2011 Elite Series - Ramada All-Star Semi-Final
Lake Jordan - Wetumpka, AL, Jul 23 - 24, 2011

Ramada All-Star Semi-Final Live Blog

Day Two - Lake Jordan

3:59 p.m.

Every angler in the field is either checked in, or idling toward check-in. We've seen no jumps or quivers on the BASSTrakk board, so we still think it's way too close to call as to who will get into the field of eight.

The most interesting of the two are Skeet and KVD. Skeet has the advantage at the moment, by about 4 ounces.

The thing to remember is both of those guys are sandbaggers. They are actually neck and neck on the greatest sandbaggers of all time list.

So there's no way of knowing how this will shake out until the protein hits the scales. Should make for an exciting weigh-in.

We'll see you there. And we'll kick the blog back on next Friday for the first round of matchups on the Alabama River.

-- Steve Bowman

3:50 p.m.

Ten minutes left and Gerald Swindle and Terry Scroggins have checked in.

We are still watching intently. All the anglers are fairly close, excpet for Martens. He's about a 6-mile boat ride away.

Hopefully he'll start up soon.

I remember yesterday watching Ike not able to start his boat with less than 2 minutes left and he barely made it in time.

Penalties could change a lot on a day like this.

--Steve Bowman

3:44 p.m.

We've been talking about all the things that could happen. Most of the day, we had no idea what Evers had, and then we learn as expected that he had 10 pounds plus.

The other guy we have no idea what he has is Steve Kennedy. He knows enough of this area to have put together something amazing, and he could slip into the mix as either a spoiler or a contender.

Can't wait to see him check in.

For the record, Ott DeFoe and Casey Ashley have checked in. They are pretty sure they will spend next week on the Alabama River. We're pretty certain of that, too.

-- Steve Bowman

3:35 p.m.

We just called around and checked the accuracy of our weights on BASSTrakk, at least with Skeet, KVD and Kriet.

According to those watching and close by, the numbers we have in our standings are pretty close to reality.

Now, we know we have no chance of getting the weights exactly right, and with these anglers, the margin of error swings from any where around a few ounces to a couple of pounds.

We still think Ott DeFoe will win the day, but trying to determine who moves on to next week's round is the big question. Ike, Skeet, KVD and Kriet are all fighting to the last two spots. With less than a half hour anything can happen.

As soon as I type that, I get a call telling me KVD just caught a 2-pounder and culled a 1-pounder. That puts him in a virtual tie with Skeet and the plot thickens.

-- Steve Bowman

3:32 p.m.

BASSTrakk update:

Place Angler Fish Day Two Total
1 Ott Defoe 5 13-06 25-10
2 Aaron Martens 5 12-10 25-04
3 Gerald Swindle 5 11-04 22-13
4 Terry Scroggins 5 9-06 22-05
5 Casey Ashley 5 9-03 21-04
6 Michael Iaconelli 5 12-09 20-09
7 Edwin Evers 5 8-15 19-02
8 Skeet Reese 5 9-08 17-08
9 Kevin Vandam 5 7-00 16-04
10 Jeff Kriet 5 9-00 15-12
11 Steve Kennedy 1 1-04 7-07
12 Davy Hite 4 5-00 6-01

-- Hank Weldon

3:23 p.m.

Kriet is getting desperate. He made a move back to where he caught his biggest fish, a 2 1/2-pounder, and we're just a stone's throw away from where he caught the catfish.

-- David Hunter Jones

3:12 p.m.

I've been setting here thinking about the scenarios with Skeet making his last-minute 3-pound catch that could actually put him in the top eight.

If that happens and KVD is in 9th, Skeet could have a sort of wicked grin on his face at the end of the day. KVD has won the Angler of the Year title the last two years, more or less taking the trophy from Skeet's grasp.

But then there's the flip side. Skeet has had the absolute worst luck on Lake Jordan and with KVD the last two years. The cruelest irony would be for KVD to once again knock out Skeet from contention.

The last scenario would put both in the top 8 and leave Iaconelli out. Seems far-fetched, but who knows. And don't forget Kriet, he's been mounitng a comeback of his own.

These final two spots in the 8-man field, and how they shake out could turn into an exciting weigh-in.

-- Steve Bowman

2:59 p.m.

Looking up and down the standings, a couple of things come to mind: Iaconelli is sitting in seventh place with 17 1/2-pounds. VanDam is in eighth with 16-4 and Kriet is ninth with 15-12. And then there's Skeet with 14-8.

A couple of things to keep in mind. Iaconelli seems to always guess big on his weights.  I don't know if that would be by a pound or not, but KVD is always light. So those two might be closer than they look.

Add to that, that KVD has been dark the last hour of this event. We don't know if he's caught anything or not.

Kriet is mounting a little comeback, so he could have a little heavier than what he thiks, while Skeet always guesses light.. He says he has four fish that weigh 6 1/2. Before I could finish that sentence, Skeet caught a 3 pounder, giving him 9 1/2 pounds.

That could be accurate or heavier, which is the point I was going to make.

Either way, we have Skeet in 7th place tied with Ike, and KVD is now in 9th place, with Kriet now in 10th.

All that, since I started typing. Holy Cow!

-- Steve Bowman

 

2:51 p.m.

Kriet has a little flurry going. In the midst of huge wake thrown up by a careless ski boat, he fought a 1 1/2-pound spot, which he traded for a 1-pounder. He's slowly making ground, but hasn't quite given himself a cushion from Skeet who still is shown with 4 fish. However, if you'll recall from last year, Reese failed to catch a limit on the last day here and lost the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year title. In other words, Kriet may have to postpone his deep-sea fishing  trip he'd tentatively planned for next week.
-David Hunter Jones

2:38 p.m.

