Wendell Johnston on being marshal for Terry Butcher

Terry Butcher
Terry Butcher

DECATUR, Ala. — One of the new features of the Elite Series this year is employing marshals to accompany pros as non-fishing observers.

At the Evan Williams Dixie Duel on Lake Wheeler, Ala., we asked two marshals, Chris Pope of Pensacola, Fla., and Wendell Johnston of Belfast, Tenn., to keep journals of their day on the water with Todd Auten and Terry Butcher, respectively.

Here's what Johnston had to say, as it happened:

Quick cuts from Butcher

It takes Terry all of about five minutes to catch his first fish, a keeper smallmouth. The next cast gets another, and the third keeper is in the boat four minutes later. By 8:03 a.m., he's got his fourth keeper, a cull fish that probably isn't going to stay in the boat, the way things are looking.

Thirty minutes later, Terry gets a 3-pounder on one of the two lures that he favors most of the day, and by this time I'm looking around for a rod and reel myself. Terry is on to some fish, but whether he can gets some quality bites remains to be seen.

A respectable finish

Terry is catching shorts all morning. At 9:47, he has his fifth keeper, but it's nothing to get excited about. If Terry could weigh in anything but bass, he would have a heck of a stringer. He's caught two nice crappie and a huge catfish, a flathead, I think.

At 1 p.m., Terry finally gets a better fish and swaps it for one of the smaller bass in the livewell. At 3:25, he does it again, this time with a respectable spot that goes in the livewell.

Now, it's time to get back to the weigh-in, and we're fixing to get really, really wet.

(Butcher finished Day One tied for 53rd place with 11 pounds, 4 ounces.)