FORT MADISON, Iowa — With 30 seconds left to go in the day, Cliff Pace pulled up on a spot close to the ramp, knowing that he had to cull one 14-inch bass from his five-fish limit.
"I looked at that spot in practice and it's just a spot in a current brake," Pace said. "I stopped there on the way back down the river and, sure enough, one had pulled up there. It was a gift from above, for sure."
Pace estimated that the last-second keeper helped him cull up a pound and left him with 12 pounds, 1 ounce for the day, vaulting him into 29th place in the standings after Day Two.
"I had that one 14-inch fish that would just barely touch the line; it wasn't over," Pace said. "Only one corner of the tail crossed the line. I caught that bigger fish, threw the little one back and headed to the weigh-in."
Riding nothing into the cut
Usually, it is unheard of for an angler to catch nothing on Day Two and still make the top-50 cut. At the Genuity River Rumble, it happened to three different anglers. Brent Chapman, James Niggemeyer and Pat Golden all failed to bring a fish to the scales, but, on the strength of their Day One bag, still qualified to fish Saturday in 39th, 45th and 44th respectively.
"I was telling my Marshal all day that I just needed one fish," Golden said. "Every time I caught one, it would be 13.5 inches. I never thought something like this could happen, not with these guys. They are so good, we usually gain a pound because these guys are the best in the world."
For Golden, the bigger problem on Day Two was motor trouble that saw him lose a significant portion of the day.
"I had motor problems — I broke down at 10 and didn't get back out on the water until about 2," Golden said.
Golden's primary areas for tomorrow look to be burned up, and he plans to try some backup spots, but the biggest feat for him was just making it to Saturday after a fishless day and a weigh-in that left him waiting to see if he would even make the cut.
"After 15 minutes, you feel like you are fishing behind Jesse James, cause these guys are robbing it." — Marty Stone
"I don't think there's enough water out there to run." — Russ Lane, when asked if he'd be staying in one spot or running up the river.
"I burned up pretty much all I had to burn up today." — Kevin Short
"Fishing always survives the tough times." — Rick Clunn
"I don't do it often, but today I put my boat on the trailer about 15 minutes early. I've hung up my weapons and I'm done." — Kenyon Hill
"I had 88 pounds last week, this week I've got eight pounds." — Rick Morris
"I shook a couple off for tomorrow." — Byron Velvick
"I ran about 15 miles to catch two bass." — Davy Hite