In the midst of a feeding frenzy, ULM's Brett Preuett lodged a 2/0 treble hook in the back of his head. I mean lodged. Two hooks past the barb. He hit himself with such force that it straightened out the split ring.
We were trying to figure out the best way to handle it when he realized the bait wasn't attached anymore and he said, "Ah, I'm good then" and went back to fishing. Tough kid. Wheezy photographer.
Zach Parker has got to like his chances at besting Robert Giarla. He's sitting on four fish that weigh roughly 7 pounds. He had the heaviest stringer yesterday, topping 10 pounds and is on his way to doing the same thing again today.
His first spot, which is off of a small island on the main lake, seems inexhaustible. He's caught his four keepers, had one pull off and missed another few. "I'm gonna stay here until I fill out my limit then maybe move on," he said.
Justin Atkins of Mississippi State gets on them after being eliminated.
National Champ Jake Whitaker having a rough go of it so far. It's just before 1 o'clock and he only has one 2-pounder to show for a lot of running and gunning. Sticking to the shallow bite. His go-big-or-go-home mentality won UNCC the National Championship, but it may be sending him packing today. I personally don't want to see that. As a member of the media, I'm supposed to be unbiased and I usually am. But I love the commitment Jake has made to the shallow bite. Win, lose or draw, it's on his terms. There's no spinning rod on his deck and I wouldn't be surprised if there's not even one in his rod locker. And up here on the bank, you're always one bite away from the equivalent of an entire limit caught out deep.
Going to hang out with the champ a while longer. Fingers crossed for some fireworks.
ULM's Jackson Blackett has had a rough day so far. He's caught stripers and short bass, but has no keepers. He worked schooling fish early this morning, but didn't connect with any of them. To make matters worse, he's having to find all of his offshore spots all over. "When I went to transfer my waypoints to this new boat, none of them saved," he said. He's doing a lot if looking at his graph at the moment, searching for the appropriate brushpile.
Bethel's Matt Roberts is at the dam and has one fish in the boat. He's returned to the spot where he caught his only fish this morning, doing what many are doing: drop shotting brush.
As I was leaving Giarla, who's fishing shallow, a fish inhaled his topwater. Giarla reared back on the fish, only to have it break his line immediately. The worst part? The fish then jumped in an effort to throw the bait. It was every bit of four pounds. "That one hurt," he said.
I came across Robert Giarla of Tennessee Tech, and he reports that he's got two fish, one about 2 1/2 pounds and a baby. He's running new water today and is after largemouth at the moment.
"I'm just trying to get five right now, not really thinking about what he's (his competitor) doing. Anything can happen; yesterday I only weighed in three small fish, so I'm not done yet."
Whitaker thinks the sun might help put these shallow fish in the shade lines.