Jeff Kriet moved back to the bridge piling he caught a keeper off of this morning and walked right into a fight with a spotted bass. It dogged him left, then right, then under the boat. He finally got it subdued enough to slip his hand underneath it and hoist it aboard.

He guesses it weighs 1 3/4 pounds or so. There's a little bit of current coming down the canal that leads to new new lake which may have triggered the fish around these pilings. With that fish he moved back into 8th place, but Skeet is right behind him and only has four fish.
--David Hunter Jones

2:25 p.m.

We have basically an hour and a half left in this event. And we're sweating the catches. Remember there are only 12 guys on the water. Five of those are just milling around, they are pretty much in and know it.

So the action is slow at best.

One of those milling around is Ott DeFoe. There some really cool video on BassCam with him and Zona. While we go through these last minutes wondering if Kriet, Reese or KVD will pull this out, go over there and check out a couple of those.

There's a few more still to come so you may want to make more than one trip.

--Steve Bowman

2:16 p.m.

Back in New Lake, Terry Scroggins reports that he has five "little ones." hopefully for him, that'll be enough to take him to the next round. He says it without stress or concern. If there's a more easy-going pro out there, I haven't met him.

-- Ken Duke

2:13 p.m.

It's time to share water, everyone. We followed Kriet downlake a little ways where he resumed his routine: staring at his graph with a drop shot rig in hand. Then, a very concerned-looking Aaron Martens pulled in, not 30 yards from Kriet studying him intently. Martens brought a dozen or so boats with him who have nearly surrounded us and Kriet.Martens is also throwing a drop shot rig. We'll see if these two get a chance to trade blows before too long.
-David Hunter Jones

2:10 p.m.

Ott Defoe is basically killing time until he can check in at 3 p.m. (BASS allows anglers to check in 1 hour early). He has been from one end of Lake Jordan to the other. He  is now in the very back of Swayback Creek. I mean the very back. He was kicking up enough mud on the way in, that we decided not to follow him any further.
Defoe said his success today came on building upon what he did yesterday.
"I fished in the same places, but I couldn't get them to bite as well yesterday," he said. "In a place I caught two keepers yesterday, I caught five today. That area really showed up today."
He was fishing about halfway up the lake, less than five miles from the Lake Jordan Marina takeoff point.
Of the five bass in his livewells, one came on a buzzbait, one on a spinnerbait and the other three on a homemade crankbait.
"I used to  make a lot of crankbaits, but I don't have time anymore," Defoe said.
He's got one good spotted bass - about  a 2 1/2-pounder - and the others are largemouths. He has culled two 2-pounders, which some of these All-Stars would love to have.
- Steve Wright

2:08 p.m.

BASSTrakk update:

Place Angler Fish Day Two Total
1 Ott Defoe 5 13-06 25-10
2 Gerald Swindle 5 11-04 22-13
3 Terry Scroggins 5 9-06 22-05
4 Edwin Evers 5 10-00 22-03
5 Aaron Martens 5 8-11 21-05
6 Casey Ashley 5 7-04 19-05
7 Michael Iaconelli 5 9-08 17-08
8 Kevin Vandam 5 7-00 16-04
9 Skeet Reese 4 6-08 14-08
10 Jeff Kriet 5 7-01 13-13
11 Steve Kennedy 1 1-04 7-07
12 Davy Hite 4 5-00 6-01

-- Hank Weldon

1:58 p.m.

A couple of things have happened in the last few minutes to shake things up.

First, we learn that Edwin Evers has about 10 pounds, which sends him to fourth place and puts KVD in the 8th spot and on the bubble.

Skeet Reese caught his fourth keeper and that will move him into 9th place ahead of Jeff Kriet. Reese is less than 2 pounds away from catching VanDam with one remaining in his limit.

That would be the ultimate redemption for Reese: Catch a 3-pound fish in the waning minutes of this event and knock KVD out of the final. Not saying that is going to happen, just saying it's shaping up for that possibility.

VanDam is 1 pound, 4 ounce out of 7th, so that means Reese is more than 3 1/2 pounds out of 7th, if he's looking for a cushion.

The rest of the standings are pretty tight. Ott DeFoe has a 3-pound lead on 2nd place. But 2nd through 5th place there's less than 1 1/2-pound difference between them. Doesn't mean anything in the immediate grand scheme of things. But it does mean those places are too close to call. They will be in, but we won't know who they match up with until the weigh-in.

Either way, there's still a lot of fight left in today's round. KVD is keeping the door open for Skeet. One is trying to shut it, the other is trying to find a way into it.

--Steve Bowman

1:51 p.m.

In his most recent statement, Kriet contradicted his previous one; "It's slowed down, I think," he said, contrary to what he said after his last bite. He just put some ice on his fish.

He's bouncing around between two spots, both within sight of the ramp.
Before I can finish my thought about the stifling heat, Kriet's rod doubles over. "It's a giant!" he bellows. The rod bends, drag screams and the fight is on. The fish bit right where he'd been marking big fish all day. After a drawn out fight (during which I snapped dozens of photos), he brings his prize boatside. For a Lake Jordan bass, it would be a giant. But it's a catfish, and it's just average. Kriet slumps and takes a swig from his water jug.
Time for me to take a dip in the chilly 90-degree water.
-David Hunter Jones

1:47 p.m.

