There are 12 anglers left at the 2013 Bassmaster Classic Wild Card presented by Star Tron at Lake Okeechobee, but they're far from equal when it comes to their chances of winning. Shaye Baker's lead is nearly 6 pounds — far from insurmountable, but a pretty solid margin.
I figure you need to be within 10 pounds of Baker's 48-14 to have a legitimate chance of catching him today. Any further back and you have two problems — making up the gap and leapfrogging the contenders between you and the lead. Going into the final round of Elite events, no angler has ever made up a margin greater than the weight of a daily big bass — at least not in Elite competition.
Of course, this isn't an Elite event, so don't try telling Arnie Lane he can't eclipse the 13-9 lead Baker has over him. Arnie's going to do all he can to make that leap … and he has the experience on Okeechobee to do it, too.
Photo by Charles Alley
Shaye Baker has four bass in the boat now, but three of them he hopes to cull before the day is over. Baker is pitching at anything sticking out of the water. His last fish came off a single pencil reed poking a foot above the surface.
James Overstreet and I are getting a little jumpy as there is some serious duck hunting taking place on Lake Okeechobee this morning - some of the shooting isn't all that far from our boat.
Photo by Rick Wilhelm
Photos by Charles Alley
We just caught up with Shaye Baker, who has a 3-pounder in the boat. He caught it from a hyacinth mat near Horse Island, where several of the leaders have fished this week and will probably all end up there later today.
But Baker has moved to the Harney Pond area, his other main spot during the last two days. The 9-1 he caught on Day 1 came from here. Baker is pitching a jig to isolated patches of pencil reeds in this area. He's using a 3/4th-ounce Medlock jig with a Strike King Rage Craw trailer — both in black-and-blue.
He just landed bass No. 2 today. It weighs about 2 pounds.
Russ Lane brings his fifth fish to the boat.