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

Ramada All-Star Semi-Final Live Blog, Day One

Day One - Lake Jordan

4:00 p.m.

All the anglers are in. I haven't been able to ask any of them their weights. So I will save that for the weigh-in.

Shoudl be interesting, though. The big mark will be where the top 8 break is.

The most exciting thing of the last few minutes. Iaconelli, who always cuts it close, was fishing 600 yards away. We're watching through binoculars as the minutes tick by. With 2 minutes left, Ike jumps down in his boat and it won't start.

He has to gather everything, including cameraman and jump into the camera boat to get in on time. He made it with seconds to spare.

Ike always brings a little something.

Starting at take-off in the morning, we will be blogging once again from Lake Jordan Marina. Come see us.

--Steve Bowman

3:46 p.m.

Terry Scroggins is on the trailer and not a single angler is in sight. Less than 15 left, and nothing shaking on BASSTrakk.

-- Steve Bowman

3:35 p.m.

Scroggins threw us a curve. We've thought all day he was struggling. But he just checked in and has about 11 pounds.

That will likely put him in the top four or five, unless of course we have other surprises.

Remember that 1st is as good as 8th for the next two days.

Also remember that these guys always catch them better than their BASSTrakk says they did.Mix that in with Lake Jordan, which has sparse cell service in a lot of places, and we are just guessing any way.

--Steve Bowman

3:30 p.m.

I'm going to try a little voodoo again. The catching has slowed to a complete halt.

Now maybe it won't take long for some of these guys  to start catching them we will see.

There's less than 30 minutes left.

As I type that, Terry Scroggins is idling toward the check-in dock. We don't know if something is wrong or he is done.

If he is, we are hoping he has more than what the BASSTrakk shows him having. We'll have a report in a few.

-- Steve Bowman

3:10 p.m.

BASSTrakk update:

Place Angler Fish Total
1 Aaron Martens 5 13-12
2 Casey Ashley 5 11-10
3 Gerald Swindle 5 10-08
4 Edwin Evers 5 10-05
5 Michael Iaconelli 5 10-00
6 Kevin Vandam 5 8-12
7 Ott Defoe 3 7-12
8 Jeff Kriet 5 7-04
9 Skeet Reese 4 7-04
10 Terry Scroggins 3 5-00
11 Steve Kennedy 1 2-00
12 Davy Hite 1 1-08

-- Hank Weldon

3:05 p.m.

I knew all I had to do was say they weren't catching them and then these guys would start showing out.

As soon as I said that a few minutes ago, Martens caught a 4-pounder. That put him in the lead. As if to answer, Ashley catches one that culls him up a few ounces.

Then Martens catches another 2 1/2 pounder, giving him almost 14 pounds. According to camera boat operators, he caught the 4-pounder before his spectator contingency ever caught up to him

-- Steve Bowman

3:04 p.m.

Evidently, Martens caught a good one either right before he left or right as he got to the spot after he passed Kriet.

He boated a 4-pounder, which gives him about 12 pounds and change and puts him in the lead over Ashley.

--Steve Bowman

2:59 p.m.

It's obvious Casey Ashley feels pretty good about his day. He just went past the Marina. Instead of the standard burning around the lake, he's just poking around about 3/4 throttle. He went around Kriet and headed into a pocket.

As soon he was out of sight, Kriet jumps down and now he's on the move. He's running full throittle, though.

As he heads south, he passed Aaron Martens headed north. Quite the sight to see the spectator contingencies of each of those anglers passing each other as they go their opposite ways. It's about the most exciting part of the day.

Catching has slowed considerably. While we've seen a couple of short fish hit the deck, there has been virtually no movement on BASSTrakk.

--Steve Bowman

2:44 p.m.

All the bloggers have officially left the water, so our eyes are pretty much limited to what we can learn from BASSTrakk and what may be happening around the Marina.  Currently, Kriet is the only angler in sight, but we expect a few more to start showing up as the day wears on.

We still have Casey Ashley in the lead with Swindle, Iaconelli and Evers close behind. But we also know that Hite, Skeet, Scroggins and Kennedy need to pick up the pack a bit. They are in the four-man pack at the bottom of the standings.

Those are the critical positions. They go home after tomorrow.

The bites those guys can gain today will be important to the outcome tomorrow.

-- Steve Bowman

2:36 p.m.

Davy Hite has pulled up south of the Marina. Kriet is north.

Both are about 100 yards off the bank, casting little bit somethings toward the bank and dragging or jigging it back.

In one pick up of my binoculars, I watched two party barges cross over Kriet's line, then turned to see how Hite was doing and watched another cross his line.

Of course, all they could do was watch. Both are struggling in some form, so you hate to see that kind of thing. But it's my guess that kind of actvity has been going on all day.