BASSTrakk update

Place Angler Fish Day Two Total
1 Ott Defoe 5 13-06 25-10
2 Gerald Swindle 5 11-04 22-13
3 Terry Scroggins 5 9-06 22-05
4 Aaron Martens 5 8-11 21-05
5 Casey Ashley 5 7-04 19-05
6 Michael Iaconelli 5 9-08 17-08
7 Kevin Vandam 5 6-08 15-12
8 Jeff Kriet 5 7-01 13-13
9 Edwin Evers 2 3-03 13-06
10 Skeet Reese 3 5-04 13-04
11 Steve Kennedy 1 1-04 7-07
12 Davy Hite 4 5-00 6-01

-- Hank Weldon

1:37 p.m.

Ott DeFoe keeps adding to his total. He has 13-6 for the moment and looks like he could end this part of the event in the lead.

In actuaity that would put him as the No. 1 seed in the bracket

If Edwin Evers has what BASSTrakk says he has and if the tournament stopped right now, this is what the bracket would look like on Friday.

Ott DeFoe versus Jeff Kriet

Gerald Swindle versus Kevin VanDam

Terry Scroggins versus Michael Iaconelli

Aaron Martens versus Casey Ashley.

 

Swindle might get his wish. He mentioned earlier in the week that he wanted to face KVD in the first round, thinking that would be the easiet time to knock him off.

We don't know if that will be the bracket, but it works out that way there are some interesting matchups.

-- Steve Bowman

1:14 p.m.

Skeet's on the board again with what looked like a 2-pounder. That should give him 5-4 for three fish. It took him forever to boat it, and when he did, he exclaimed, "I finally got one in the boat."

He's got plenty of time to climb in the standings before this day is out.
-- Dave Precht

That fish puts him, based on what we have on BASSTrakk, just 11 ounces from the cut. But that's stll assuming we have an accurate view of Evers' weight.

Reese is one of those who underestimates. Still, to be safe he needs another 3 pounds to even start thinking that he may be in. He only has three, so that could come pretty easily.

--Steve Bowman

1:00 p.m.

I finally got to see Skeet catch a fish -- and it was a pretty good  one. The 2 1/2-pounder hit a crankbait and put up a good fight. Too bad drum don't count in this game.
 -- Dave Precht

 

12:49 p.m.

We're back on Jeff Kriet, who's taken an almost fatalistic attitude.
"You do this for so long and you think you're pretty good, but when  it's this hard you think you suck," he said. "It's so easy for some and so hard for others and right now it's hard. I still need another
good fish."
While he's being grim, he's being realistic. At the moment he's taken the 8th-place spot, which means he'll fish next week if BASSTrakk is accurate. However, he overtook Evers who's may only have two fish in
the boat.
Kriet just put another fish in the boat, too. If he doesn't make it, though, he's got plans for next week.
"If I'm not here I'll be fishing for stuff that'll really wear you out," he said about his passion for offshore fishing. "You reckon I'll be here?"
-David Hunter Jones

12:46 p.m.

A little rainshower hovered over Blackwell's Slough as I entered it, so I chickened out and parked under a bridge to wait it out. I should have kept going, for I would have seen Skeet Reese hook his third keeper of the day -- and watched it flop free of his crankbait's hooks. This has not been a great day for Reese, one of the four fan favorites in the All-Star field. He caught one keeper in the "New Lake" and another here in the center of Blackwell's. He is picking apart a huge stumpfield with crankbaits and Carolina rigs.
I came across Ott DeFoe on the way into Blackwell's. He paused to visit a minute, saying he's more or less done for the day with somewhere between 12 and 13 pounds. He was just "going fishing" the rest of the day. I suggested that weight, coupled with his third-place limit of 12-4 from yesterday, would place him in or near the lead. The real prize is at the end of next weekend, he pointed out. "You don't get anything for winning this," he said.
Except bragging rights and your name in the headlines on Bassmaster.com, I reminded him.
Skeet hasn't swung on a fish in the 30 minutes I've been here. I've been holding off finishing this hoping I'd have something substantive to report, but I can't wait any longer. The keys on my laptop are hot to the touch. It's sweltering out here, which must be doubly tough for anglers who aren't catching much.
-- Dave Precht

12:44 p.m.

BASSTrakk update:

Place Angler Fish Day Two Total
1 Ott Defoe 5 11-12 24-00
2 Gerald Swindle 4 11-04 22-13
3 Aaron Martens 3 8-11 21-05
4 Terry Scroggins 5 6-12 19-11
5 Michael Iaconelli 5 9-08 17-08
6 Casey Ashley 4 4-12 16-13
7 Kevin Vandam 5 6-08 15-12
8 Jeff Kriet 5 6-13 13-09
9 Edwin Evers 2 3-03 13-06
10 Skeet Reese 2 2-04 10-04
11 Steve Kennedy 1 1-04 7-07
12 Davy Hite 4 5-00 6-01

-- Hank Weldon

12:39 p.m.

No big catches to report, but there are seven limits, at this time. Kriet has finishes his limit and has moved to 8th place. Evers is in 9th, but he's still dark on BASSTrakk, so we don't know what he may or may not have.

Every few minutes a thunder shower rolls across the lake. It cools things down for a moment then things heat up with some humidty added in.

Hank Weldon is working on a standings update and that should be up soon.

-- Steve Bowman

12:25 p.m.

The last 30 minutes or so have been the deadest part of the day. Few, if any catches, certainly no keepers have hit the livewell in that time span, which makes for a boring day on the blogging side.

We are still wondering what Evers has. He had a good day yesterday, so we expect more of the same. But you never know. Meanwhile, Kriet just keeps chipping away and KVD has been strangely quiet.

We are sure there will be some surprises by the end of the day, but wish some of them would give us a little hint right about now. Keep these dead times from stretching out too far.

-- Steve Bowman

 

12:03 p.m.

Swindle with an armade of about 20 spectators just set down across the lake from the marina. That was the same place he set down yesterday and in a few minutes later created a loud enough bout of cheering that it turned all our heads.

