LAKE WALES, Fla. — As expected, the wind rocked the world of the sight fishing crowd on Day Three. But not so expected, it rocked the worlds of everyone else in the field as well.
Having some experience in covering Florida events, that type of shift isn't all that unusual. Knowing that it can happen, though, never prepares you for when it actually does.
Kelly Jordon scores a zero. If that sounds familiar, take a look at last week and see what happened to Brian Snowden.
Jordon started the day with an 8-pound cushion, now he's right at 7 pounds back. It's an almost certainty that Jordon is the first angler to ever zero on Day Three of an Elite Series event and stay alive to fish on Day Four.
It's an almost certainty that Florida is the only place that is likely to happen. But it serves well as an illustration for how frustrating Florida fishing can be, even at this level.
"I can never figure out (Florida fishing),'' said Skeet Reese, who not only secured his Angler of the Year title on this lake but won his first big-time BASS event on Harris Chain. "Every time I leave here, I'm scratching my head and wondering what happened."
Despite his success here, his sentiment is dead on for many of these anglers. And it sets up what can only be described as an exciting conclusion for this event. Because the reality is all but one of them will likely be scratching their head after Day Four.
And not a single one of them is immune to Floridaitis.
That may be hard to believe with Kevin VanDam sitting atop the leaderboard wth more than a 2-pound lead. But even VanDamage hasn't been immune. He weighed in a not-so whopping 13-pound stringer today, half of that coming on one fish.
Currently, the outlook for this event is riding on the whims of one giant fish. That it happened to bite VanDam isn't unusual. But going into Day Four, you have to wonder about the whims of the next giant bite.
Who will be the guy?
And as you filter your eyes down the list of the final 12, it's easy to see that any one of those anglers could make the same type move Mike McClelland made last week or worse, the same move Snowden and Jordon have made.
Like all Florida events, if you think you have this one figured out, stick around and prepare to be humbled. Oh, and watch out for Bryan Hudgins.
Visit Bassmaster.com for full coverage of the Elite Series Citrus Slam on the Kissimmee Chain, from Lake Wales, Fla., March 13th–16th, 2008. Daily weigh-ins with live streaming video and real-time leaderboards start at 4 p.m. ET. "Hooked Up" will air Sunday at 10 a.m., noon and 3:30 p.m. ET.