--Steve Bowman

2:28 p.m.

Kriet has moved to the point within site of the Marina. He's got a small limit. And he seems to still be getting bites.

It didn't take long before he hooked up and reeled one in. It was close enough to measure and he had to throw it back.

With a limit in the boat and having to measure those close ones, it must mean he has some dinks in the well. One good fish, though could change all that.

--Steve Bowman

2:24 p.m.

We've moved down the lake a considerable way, with our backsides taking a beating the entire trip. Jordan is the playground for this part of the world, and most everyone has a ski boat. If I had to guess, I'd say they compete to see who can throw up the biggest wake.

I saw a youngster slide by on an over-sized hot dog and yesterday there was a kid on a huge banana behind a boat. In short, the lake is busy.
Swindle is working docks now and has peeled off down to his undershirt. This heat kinda makes me I wish I were sliding around the lake atop a huge hot dog. Just sayin'.
-David Hunter Jones

2:13 p.m.

Hite is skipping a small plastic worm to boat docks and other shoreline cover to little avail. We've watched him boat two bass, but both were well under 12 inches long.

-- Ken Duke

2:10 p.m.

We're on Steve Kennedy now, who has moved out of New Lake and is fishing some brushpiles just off the main lake.
"I feel like I'm on (Lake) Lanier. thjere's so many boats running around," Kennedy said."I got broke off in here about 30 minutes ago.""
Shortly after he said that, Kennedy got broken off again, but this time it was due to a snag in one  of the brushpiles.
-  Steve Wright

2:06 p.m.

I was just wondering if the rain was hitting. Checked the radar again and it changed. Shows showers should hit there closer to 3 p.m. now.
If you can trust the future cast feature, and apparently you can’t put too much faith in it, the radar shows some yellow right when the anglers would be checking in and hitting the boat ramp to head to the Wetumpka Civic Center for the 5 p.m. weigh-in.
Fans might want to come in their rain gear or swimming suits because it shows rain there through 6 p.m.
-- Mike Suchan

2:02 p.m.

Steve Kennedy has covered 6,800-acre Lake Jordan from one end to the other. Kennedy, who  was fishing  below Mitchell Dam earlier today, just buzzed by us in the canal to New Lake. His behavior is typical of the running and gunning that is taking place in the final hours of Day One at Jordan. Mike Iaconelli had just buzzed out of New Lake. Skeet Reese was about to  do the same.

"I thought I could wreck 'em in here, but they are dropping the water out of this place," Reese said.

Kevin Van Dam just blew past us, headed for New Lake.

The intensity of  catching a few more bass from Lake Jordan is definitely heating up, as is the air temperature here.

- Steve Wright

1:58 p.m.

Davy Hite is in the back of Swayback Creek, working shady cover and grass -- anything out of the sun that creates an ambush point. He motored back here after we stopped to watch Aaron Martens out on the flat near the launch. When we asked how his day is going, Hite offered a big thumbs down.

--Ken Duke

1:56 p.m.

BASSTrakk update:

Place Angler Fish Total
1 Casey Ashley 5 11-08
2 Gerald Swindle 5 10-08
3 Edwin Evers 5 10-05
4 Michael Iaconelli 5 10-00
5 Kevin Vandam 5 8-12
6 Aaron Martens 4 8-08
7 Ott Defoe 3 7-12
8 Jeff Kriet 5 7-04
9 Skeet Reese 3 5-04
10 Terry Scroggins 3 5-00
11 Steve Kennedy 1 2-00
12 Davy Hite 1 1-08

 

-- Hank Weldon

 

1:45 p.m.

Mike Suchan gave us a weather forecast a few hours ago about an impending change in the weather scheduled for about 2 o'clock. I don't know if he was right or not, but the wind has shifted some and it's blowing a little harder. Not much, but it is blowing.

Rain could be on its way or as most weather forecasts go, maybe not.

A little rain, though, could change the whole complexion of this event at least today. Come on rain.

--Steve Bowman

1:37 p.m.

We're getting down to the final two hours of this event and the field is starting to shake out.

It's looking more and more like the top eight weight will be more like 9 pounds than the 8 pounds expected earlier and it could still go up.

We have several of our anglers near the dam and that is a completely dark spot for cell service and BASSTrakk service. Once those guys start leaving, their weights will start to update. At the moment though, we have Skeet, Kennedy, Scroggins and Hite really needing to either update or start catching them.

Hite has been dark all day. He could have a monster sack or be struggling. This lake can be that way.

The next two hours, though, could be a very important rallying time for those who exect to make it to the head-to-head rounds on the Alabama River.

--Steve Bowman

1:27 p.m.