He's definitely going to be fishing next week. All that he's doing is looking for insurance, possibly to get higher in the standings to help his match up next week.

Although this field is pretty much even at this point in terms of matching up.

Swindle wasn't there long before he catches one. Evidently, not as big as yesterday because the crowd pretty much is quiet.

-- Steve Bowman

11:52 a.m.

Iaconelli has pretty much put himself in a good position to be in the final eight, with a 9-pound limit.

The big surprises are how light those behind him are faring.

KVD is virtually leaving the door open for someone else below him to slide in.

That starts with Evers with two fish, but he's up the river and dark for three hours, so he could very well put KVD in 8th place.

Kriet is in 9th and seems to be putting together a better day than what he had yesterday. Skeet is in 10th with two fish and his struggles are eerily similar to last year.

Either way, the battle for 8th is, at least for the moment, not much of a battle at all.

One decent bite from KVD, Kriet or Skeet at the moment, though, and things could get interesting.

-- Steve Bowman

11:39 a.m.

We've caught up with another bubble boy who's looking better, Mike Iaconelli. He's got roughly 9-8 in the livewell right now, which puts him safely inside the top 8 to move on to next week.

We just moved from Swayback Creek to the New Lake, blowing by Gerald Swindle en route (Ike blew by him, but his observers idled). Iaconelli is taking a slightly different approach than any of the other pros we've seen so far. Most everyone is using spinning gear but Ike is twitching some  kind of worm constantly.
At the cut right now sits Edwin Evers. It's looking like it's going to be either him or Kriet (who's currently in 9th) will be going home because KVD's got a couple pounds on them both. The real race here is there, not at the top.
-David Hunter Jones

11:35 a.m.

Ott tales another spin through the back of the creek then back to the log where he had caught the two good bass 30 minutes before.  He casts his homemade crankbait (named The Butch) again. A fish misses three times, then he changes the angle and catches it .  Another 2.5-pounder that culls a 1.25 pound fish.

-- Tommy Sanders

11:34 a.m.

Davy Hite is in a much better mood today. A spectator pulled up close to him as he fished a deep ledge near the state boat ramp at midday and asked how he has done so far today. He has four. "Any good ones?" the bass fishing fan asked.

"They're all good ones after that one little one I caught yesterday!" he answered. Hite had only one bass weighing 1-1 in the first round and has a lot of ground to cover to make the cut today. He told me two of his fish are "pretty good" and the others are "just keepers."

He caught three early this morning when low clouds hung over the lake and the sun had not yet climbed too high for bass to be shallow. He lamented the late take-off of this All-Star tournament. "We're missing the best two hours of the day," he said. Everyone suffers the same loss, of course, but it's painful for someone who loves to catch 'em on top like Hite does.

He is now working a shaky head worm about 75 yards offshore, trying to maintain his balance while waves rock his boat wildly. This is a major intersection for pleasure boaters and All-Star anglers as well as their specator flotillas. The fish here aren't cooperating, so I'll move on. I suspect Hite will vacate the premises shortly.

-- Dave Precht

11:21 a.m.

There are few little thunder shower cells blowing up around Lake Jordan. You can feel it in the air, which is a welcome change of pace.

We won't even venture to guess if they build to something more nasty. But the weather is changing a bit. The wind is swirling and clouds are starting to roll around. That is a welcome break from all the heat that these guys have to deal with.

At the moment, DeFoe has re-taken the lead with a 10-pound limit. Swindle is second, Martens third, Scroggins is fourth and Ike is fifth.

Evers is still in the 8th spot. Catches have been sparse in the last hour.

-- Steve Bowman

11:15 a.m.

A young man driving a jet ski with his girlfriend on the back just
came  buzzing out of Weoka Creek past Terry Scroggins. He slowed down
enough  to tell her,  "There's (Kevin) VanDam. He  won it last year."

I guess you can't tell the players without a scorecard.

We are getting a few raindrops here, although the sun is shining.
There are a few non-threatening-looking dark clouds  over this part of
Lake Jordan.

- Steve Wright

11:06 a.m.

Zona jumps into the boat with DeFoe and starts back up the creek where the water temps drop considerably.  He ties on a homemade crankbait and immediately catches two fish in the 2.5 pound range .  One makes the limit out and the other will cull a one pounder.  All in the space of three minutes.

--Tommy Sanders

11: 00 a.m.

Terry Scroggins just pulled into the mouth of Weoka Creek and started
fishing the edge of the river channel, where he promptly caught his
fourth keeper of the day. Scroggins  had to get out the measuring
board to make sure it measured 12 inches before putting the fish in a
livewell. He is throwing a shaky head worm.

- Steve Wright

10:53 a.m.

Swindle has just finished his limit and culled up, putting him back into the lead and more or less ensuring that he will be around for next week's action.

If the standings were to stay the same through the day, that would put him head-to-head with Edwin Evers on Friday next week.

That would be an interesting match-up. Ott DeFoe would be battling KVD.

Of course those standngs will likely change. But as things get shored up and the matchings start taking shape, it starts to be a little fun to think about who could be fishing aganst who.

We'll save that for later. The catch rates are down a bit, with only four limits at the moment. So we do expect some joeckeying in the standings to take place. One fish here or one fish there seems to change a lot of things.

Currently our expectation of the cut weght being 16 pounds and change seems to be pretty close. But if teh catch rates start picking up, we could see it hit the 17-pound mark.

-- Steve Bowman

10:44 a.m.

