PARIS, Tenn. — Fred Roumbanis landed the biggest bass of the first two tournament days Thursday, an 8-pound, 4-ounce brute.
While he wouldn't say exactly what lure produced the big girl, he did offer up that "it was pretty scary catching it on light line."
He caught the fish on a small grassy ridge that produced another large bass in practice. Roumbanis believes it might have been the same fish.
Like a trophy hunter, Roumbanis seems to have figured out a way to target specific fish that he finds in practice. Last year during his victory at Lake Murray, a big girl he nicknamed "Sugar" eluded him for three days before he landed her on Day Four. He hadn't nicknamed this fish during practice.
Fellow competitor Britt Myers suggested "Larry the Moose." Not quite as catchy as "Sugar," but the thrill was just as good.
Someone needs to tell Arkansas pro Clark Reehm that no awards are given to the angler who catches the most different species of fish, just the largest overall weight of bass.
Reehm's four-fish bag Thursday included two largemouths, a smallmouth and one spotted bass, all caught on a football head jig. He also landed a sauger and a crappie on that same jig. Unfortunately, the sauger probably weighed more than any of the fish he weighed in.
Yesterday Reehm also had a 22-pound catfish. Aaron Martens watched him struggle with it and "just sat there and laughed at me," Reehm said.
Bobby Lane's trolling motor cable broke Thursday morning, but it wasn't the disaster it might have been under different circumstances. The wind was blowing across Lane's fishing area at the right speed and from the right direction, so the Florida angler simply would run his big motor upwind past his fishing hole, then drift down across it and get in as many casts as possible.
Trolling motor or no trolling motor, Lane was able to weigh in a stringer of five bass that totaled 24-9.
Where'd he go?
Ken Cook might have lost a rod and reel Thursday had it not been for his marshal's quick action. Cook had just caught a 3 1/2-pounder and after unhooking it, laid his rod and reel down on the deck with the jig he was using dangling in the water. A roving bass spotted the jig, inhaled the lure and then took off for parts unknown, pulling the rod and reel into the water in the process.
Without hesitating, John Cook of Ohio dove for the Oklahoma's tackle just as it went over the side, and wound up in the drink himself. As Ken Cook related the story to the weigh-in crowd Thursday, he heard a big splash, looked around and noticed his partner was missing.
In a flash, however, John Cook sputtered to the surface with the pro's tackle in hand. Not only that, but the bass was still attached. Ken Cook had to release it, of course, but John Cook now ranks as the only marshal to have caught a bass during a Bassmaster Elite Series tournament.
"I had 25 pounds, so I thought I'd play a little defense." — Bobby Lane
"I've only fished about an hour and 20 minutes in two days." — Bobby Lane
"You're not going to see me downsizing in this tournament. I promise you that." — Bobby Lane
"When I hooked a fish and reeled it in, they were smaller today." — John Crews, answering the question of how Thursdaydiffered from Wednesday.
"I've got dinkitis." — Matt Herren
"When you're at Kentucky Lake you're supposed to fish ledges, but I didn't have a fish at noon so I picked up my flipping stick and I had 15 pounds in two hours." — Bill Lowen
"They call me 'Day Two Kennedy." — Steve Kennedy, who had the largest limit of the day and vaulted up from outside the money cut into 10th place.