Skeet Reese just landed a monster - catfish. Well, not exactly a monster for a catfish, since it  only weighed about six or seven pounds. But it sure put a good bend in his rod. A non-keeper bass he caught shortly afterward didn't give him nearly  the fight.
Reese is in New Lake. Terry Scroggins just buzzed out of here. Mike Iaconelli has been moving around in here.
- Steve Wright

1:26 p.m.

If Martens' friend Tom Frink is right, he has a limit weighing about 10 pounds. That's not bad, especially considering the lack of practice he had due to fishing -- and winning -- the US Open. This format would probably be better for him if the events started at the Alabama River and ended here at Jordan, where he's very strong.

--Ken Duke

1:24 p.m.

Kriet has moved on down the lake, while VanDam and a handful of diehard fans are sweating it out in the same spot. Swindle is hopping around among a few places and just boated a short fish. There's no shortage of little ones where we are, but the bigger bass are elusive.
-David Hunter Jones

1:18 p.m.

I was going through some stats in BASSTrakk and saw in particular one that stood out.  There have been 60 keepers caught between the 12 anglers.  Now if we were going by the law of averages, each angler should have a limit (5) of fish in the boat. 

That isn't the case.  Only six guys have their limits.
-- Hank Weldon

1:16 p.m.

The natural is what I call Aaron Martens. He's drop shooting or vertically working a jig just a long cast from the state ramp. Now he's casting the jig. There must be a hump or something out there that he's working. It's a spot he fished last year on his way to a second place finish here. Aaron' certainly the hottest angler in the field, coming off a win -- his third -- at the US Open on Lake Mead.

-- Ken Duke

1:11 p.m.

Casey Ashley's day has gone almost exactly how he'd planned. He'd hoped to be able to upgrade his early flurry with some bigger fish off of brushpiles later in the day, but  he's been able to cull only once in the past two hours, and then it was only  by an ounce  or two.

"I knew it  was going to be tough if  you didn't catch them early," Ashley said. "I've probably got about 12 pounds, but I've got one dead one, so 11 1/2. I feel good about it. I figured 12 pounds a day would do you pretty good. I might be telling  you  something different when we get to the weigh-in, I don't know."

- Steve Wright

1:08 p.m.

Check out our first on the water photos from Day One, featuring Kevin VanDam with several fish catches as well as Ike yanking in a few.
 

1:01 p.m.

Jeff Kriet has found a small wad of even smaller fish. He's pulled 3 shorts aboard in the last 15 minutes. Though the fishing isn't spectacular, there is an air of relaxation among the pros. They're not super-stressed and worried about Toyota Tundra Angler of the Year points, but rather chatting among themselves and taking shots at unnamed Elite Series pros who would otherwise be peeved at the closeness of the three (VanDam, Kriet and Swindle).

They're taking their time as they retie and switch baits, chatting with their marshals. That's not to say that they're not out to win, it's just that they're more relaxed about it.
-David Hunter Jones

12:52 p.m.

Here is Mark Zona capturing Aaron Martens’ fish catch that more than likely lifted the recent U.S. Open winner into the Day One lead of the Ramada All-Star Semi-Final.
Martens is fishing his money spot from last year and reported things had been slow today. He said he uses J.J.s Magic as a dipping sauce that stays on his Roboworm until it falls off.
- Mike Suchan

12:48 p.m.

In the mouth of Swayback Creek, Casey Ashley is fishing and talking with photographer James Overstreet and blogger Steve Wright. Now he's pulling away and we're following. He must be having a pretty good day to let the media come so close and talk for more than a few seconds.

I got Casey's CD the other day -- "Released" and it's really good. I paid full retail, too!

--Ken Duke

12:45 p.m.

Steve Kennedy has two small keepers and missed three good buzzbait fish this morning. He needs to turn things around fast if he's going to make the cut. Right now he's working a shaky head around the poser lines up the river. It's what he's used to catch the two he has in the well. The affable Auburn engineering grad is smiling and laughing as he talks about today's struggles, but he's clearly a bit frustrated and ready for something to break loose for him.

--Ken Duke

12:43 p.m.

Ott DeFoe is not afraid of skinny water, no matter how hot it is. He's up in a tiny backwater halfway up the river, pitching and flipping a beaver-type bait to to the grass. He missed a keeper back here, but the three he has are pretty good ones.

--Ken Duke

12:36 p.m.

It's interesting to note that at this juncture of the day, all four of the "Fan Favorites" are in the top eight.

Iaconelli has the best showing, followed by Aaron Martens, then Kriet and then Reese, who is in 8th for the moment.

It has to be pointed out that Davy Hite is completely off our grid. We don't know where he is or what's in his live well. We have to assume, that he has some weight. Where he fits in is anybody's guess.

Current trends, though, indicate that at least 8-pounds will be needed to get in the top 8. That should or could translate into 16 pounds after tomorrow.