BASSTrakk update:

Place Angler Fish Day Two Total
1 Ott Defoe 5 8-08 20-12
2 Gerald Swindle 4 8-04 19-13
3 Aaron Martens 3 5-04 17-14
4 Michael Iaconelli 5 9-08 17-08
5 Casey Ashley 4 4-12 16-13
6 Terry Scroggins 3 3-12 16-11
7 Kevin Vandam 5 6-08 15-12
8 Edwin Evers 2 3-03 13-06
9 Jeff Kriet 3 4-10 11-06
10 Skeet Reese 1 1-00 9-00
11 Steve Kennedy 1 1-04 7-07
12 Davy Hite 3 4-00 5-01

-- Hank Weldon

10:39 a.m.

As Kriet moved toward New Lake, he stopped at a bridge where he put his drop shot back to work around the pilings. His first cast yielded a fat 1-pound spotted bass, which puts him up around 5 pounds with 3 fish. He's working his way around the first piling as boats buzz by us. I'd wager that he works the other piling before he picks up again.
He just swung and missed, so he may be on to something here.
-David Hunter Jones

10:32 a.m.

Ott DeFoe has just taken over the lead overall. He has four fish that weigh 6 pounds and change. He slipped past Aaron Martens a few minutes ago.

Meanwhile, KVd just filled his limit for about 6 pounds and change. That moves him to 7th place and puts Edwin Evers on the 8th place bubble. Evers has two fish that weigh around 3-pounds.

Kriet has moved to 9th and Skeet sits in 10th, about 4-pounds out of the top 8.

Hite is having a better day with four keepers that weigh about 6 pounds, but his hole may be too deep to climb out of.

-- Steve Bowman

10:31 a.m.

Jeff Kriet has moved from the main lake to the canal of the New Lake. When he stops he catches a solid keeper on his first cast.

--Kyle Tindol

10:28 a.m.

After working the entire slough, Casey Ashley finally reached the dock where he started an hour and a half ago. He moved at fast idle to the spot where he concentrated so hard a little while ago, a point at the edge of a shallow pocket. A bystander confirmed what I had suspected, that Ashley had good success in this cove yesterday. "He tore 'em up in here yesterday," the man told me.

Numerous people are out on their docks this beautiful morning to watch the show from a ringside seat. One family -- dressed as though they were on their way to church -- chatted with Ashley as he worked their dock. A short distance away, a fellow was enjoying a beer for Sunday brunch as he commented on Ashley's fishing success. He mentioned his choice of beverage at 10 a.m., when The Bassmasters cameraman Marty Dashiel quipped, "You can't drink all day if you don't start in the morning!" That drew a laugh from the fellow's companion.

Ashley has not yet filled his limit, but he's trying.

-- Dave Precht

10:19 a.m.

Here's a look at Lake Jordan from a map perspective.

This is Blackwell's slough

This is the Swayback area of the lake.

This is the New Lake

And this is the view of most of Lake Jordan

10:15 a.m.

Kriet must have shelved his plans for doing something crazy for now.
He's bounced back to another hump and he's going to try and tempt the
fish that he sees on his graph into biting.

"I can see 'em all over the place, but getting them to bite is another
deal," he said about the fish tucked into brush scattered across the
hump. "I'm not sure what else you'd want."

As we're watching Kriet, we can see a local who just pulled up to one
of his other humps, and is now fishing.

--David Hunter Jones

10:10 a.m.

Since the inception of the Elite Series in 2006, Kevin VanDam has dominated and Skeet Reese has been a clear second, but Aaron Martens has been just behind those two in terms of tournament success. When the fans voted Martens into All Star Week, they selected someone very capable of winning.

--Ken Duke

10:09 a.m.

A loud "clang" echoed across this cove a minute ago, causing me to look up from my laptop. Casey Ashley had apparently bounced his jig off the float of a pontoon boat. He's been targeting the pockets beneath pontoon boats -- and every other nook around boats and docks -- whenever he can, and he's expertly hitting almost all his targets.

Still, it reminded me of the days long ago when I used to fish Lake Jordan with legendary angler John Powell, who grew up near here. (He died a few years ago, after teaching me much of what I know about bass fishing.) Whenever I would accidentally bounce a lure off a dock post or other object, he would fuss at me like I was his own son. Consequently, I got to the point where I was afraid to even cast near a piling or boat. And I didn't catch as many fish. Ashley is far more accurate than I ever was, and he's nowhere near as cautious. He's throwing where the fish are, even though he missed that spot by an inch or two.
--Dave Precht

10:04 a.m.

Aaron just released a small keeper rather than put the fish in the livewell and risk it dying. He knows he can catch more that will be even bigger.

--Ken Duke

9:57 a.m.

Kriet's on the comeback trail now. He just landed a 2 1/4-pounder he
pulled from a brushpile that he's been working for 15 minutes.

"I'm fixing to do something crazy; I don't know," he said about his
predicament of being on the bubble. "Something's gotta change for me
to have a shot at this."

He's probably got just shy of 4 pounds in the boat now and at this
pace, he can count on fishing next week. But, he's got to get fish in
the boat first.

-David Hunter Jones

9:53 a.m.

Martens says be has four in the well -- two good ones and two "little rats." that should put him well on his way to the finals. No one expected him to miss the cut here and he's not disappointing. He's dropshotting or working a shaky head at the mouth of Swayback Creek, just where he started his day. The same place he started yesterday.

--Ken Duke

9:51 a.m.

