RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. — Here was Fred Roumbanis' three-day progression in the Bassmaster Legends presented by Ramada Worldwide: 20 pounds, five ounces on Day One (the biggest of the tournament); then 6-11; and finally, 5-0.
Fortunately for him, the bonuses and 11th-place finish will still net him around $20,000 for the week, which is why the first words out of his mouth when approached backstage were, "Another good tournament." But that didn't keep him from mulling what could have been."I've got bruises, dude," he said, lifting his shirt to display the dark blotch on his ribs where he'd been jamming the butt of his rod on hook-sets. The three keepers he did weigh on Day Three were caught on swimbaits in the second-to-last hole he fished. In the final hole, he said, he didn't so much fish as prepare to return to Hole Two for the final chunk of the day."I figured them out too late," he continued. "The last hour, I figured out a swimbait bite that was absolutely unreal, one of the best swimbait bites I've ever had. I just couldn't capitalize on it.
"It's really unfortunate, because I feel like if I could have had another hour, I feel like I could have had a bag in the teens."
Hack's lacking sack
Greg Hackney likewise stumbled on Day Three after an outstanding first two days. For him, it wasn't a matter of missing the big bites on the way to a 10-8 limit. Instead, the best fish he had on all day actually bit twice, then broke off as he went to swing it into the boat.
"Just one of those deals," he said. "I looked, and the jig was down his throat. I've been bit with that all year long. That's the difference between a good tournament and a so-so one, or a bad one.
"I really don't have any complaints," he said. "It was OK. I'm pretty disappointed. This was my last chance at a Major. It'll also probably be my last chance on the Arkansas River for a while."
Fellow Arkansas River aficionado Kevin Short, who barely missed the cut for the tournament, was nearby to offer this consolation to Hackney: "Not as disappointed as I am."
Lintner in last
Jared Lintner thought he had 12 pounds on Day Two. Instead, he weighed in 16-3 to slip into the final 12.
On Day Three, his mojo wore off.The first four keepers I hooked, I lost," he said. "It's a weird deal. Yesterday, I never missed a fish, I never lost a fish."Looking back on it, I should have fished out on the lake. I was fishing the bank. Obviously there are fish out there, but there are a lot more outside. But fishing out, usually there are only a few key spots, and with only an hour, I thought my chances were better going down the bank."
In all, he couldn't complain about a 12th-place finish on a fishery he'd never previously visited. All that's left for him this season is Lake Toho, where Lintner, who sits in third place in the Angler of the Year standings, has nothing to do but cut loose."I've never been there, either," he said. "The goal is to keep myself in the third spot. I've already qualified for the Classic. I might as well go for the win."
Thrown off course
Mark Tyler qualified for the Legends semifinals after feeling sick Thursday and Friday. Saturday morning he said he felt good for the first time this week, and he was feeling even better when he caught three bass in his first hole on the course. But that feeling wouldn't last long."I caught three fish in the first hole on offshore brushpiles, and I think that threw me off," Tyler said.
He stayed on the deeper structure most of the day after that hot start, but had only those three bass weighing 6-3 when he finished Saturday, which put him in 10th place.Yo, Ish, don't be lazy
Ish Monroe violated one of his bass fishing Ten Commandments Saturday. He thought it would probably result in him missing the cut. And it would have if Aaron Martens hadn't suffered a four-ounce dead fish penalty, which allowed Monroe to finish sixth, two ounces in front of Martens.
"I got lazy," Monroe said.Monroe caught most of his bass this week flipping a Sweet Beaver soft plastic lure. He uses an extra-wide gap, straight-shank hook on that lure. But when he broke his line flipping a Sweet Beaver, he picked up another rod that was rigged with a tube bait and an offset hook, rather than re-tie a straight-shank hook on the first rod.
"I lost three giants in five minutes," said Monroe, who was then convinced by the error of his ways."Don't be lazy," Monroe added. "Make sure you re-tie."
Editor's note: ESPNOutdoors.com will air Hooked Up, the live Internet show, on Sunday at 9 a.m., 9:40 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET. The full Hooked Up show begins at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, leading into the final live weigh-in and a real-time leaderboard at 7 p.m. ET.
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