So will some of us will get hung up on the standings after today, it's how close we are to that 16-pound mark that really matters.

Of course, the weights could get heavier and that would march up with it if they do. But with two-thirds of the day over, there is probably a few guys starting to talk to themselves, while feeling a little bit nervous.

-- Steve Bowman

12:25 p.m.

There’s a slow moving line of rain showers heading up from the Gulf toward mid-Alabama.
Watching the futurecast on Weather.com, it could cover up Wetumpka by about 2 p.m. this afternoon, giving the anglers about two hours of fishing in what look like gentle showers. No yellow or reds.
It’s anybody’s guess how they will affect fishing on Lake Jordan, but one’s thing is for sure, it might help keep the anglers from overheating. Weather.com right now gives this offering:
Dangerous heat index. Outdoor exposure should be limited.
No chance of limiting that for the Elites and the followers. The temp is Montgomery is 99, with an index making it feel like 112.
Rain will be welcome no matter what it does to the fishing.
-Mike Suchan

12:20 p.m.

Evers and VanDam are still sticking it out in their respective places, but neither of them has boated a fish in the last half hour or so. Evers is still cranking happily while VanDam has gone back to his spinning gear. The crowd has thinned out, too.

Last year there were three and four turbines running, which put considerably more current in the lake, and with a single one on today the current is either a trickle or nonexistent. According to the schedule, there doesn't seem to be any relief (or current) in the near future.
Evers just picked up and is heading back down the lake. We may follow just to turn the breeze on. Scratch that. As soon as Edwin put his Nitro on pad, Jeff Kriet pulled up. Swindle just pulled to within 30 yards of Kriet, and the two struck up a conversation. Kriet and Swindle both have spinning reels in hand.

-- David Hunter Jones

12:18 p.m.

BASSTrakk update:

Place Angler Fish Total
1 Casey Ashley 5 11-08
2 Gerald Swindle 5 10-02
3 Michael Iaconelli 5 10-00
4 Edwin Evers 5 9-05
5 Kevin Vandam 5 8-12
6 Aaron Martens 4 8-08
7 Ott Defoe 3 7-12
8 Jeff Kriet 5 7-04
9 Skeet Reese 3 5-04
10 Terry Scroggins 3 5-00
11 Steve Kennedy 1 2-00
12 Davy Hite 0 0-00

-- Hank Weldon

12:12 p.m.

The hoped for flurry of activity hasn't really started even with the generators running. But there are five anglers with limits at the moment. Hank Weldon is putting together a standings update and it should be up soon.

The big surprises are Steve Kennedy with only 2-pounds. We figure he will be a factor before it's over, but he has his work in front of him.

We're also watching Skeet Reese, hoping he puts something together and creates a little redepmtion for himself after last year's face plant on this lake.

There's still a lot of time, almost 4 hours. But it won't be long until we start seeing who could make up the four anglers who will go home after tomorrow's round.

--Steve Bowman

 

11:43 a.m.

We've  been following Casey Ashley for about an hour now as he moved into various coves in the mid-lake area, fishing mostly shallow and not  getting any bites.

But Ashley just moved to the main lake, just off  the  river channel and has gone deep He caught a non-keeper shortly after stopping here. Then he was able to cull up a few ounces with one in the two-pound range. Ashley has since caught another non-keeper.

If you haven't gotten the picture yet, boat traffic is  heavy on Lake Jordan today. And it started early. A boat pulling a wake boarder went right by Aaron Martens when he started his day in the New Lake area.

- Steve Wright

11:42 a.m.

This spot is hot. Not only are we perspiring heavily, but VanDam has pulled three shorts on his drop shot rig. He isn't happy with the size so he's gone to a crankbait, perhaps a Strike King Series 5 or 6XD.
Evers is still cranking away but hasn't gotten another bite. He's uncharacteristically sat down and is concentrating on the spot.
--David Hunter Jones

11:29 a.m.

When we arrived at Aaron's boat he said "get ready."  Sure enough he hooks and fights one for a long long time playing her with the trolling motor.  It's a 4 1/2- pounder, caught on a shaky head and very light line.  He must be close to 10 pounds now.

-- Tommy Sanders

Be sure and look at BassCam. Zona was in the boat or near the boat for that catch and it should be showing up soon.

--Steve Bowman

11:22 a.m.

We just watched Evers hook into a nice fish. He fought it for nearly a minute as it led him around the boat one and a half times. The crowd cheered as he boated the 2 1/2-pounder, while VanDam peered over  his shoulder just in time to see Evers hoist the keeper into his boat. 

--David Hunter Jones

11:20 a.m.