BASSTrakk update:

Place Angler Fish Day Two Total
1 Aaron Martens 3 5-04 17-14
2 Gerald Swindle 3 6-04 17-13
3 Casey Ashley 4 4-12 16-13
4 Terry Scroggins 3 1-03 16-11
5 Ott Defoe 2 3-08 15-12
6 Michael Iaconelli 5 7-10 15-10
7 Edwin Evers 2 3-03 13-06
8 Kevin Vandam 2 2-08 11-12
9 Skeet Reese 1 1-00 9-00
10 Jeff Kriet 1 1-00 7-12
11 Steve Kennedy 1 1-04 7-07
12 Davy Hite 3 4-00 5-01

-- Hank Weldon

9:50 a.m.

Be sure and catch Dave Mercer's live update at 10 a.m. He will have a unique take on what is taking place today, along with a view of some great video.

 

9:47 a.m.

That 3 3/4-pounder has loosened up Gerald Swindle. He's still casting and pitching to docks, but he's talking to anybody he sees along the bank.
 
"Good morning, ladies," Swindle said to two women who walked down to their dock to watch him fish. "I thought I smelled biscuits and gravy, but I don't see any in your hands."
 
When one of them remarked that they hadn't cooked breakfast yet, Swindle said, "Oh, I see. Ya'll stayed out all night, drinking that red wine."
 
"Now you're talking," one of the women said.
 
"I knew ya'll liked that red wine," Swindle said. "I could tell.
 
"If I didn't have this camera boat on me, I'd sit down and have a glass with you, and we could talk about the good ol' days."
 
Nobody loosens up like the G-Man.
 
- Steve Wright

9:43 a.m.

We must be Aaron Martens' good luck charm. Just as we pulled into the mouth of Swayback Creek, and he caught a small keeper that went in the well. Martens is on a roll. A decent day today will put him in the finals on the Alabama River. He had very little practice time driving in from Las Vegas and the US Open, but he didn't need it. Martens is the best natural fisherman in the business and catches them wherever he goes. He's a solid bet to win this semifinal event.

--Ken Duke

9:42 a.m.

Casey Ashley, who probably has 16 pounds for 1 and 1/3 days now, is still alternating among shaky heads, swim jigs and a topwater. I visited with him at the service station this morning as he was gassing up on the way to Lake Jordan and noticed his lunchbox for the day. He must not have read this month's B.A.S.S. Times, which featured a story on how Aaron Martens deals with brutal summer heat in tournaments like the All Star week events. Martens recommends drinking a gallon or two of water during the day and munching on cold fruit. He likes mangoes when he can get fresh ones. What's on Ashley's diet? He had a gallon plastic bag in his boat stuffed with cold, supreme pizza slices. It's making me hungry just blogging about it.

-- Dave Precht

9:36 a.m.

Back near the ramp (we're always on the move), Jeff Kriet is finesse worming a hump with some brush on it. David Hunter Jones tells me he has one small keeper. Kriet's in trouble if things don't pick up soon. DJ's got it under control, so we're moving on.

-- Ken Duke

9:33 a.m.

Gerald Swindle just added a 3 3/4-pounder off another dock.
 
"I'm shaking like my uncle Ronnie when he got paroled," said the ever-quotable Swindle.
 
- Steve Wright

9:28 a.m.

Swindle's three fish changed the leaderboard. he's now in the lead by less than 1 pound.

Everyone else is on the board with at least one keeper, which overall is better than yesterday. But limits have yet to show, excpet for Ike. Yesterday at this time we had three limits, including one from KVD, is stuck on two at the moment.

--Steve Bowman

9:26 a.m.

Casey Ashley just hauled a fourth keeper into the Costa boat. This one hit what appeared to be a small popper he was casting to the back corner of a dock and twitching/popping it quickly back to the boat. He's on the opposite side of the slough from where he caught bass No. 3 but close enough that his fan club could see the action and show their appreciation with a round of applause. They're bringing him good luck.

Immediately after pocketing the 1-pounder, Ashley went back to the shaky head, which he's soaking in shallow brush and stumps between docks. I gather he spent some time in here yesterday and therefore knows the areas where he should concentrate his efforts.

After scooting quickly down the shoreline to this point -- a spot where a small pocket intersects the creek -- he's making cast after cast to the same small area. So far, nothing has interrupted his retrieves, but he obviously believes there's a solid keeper or two where he's casting.

--Dave Precht

9:25 a.m.

Gerald Swindle just caught his second bass of the day, a keeper-size fish, while casting a soft plastic creature-type bait near a boat dock. He is working a series of docks and shallow grass, skipping it as far back in shaded areas as he can, mixing it up with a worm at times.
He has 3 to 3 1/2 pounds.
- Steve Wright

9:23 a.m.

We found Jeff Kriet with a spinning rod in hand, and he's got one little fish in the well so far. He told us that he caught most of his fish later in the day and that he might go upriver later in the day where he caught a few more little ones.
"I guess I need about 11 or 12 pounds today, but I've got to be at the right place at the right time," he said. "A little current would help, too, but if that's running then everyone's catching 'em."
-David Hunter Jones

9:18 a.m.

We didn't see the early morning flurry that took place yesterday. Ike had his, but the rest of the field is still just scratching along. One minute Casey Ashley will be leading the event, then Aaron Martens takes over. It's just one fish at a time and every one of them at the moment changes the standings in BASSTrakk.

Right now we have Martens, Ashley, Scroggins, Ott DeFoe and then Ike in the top five at the moment. But a lot of catching still to take place.

The sun has started breaking through the cloud cover and fog that was laying over the lake, so it's getting hotter and more calm.

That will make it miserable from a heat standpoint, but could start producing more schooling activity.

-- Steve Bowman

9:15 a.m.

Evers has moved out to the mouth of Weoka Creek and picked up a deep diving crankbait. He's known as one of the most versatile anglers in the Elite Series and with good reason. There's not a tactic in the game outside his arsenal, and he's better than just good with them all. A Classic win or AOY would cement his position as one of the greats in the sport.

