I thought I'd just run up in there and get a limit, but that didn't work out," said Welch.
Now he's making a run. A long one, he says.
Tim Johnston of Montana isn't getting the bites he wants.
"I've got three in the boat and they weigh about a pound -- total," said Johnston with a laugh. "And I might be overestimating."
He's in the spot he visited yesterday, but he's only been here for about 15 minutes this morning.
"It's really tough today," he said.
Many moons ago, Day 1 leader Coby Carden and now Elite Series pro Jamie Horton were tournament partners in Alabama dominating nearly half the local tournaments there. At the time, Coby's current team partner, Chris Rutland, and now Elite Series pro Russ Lane comprised another team and were dominating the other half of the local events in Alabama.
Since then, Russ Lane and Jamie Horton moved to the Elites and Chris Rutland and Coby Carden became tournament partners and combined their local resources to become arguably the most dominant duo in history when it comes to the confines of Alabama. Coby and Chris are also Elite caliber anglers. Coby qualified and fished the predecessor to the Elite Series in 2003 and 2004. Chris, who Coby refers to as the "the best out of all 4 of us," is the only angler of the 4 of them to never make the move to the Elites. That, however, was a choice and a probably wise one. There's no doubt Chris could make the Elites if he chose to. But in choosing not to he's had as much success as a "weekend angler" could hope to have.
I'd have to do the numbers but Chris Rutland has probably made as much money or more fishing within a couple hours of the house and definitely spent a lot less over the years on entry fees and expenses than his friends fishing the national tours.
In 2006, Coby Carden and Jamie Horton qualified for the Bassmaster Weekend Series Nationals on the Ouachita River. Though the two of them qualified separately for the event and were fishing from different boats and competing against one another, they fished the event like they would any other, as a team. The two combined their efforts in practice and between the two of them found a sweet little spot under the D'arbonne Lake spillway. After discussing it, the two decided it would be best for Jamie to fish that area during the event and Coby went elsewhere. Jamie Horton went on to win the event but in a move that only the best of tournament partners could understand, Jamie and Coby split the $50,000 purse after Coby was eliminated and headed home on the second day. "I got $25,000 for moral support," joked Coby.
Flashforward 5 years and Jamie Horton finds himself back under the D'arbonne Lake spillway competing for another title, this time the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship. Jamie won the event and netted nearly another hundred grand for that one.
Now skip ahead a few more years and here we are with Coby... fishing way up the D'arbonne Bayou... again... leading after Day 1. Nearly a decade of pre-fishing in the making and now it's Coby's turn to potentially sign his name in the history books as B.A.S.S. Nation's National champion.
Caught up with Coby Carden. Just caught his 5th keeper with us standing here and that one gives him about 10lbs or so without a big fish yet. Three solid fish in the 2-1/2 to 2-3/4 range.