We're now 4-5 miles up from takeoff, not far from the mouth of the river, and Gerald Swindle has made a "milk run" of boat docks and boat houses in this area. He's identified a few that are worth his time and stops to fish them thoroughly with his jig. In between these targets, he puts the trolling motor on high and quickly hits any targets he sees before settling on another dock.

-- Ken Duke

11:14 a.m.

Swindle seems to be focusing on the bigger docks that offer the most shade. More shade = more area for bass to live during the middle of bright days.

--Ken Duke

11:12 a.m.

All the glitches that we were having with BassTrakk have been fixed, you should be able to get into that now if you want to watch the leaderboard.

 

11:11 a.m.

While we were moving down the lake, we came across a wad of 30 or 40 boats, which could only mean on thing: Kevin VanDam was somewhere in the mix. Sure enough, he was, out in the middle fishing the same boulders and rocks that he did last year.

About 1/4-mile down the lake is Edwin Evers, who has a crowd of his own. We're also where Russ Lane
fished last year when he won the Jordan leg of the postseason.

VanDam is throwing a drop shot rig, while Evers is cranking furiously. VanDam gets a lot of attention for his run-and-gun style of fishing, but I'd wager that Evers would keep right up with him. He's tough to follow.

-- David Hunter Jones

11:08 A.M.

Swindle is putting on a dock skipping clinic just north of Weoka Creek. Problem is, there are no bass interrupting his lessons, so he's off.

Some guy in a pontoon boat tells us the bass are all deep. Swindle must not have heard because because he continues to skip docks with a jig. It's paid off, too. He just boat flipped a 2 1/2 pound fish that struck a jig under a dock. He's probably got more than 12 pounds now.

-- Ken Duke

11:07 a.m.

From Zona in the boat with Ike:  he's chasing schoolers with a soft plastic jerkbait.  The window of opportunity is so short--two or three seconds.  He just caught one that was keeper size but wouldn't cull his 1.5.  I get the feeling that he may be moving out of this creek soon.

My bad---that last one did cull and it was the first one he has caught blind casting . He has really downsized the bait but, according to Zona , he won't name it yet.

--Tommy Sanders

11:02 a.m.

BASSTRakk update:

Place Angler Fish Total
1 Casey Ashley 5 11-06
2 Gerald Swindle 5 10-02
3 Michael Iaconelli 5 9-08
4 Ott Defoe 3 7-12
5 Kevin Vandam 5 6-11
6 Skeet Reese 2 4-00
6 Terry Scroggins 2 4-00
8 Jeff Kriet 2 3-00
9 Edwin Evers 2 2-12
10 Aaron Martens 2 2-10
11 Davy Hite 0 0-00
11 Steve Kennedy 0

0-00

 

-- Hank Weldon

10:50 a.m. 

Scroggins has left the dam area while Hite is still searching for another keeper. He caught a short and Scroggins found a bluegill on a jerkbait. Hite is still inching closer to the turbine. However, we're going to head back downlake for now. The dam bite just doesn't seem to be there.

--David Hunter Jones

10:39 a.m.

Normally on weekends Jordan only runs one turbine but today according to Alabama Power, three are scheduled to turn on at 11 am - 5 pm.  Sometimes there are special occasions with white water rafting below Jordan Dam and they will run more than the minimum.  Today must be one of those occasions.  For the 12 anglers that will keep a decent amount of current coming through Jordan.

-- Trip Weldon

10:38 a.m.

Now Aaron is on the move. So we have moved over to Iaconelli in a creek near the Dam.  His limit is four 2 pounders and one that's 1.5.  He's working his way around a small island near the mouth.

-- Tommy Sanders

10: 25 a.m.

Big Show has joined the party at the dam. He's throwing a spinning reel and just swung hard and missed. Hite has inched his way up to roughly 1/8-mile below the dam, with Scrogging floating halfway between Hite and the dam. Hite is still looking for his second keeper.
No word on how Scroggins is doing.

-- David Hunter Jones

10:24 p.m.

The commotion from Swindle's camp was a 2 1/2-pounder, nothing huge but it  does push him in the 9- to 10-pound range and gives him a good start for a shot at the Alabama River next week.

-- Steve Bowman

10:23 a.m.

Aaron has made a short move out to the mouth of Weoka creek.  Zona says that he is noticing the current moving now and feels that will get things going.

-- Tommy Sanders

10:15 a.m.

Skeet doesn't have a keeper yet -- just a couple of short fish --  but says things pick up after 10 or so. He's moving -- hopefully to where he can fill his limit

-- Ken Duke

10:07 a.m.

Hite has been throwing a crankbait, Fluke, and is now lobbing a drop shot, slowly downsizing his offerings as he tries to add another fish to his well. He told us he's got one so far. We're within sight of Mitchell Dam and Terry Scroggins just passed up and appears to be joining the gaggle of boats duking it out for a spot below the dam. As the sun gets further and further overhead, the temperature is creeping up.