Evers has number two! A small keeper fell to his crankbait near the mouth of Weoka Creek. It won't help much, but it puts him a little closer to a limit and to what he needs to move into the finals.

--Ken Duke

9:05 a.m.

Casey Ashley, the fourth-place angler going into today with 12-1, is having a ball in this pocket near Bonner's Point. Members of his fan club are in the back end of the slough, and as Ashley and his camera crew idled in, they heard live music -- someone playing Ashley's new soon-to-be-hit, "The Fisherman," on guitar. Ashley worked his way back to the dock where the onlookers and musician were lounging and promptly caught a keeper bass right in front of them. To celebrate, the young guitarist walked out on the dock and asked Ashley to autograph his guitar, which he gladly did.

The Elite crooner from Donalds, S.C.,  has caught three keepers so far this morning, for a total of about 3 pounds. He's mixing it up between a swim jig and a shaky head worm, pitching to docks and breakwalls lining this slough. He'll need to graduate from 1-pounders to 3-pounders to make a run at the lead, but a solid limit like he's putting together should help him survive this afternoon's cut.
--Dave Precht

8:58 a.m.

Edwin has one bass so far this morning. He's alternating between a shaky head and topwater popper on this flat. Occasionally a couple of schooling fish pop up around our boat, chasing shad. They don't look big, but they'd probably keep. Right now, they'd be very welcome additions to his livewell.

--Ken Duke

8:53 a.m.

Edwin Evers is in the back of Weoka Creek, fishing a shallow flat with spinning gear and a shaky head. He's got some ground to make up today. He's inside the cut after the first day, but in precarious position -- 6th place and only two pounds better than 9th. Evers has been runner up to KVD for the AOY title two years running and would love to claim the All Star title.

--Ken Duke

8:49 a.m.

Skeet's has his first keeper. It's small.  He's cranking along a long ledge on the east side of the lake, working a worm into the mix at times.

-- Tommy Sanders

8:46  a.m.

BASSTrakk Update:

Place Angler Day One Day Two Total
1 Michael Iaconelli 8-00 7-10 15-10
2 Aaron Martens 12-10 2-04 14-04
3 Terry Scroggins 12-15 1-02 14-01
4 Edwin Evers 10-03 2-02 12-05
5 Ott Defoe 12-04 0-00 12-04
6 Casey Ashley 12-01 0-00 12-01
7 Gerald Swindle 11-09 0-00 11-09
8 Kevin Vandam 9-04 2-00 11-04
9 Skeet Reese 8-00 0-00 8-00
10 Steve Kennedy 6-03 1-04 7-07
11 Jeff Kriet 6-12 0-00 6-12
12 Davy Hite 1-01 3-10 4-11

-- Hank Weldon

8:40 a.m.

 

Iaconelli is making a strong statement to be included in the final event next week. Right now we have at 7-10, which if that is close gives him a great start to hit the cut weight.

Meanwhile KVD and Skeet are struggling, Skeet more than VanDam. There's still a lot of time left, but as the battle for the 8th place position develops, I believe that's one of the more intersting story lines of the day.

Below, check out Overstreet's image of Ike, going Ike.

-- Steve Bowman

 

8:34 a.m.

Van Dam picks up and runs to New Lake for about five casts to the bank.   He says to Zona "this ain't getting it " and leaves back out into the canal and gone.  Zona bails out and is now in the boat with Skeet Reese, who is still looking for his first keeper.

--Tommy Sanders

8:31 a.m.

After launch this morning, Kyle Tindol and I headed to the New Lake section of Lake Jordan and came across Skeet Reese, Ott Defoe. Gerald Swindle and now we're sitting on Aaron Martens. Skeet was throwing a topwater bait, Ott was working brushpiles and Aaron's doing the same.
We're amid some 12 or 13 boats all watching Martens closely study his graph as he works what we assume to be a drop shot rig. As we're sitting here watching, Tindol is pointing out brushpiles all around the area, some of which Martens is working.

--David Hunter Jones

8:25 a.m.

Big Show is still worming a hump at the mouth of Weoka Creek. No action, so he's packing up and heading out. We're following.

A hundred yards later and Big Show is back at it with the shaky head. He may be from Florida and have a reputation for flipping mats, but he's solid with a spinning outfit, light line and a shaky head.

--Ken Duke

8:23 a.m.

Davy Hite is obviously frustrated at bringing up the rear after Day One in the All-Stars preliminary round. He went all in at the Lake Mitchell Dam, where he had boated several good fish during practice. Hite, you'll recall, won the Elite Series tournament earlier this year on Pickwick Lake, again fishing the tailrace section. That's one of his favorite styles of fishing, and he's good at it. Yesterday, however, his fish never cooperated.

"It's not a deal where they get turned on and you catch 'em every cast," he said."It's  one an hour, but they're good ones." He said the current out of the dam was different yesterday, which changed the eddy lines and moved the fish to different spot among the rocks and cuts. "I never could find them," he complained. Hite planned to fish grass, docks and other shallow cover this morning. "That's my strength," he said.

I'm still watching the Uncle Ray's wrapped boat of Jeff Kriet's. He pulled up an 11-incher on his drop shot. He said there's a brushpile where he's fishing, and he's having to finesse his bait through it. He's got light line on spinning gear. I'd love to see him connect with a big spotted bass, which probably wouldn't be eager to leave that brush.

He likes where he is. He just threw out a marker buoy, so he must be planning to camp here awhile. I'm not very close to him yet he asked if my depthfinder was on. I told him it was and he asked me to turn it off. "Your electronics are making it hard for me to see," he said, meaning that sonar signals from my unit, 50 yards away, seemed to be interfering with readings on his depthfinder. Interesting. It's just one of the challenges these Elite Anglers have to contend with when they're being followed by spectator boats. And bloggers.