-- David Hunter Jones

10:05 a.m.

Skeet Reese is back in New Lake, near the dam, working a little popper or other topwater around the grass that lines the banks. So far, it looks slow for him. He's making short, precise casts ahead of the boat,working the bait fast, looking for feeding fish.

-- Ken Duke

9:52 a.m.

Davy Hite passed us as we were following Kennedy, so we doubled back and got on Hite. He's fishing away from the bunch of boats in the current and is working a bend in the river with a crankbait. we heard from some observers that Hite broke a fish off earlier, and that may be the only action he's seen so far. He's got an affinity for dams, as his win on Pickwick was at the base of Wilson Dam.

Though there's a fair amount of cloud cover, the air is thick with humidity. As Gerald Swindle put it at launch, "the is the only place I know of where - if you're hungry - you can just open your mouth and take a bite of air and get full."

-- David Hunter Jones

9:47 a.m.

Jeff Kriet just pulled up near the Lake Jordan Marina. We have him with two fish that weigh in at 3-pounds.

We're watching him through binoculars and he must be really concerned with one of his keepers. He's fishing from the driver's seat, and periodically checking his livewell, even in the middle of his cast.

The heat will no doubt play a factor on fish care for these guys. It's awful early to already have those issues.

Then again, he could just be checking water levels.

-- Steve Bowman

9:41 a.m.

Aaron is still toiling in Weoka creek, still just the one keeper.  Mostly finess fishing.  From Zona:  his screen is solid fish .

-- Tommy Sanders

9:35 a.m.

Steve Kennedy quickly became disenchanted with fighting for a casting
position below the dam.

"That guy running the big motor up there didn't help any; it's not
worth fighting for," he said as he sipped a Coke and ate some cheesy
crackers. He sat back and took a break as he waited for the current to
make it's way downstream and "set up" the fish.

"I'm just going to head back down and fish docks the rest of the way,"
he said. "It's tough getting two bites and not having anything to show
for it."

-- David Hunter Jones

9:34 a.m.

A 2 pounder on the fluke lets Ike cull again. He must have 9-10 pounds now. Not a big weight, but a decent start in a tournament where 8th is as good as 1st. We're moving and looking for other anglers.

-- Ken Duke

9:31 a.m.

The sun's out now, which might be good news for the deep water bite, but it's no good for bloggers and photographers. Ike's culling again, but he only gained an ounce or two. He might have 8-9 pounds now.

-- Ken Duke

9:19 a.m.

We've reached Mitchell Dam. The current just kicked on. Kennedy had to wiggle his way in between a dozen or so boats, all of which have multiple lines in the water. Kennedy's throwing a big, heavy spinnerbait to deal with the ripping current. He threw that, a swimbait and a small finesse worm yesterday, but the swimbait was the
only thing that got bit. We just watched a guy wrangle a studly striper to his boat, and fish are blowing up all around us. Tindol called in and found that this current will be running until 7 p.m. CT, so watch for other anglers' bites to pick up.

Watching the boats jockey and shuffle brings to mind a game of musical boats. One will go into the current, drift back, then idle up to the top again. Kennedy is staying in semi-slack water off to the side and lobbing his spinnerbait into the current.

David Hunter Jones

9:10 a.m.

While the catch rates have not been nothing to write about, there is some decent catching taking place. We expect the catches to pick up in about an hour. That's when the generation schedule says they will turn on one generator at Mitchell Dam.

That could change a lot of things and it bears watching to see how things progress at that point.

--Steve Bowman

9:07 a.m.

The party in Weoka Creek has seen some comings and goings. Edwin Evers has arrived, bringing a handful of boats with him, and put a fish in the livewell. Terry Scroggins has left.
 
Aaron Martens continues finesse fishing in an area where there has been frequent schooling activity this week. But there has been no surface action yet, and he still has only one fish in the livewell.
 
- Steve Wright

9:02 a.m.

We're following Kennedy as he works his way up to Mitchell Dam. He's stopping off along docks and in the mouths of pockets throwing a buzzbait and a finesse worm. He did break off his run at one point and throw a topwater a schooling fish, but failed to hook up. As far as we know Kennedy's livewells are still empty.

David Hunter Jones

9:01 a.m.

Ike's culling again. This time it's a 2 1/4-pound fish, that replaces a much smaller one. A scream and fist pump and the better one goes in the well.

-- Ken Duke

8:57 a.m.

Casey Ashley is making a move to ensure he moves on.

He's taken the lead with a limit that weighs around 11-pounds.

Next up is Iaconelli with 8-8;

Vandam is third with 6-11

Ott DeFoe is fourth with 4-8

Terry Scroggins is fifth with 4-0

Kriet is sixth with 3-0

Evers id seventh with 1-8

Aaron is eight with 1-0

The rest are scoreless or we haven't been able to get a report.

-- Steve Bowman

8:55 a.m.

Martens and Scroggins separated after only a few minutes of fishing within casting distance of each other. They made short moves to opposite ends of Weoka Creek. Then Martens put his first keeper in the boat. But that's about all it was - a keeper.
 
-  Steve Wright

8:51 a.m.

KVD is now gone-- looking for greener pastures and bigger bass to cull with. About 100 yards away is Mike Iaconelli, also culling and also throwing throw a fluke- type bait on spinning gear. He says he has two good ones and three sh...., well, not so good ones. He estimates his total weight as between 7 and 8 pounds.

-- Ken Duke

8:43 a.m.

At least right now, you couldn't ask for a better fishing morning in Alabama in the summer. Air temperatures seem to be in the 80s at the moment with expectations for upper 90s by day's end.

It's been hot and muggy and we expect to see some of that soon. But it's a far sight better than it was a year ago, when the heat index was 107 and the temp around 100 all day long.

That was when the on-the-water crew were begging for the anglers to make a run just so they could feel the wind. Right now it's cloudy with a slight breeze. The lake is relatively calm, so we are hearing of some schooling activity but as expected the catching is still pretty slow.

KVD has a limit, and while that doesn't surprise anyone, it is a load off his mind. Yesterday evening, the guy most of us view as the most positive, confident angler in the country wasn't sure about his chances of advancing past this round of 12.

"I just don't know for sure if I can catch them,'' he said.

And Jeff Kriet, who like Aaron Martens, is one of the best spotted bass fisherman anywhere, was worried that he could catch them.

They are both on the board, So the only sweating at the moment is coming from those anglers without a bite.

-- Steve Bowman

8:39 a.m.

The first set of photos from the Day One launch are up.

We’ve had our first technical delay and Dave Mercer’s first Live Video update will be at 10 a.m. instead of 9 today.

- Mike Suchan

8:36 a.m.

Aaron Martens has moved into Weoka Creek, where he's pulled up within 20 yards of Terry Scroggins.
 According to one of the spectators on site, Scroggins caught a good one here - about 3 pounds - just before Martens arrived.
 Martens just caught a short fish that went back in the lake.
 
- Steve Wright

8:28 a.m.

VanDam is now culling, but he's only gaining an ounce or two -- not pounds. The bait of choice is a Caffeine Shad, fished on a spinning rod with braided line and a fluorocarbon or monofilament leader. I'll be surprised if he stays here much longer. He's culling, but not really upgrading his catch, and if this is a holding area rather than a feeding area, he's not likely to find better fish here.

-- Ken Duke

8:26 a.m.

In all the how-to stuff KVD has done over the years, not enough has been made of his hands. They're always in motion, always imparting action to his baits, always doing something different or extra to trigger strikes. If there's a secret to his methods-- other than his uncanny ability to find bass and anticipate their every move and adjustment -- maybe it's in his hands.

--Ken Duke

8:24 a.m.

The last few minutes have been a flurry all over the lake. KVD has finished a limit that weigh 6 or 7 pounds, Iaconelli has caught a limit that weigh 6 or 7 pounds.

Scroggins has two for 4-pounds, Casey Ashley has two for almost 4-pounds and Kriet has one for 2-pounds. All of those within the last 10 minutes.

-- Steve Bowman

8:21 a.m.

From Zona, in the boat with Martens:"He's constantly dipping his worm in a juice but being sneaky. Says this "juice" is unreal "

-- Tommy Sanders

8:20 a.m.

Aaron is moving after 20 minutes and no fish.  From Zona---Aaron had caught a four pounder on one cast in his short practice yesterday at this spot but no go this morn .  He's moved a few hundred yards away to a dropoff/ledge near the mouth of a slough.  After a few minutes of looking, he's back at it.

--Tommy Sanders

8:06 a.m.

Catches are starting to trickle in. Ott DeFoe leads the day with one fish that weighs in around 4-pounds. Then there's KVD with his two that weigh just over 2-pounds and Iaconelli with one at 1-12 and Scroggins with a 1-pound start.

Boats are still racing around on the lake.

-- Steve Bowman

8:04 a.m.

We dropped off of Evers and his 12-boat flotilla and picked up
Scroggins who's outside of Weoka Creek. Tindol cringed as Evers' crowd
blew past Big Show.

"Boat traffic is a killer on this lake; a lot of these guys just ran
right over top of one of the humps he was fishing," he said.

Evers headed back toward Jordan Dam, and we've picked up Steve Kennedy
now. He's fishing fishing boat houses right now with a buzzbait.
During yesterday's final practice day Kennedy was up at Mitchell Dam
throwing his swimbait, which got thumped in short order. We'll see if
he heads that way once the dam starts to generate a bit. However,
it'll only be one turbine running, which doesn't make for much
current.