Dave Precht

8:20 a.m.

We just heard the day's first fill-the-cove scream from Mike Iaconelli, followed by: "Three-pounder. I needed that fish, man!"
 
Bass are blowing up around Iaconelli and, as you would imagine, he's a Tasmanian devil on the deck of his boat.
 
Ike has been using a fluoro-braid line made by Spider Wire in these schooling bass situations. He likes it because it sinks. Iaconelli said during practice that he'd rather get a strike below the surface, as he has a better chance of hooking it.
 
- Steve Wright

8:11 a.m.

Another keeper for VanDam.  Very small, though.  The number of swings and misses is remarkable.  Zona estimates two fish for 2-pounds, both fish coming on a soft plastic jerkbait.

-- Tommy Sanders

8:10 a.m.

Mike Iaconelli has a school of bass fired up. He is fishing near an island in the mouth of Swayback Creek, where shad are dimpling the water all around him. Ike is moving faster than a threadfin shad with a bass on its tail - casting a soft plastic shad imitation, probably a Fluke, swimming it back erratically and quickly repeating.
 
Ike caught two before we got here, and has now landed six fish, but his weight probably isn't much over six or seven pounds.
 
- Steve Wright

8:08 a.m.

Jeff Kriet was the first All Star I spotted out of the gate this morning so I stopped on him. He started out fishing just around the bend from the launch but didn't spend much time doing whatever it was he was trying and quickly ran 300 hards to a river ledge or hump, where he's now drop shotting.
I had an interesting conversation with Steve Kennedy as he prepared to leave the boatyard this morning. He doesn't fish Jordan much but somehow managed to find several big fish. Unfortunately, he only managed to boat one of them, a 3 1/2-pounder, yesterday. "I hooked one under a dock and somehow fought it out of there and got it into open water, and it just pulled off," he told me. "I thought it might be a carp. I went back later to try to catch it and a guy was there on the dock, and he said he's been feeding a 5-pounder there. That's where I'm starting this morning!" Of course.
Kriet still hasn't hooked up although it appears he's had a couple of nibbles on his finesse rig.
--Dave Precht

8:05 a.m.

We watched Ike fill out his limit yesterday, and he told us he had 9 or 10 pounds. At the scales, they tallied exactly 8. Some guys have a reputation for sandbagging or estimating their weights low and others always seem to estimate too high. Most often these estimations are honest. Ike definitely tends to estimate high with his catches, and it's sometimes given him some heartaches, like at the 2009 classic when he thought he had enough to catch Skeet Reese at the final weigh in. Today Ike's probably going to need a very real 12 pounds to make the cut.

--Ken Duke

8:01 a.m.

Mike Iaconelli is in the mouth of Swayback Creek and in the midst of a flury of activity. He has caught four keepers in five minutes, apparently throwing a Fluke. The bass are in the 1 1/2 to 2-pound range. Kevin VanDam's armada is almost overlapping the group following Iaconelli, as VanDam is closer to the main lake.

In the middle of that, he's now caught a limit.
-  Steve Wright

7:59 a.m.

It may be less activity than yesterday, but Iaconelli already has four fish and they go about 5-pounds. He will likely need more than that. But he's getting started early.

--Steve Bowman

7:58 a.m.

Kevin Van Dam is in the mouth of the same creek he started in yesterday, working way off the bank of an island---in fact the same island we saw Iaconelli working yesterday and using a similar rotation of baits.  He boats his first small keeper at 7:50.  Zona is in the boat with himand the comment has been made about "way less activity than yesterday.  But now after that first fish, the bass have started to crash the surface, feeding all around him.  He's had three or four more bite and pull off.

-- Tommy Sanders

7:29 a.m.

Terry Scroggins is at the mouth of Weoka Creek, working a shaky head on spinning gear. He's in about 10-15 feet and has tossed out a buoy to mark his territory. Half a dozen spectator boats are watching our semifinals leader, and as I type this he's got one on!

Big Show hgets it n the boat, but he released it -- too small. Scroggins has the reputation of changing locations a lot during the course of a tournament day. Here, though, he may have to settle in, buckle down and grind out a few bites. If he can catch a limit, even a small one, he should be safely inside the top 8 and on his way to the finals on the Alabama River.

--Ken Duke

7:45 a.m.

Aaron Martens has boated a 2 1/2-pounder, which not only gives him the lead but probably a big sigh of relief as well. he only needs a couple more bites like that to get in the final round on the Alabama River.

--Steve Bowman

7:38 a.m.

Davy Htte is the first angler on the board this morning. He's boated a 1 1/2-pounder to basically more than double his Day One stringer.

Hite needs a banner day today if he expects to make up the whole he's in.

-- Steve Bowman

7:30 a.m.

We have started Day Two and there are a couple of things we will be watching.as the morning progresses.

For starters, will Iaconelli and VanDam jump out with quick limits like they did yesterday? Will Skeet get a better start than yesterday? Will Casey Ashley, Scroggins, Ott DeFoe and Aaron Martens have better mornings than they had yesterday?

The reason those questions are important is they will have a big bearing on what the cut weight will actually be at the end of the day.

We are guess at the moment it will be around 16 to 17 pounds. We reserve the right to be wrong.

Those second four mentioned above simply have to cvatch a couple of fish and they could be in easily. KVD, Skeet and Ike, though, may have to battle all day.

We have BASSTrakk, working this morning, and four teams of bloggers on the water. We should be able to give you a good idea of what that will look like in short order.

Stay with us.

--Steve Bowman

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