Kennedy just missed one on the buzzbait.

--David Hunter Jones

8:02 a.m.

Just rolled up on Aaron Martens---newly arrived after a big win out west and a 2000 mile drive.  He's got the finesse thing going on a large flat that meets up with a long point.  Trash and brushpiles on the bottom.  Already he's eyeing a couple of locals on his Number 2 spot, 500-yards away.  No fish yet. It's 85 degrees water temps and flat calm.

--Tommy Sanders

8:01 a.m.

Aaron Martens has started in the New Lake area of Lake Jordan, where he caught the majority of his second-place total of 32 pounds in this event last year.
 
Martens has drawn a crowd - 25 spectator boats. But he hasn't landed a fish yet.
 
- Steve Wright

8:00 a.m.

KVD has picked up a spinning outfit and is making long casts with a small jerkbait, though we're too far back to see just what it is. Now he's back to the casting gear and what appears to be a walking bait. It looks like this first stop is where he hopes to pick up a quick limit of spotted bass before upgrading elsewhere.

-- Ken Duke

7:52 a.m.

My boat driver Kyle Tindol and I are following Edwin Evers this
morning. We were assigned from Weoka Creek up to Mitchell Dam, which
is at the "top" of Lake Jordan. Evers was the only one we saw headed
toward the dam, and he didn't go much past Weoka. He started by
chucking a deep-diving crankbait in the main lake, but only got hung
on brush. He's now tossing a topwater in search of schooling fish in
Weoka. Tindol says that Evers is in the perfect position for such a
bite.

"I'm amazed at how these guys always find stuff and are on it the
first cast," he said.

-- David Hunter Jones

7:41 a.m.

We're at the mouth of Swayback Creek, just across from the state launch, and KVD just put one in the boat. The bass weighed at least a couple of pounds, and he caught it on top. There are several humps in the area with a channel or ditch running through them. He seems to be laying off the buoys that mark the main humps. Maybe he's found something a little different away from the community holes.

--Ken Duke

7:40 a.m.

It didn't take long for Kevin VanDam to get on the board, as if that was a surprise. He's quickly caught two keepers for 2 pounds total. The rest of the field is looking for a place to camp. Or fghting their way through spectator boats.

There were at least 75 boats sitting outside the marina as the boats took off this morning, forcing a lot of weaving around on the take off.

We're sitting at the Marina and there is a constant buzz of boats running to and fro behind us. We expect that to only get worse, which could make those two fish KVD has boated a little more important.

-- Steve Bowman

7:24 a.m.

Lake Jordan Marina is rocking this morning. One thing about BASS, they like their music loud and with a beat. It fits right into the tempo of the morning.

The skies are overcast and there's a noticable breeze. Every angler in the field has a smile on their face. You couldn't tailor make better summer conditions on a lake like this and they all feel it.

Meanwhile, there is a bevy of spectator boats on the water and the dock has another line of several dozen waiting for the take off.

Dave Mercer is doing his deal, visiting with all the anglers, trying to get them stirred up and giving the spectators who showed up something to listen to over the beat of the music.

It's going to be an interesting day. I can't ever recall an event like these next two days, where there is no winner, but eight winners. Where the whole purpose is to fish well enough to not make in the bottom four. I know that the anglers realize it, but they also are treating this like any other event; their focus is on winning.

From now until 4 p.m., we will be in their hip pockets. We have four blogging teams on the water, with three photographers, 12 Marshals running BassTrakk and six cameramen capturing video for Bassmaster television.

Hopefully we will have a lot of information for you. So stay close.

--Steve Bowman

 

7:10 a.m.

The field is busy launching and tweaking their tackle at Lake Jordan Marina in preparation for launch at 7:30 a.m. CT. Toyota Trucks All-Star Week is almost under way as the 12 anglers ready to blast-off for the Ramada All-Star Semi-Final on Lake Jordan in Wetumpka, Ala.

Follow all the action here.

Our extensive coverage includes:

  • Live Video Updates from Dave Mercer at the top of each hour from 9 a.m. CT to 1 p.m.
  • BASSTrakk, the unofficial leaderboard, with weights and total number of catches throughout the day
  • BASSCam brings video reports each day from launch to weigh-in
  • The Realtime Leaderboard (this one’s official)
  • Live Weigh-ins at 5 p.m. CT each day
  • Hooked Up! Shows are at 4:45 p.m. CT, and stick around as Tommy Sanders and Mark Zona break it all down immediately after each weigh-in.
  • Photos from launches and on the water to weigh-ins and behind the scenes.

Feel free to tell us your thoughts or ask questions in the comments section below.

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