Jordan Lee is on the board with a 3 pounder. He's moved to shallow water and is punching grass.
We pulled up to a large crowd just outside of downtown Guntersville and found Randy Howell fishing a bank of rip rap next to the highway. The moment we arrived Howell hooked up with a nice four pounder. The crowd went wild! An hour after takeoff Randy Howell is off to a very fast start. He has a limit that BASSTrakk is showing as 23 pounds 4 ounces. And he moved unofficially into the lead.
We arrived at Edwin Evers' spot in Goose Pond a few minutes ago. A spectator told me that Evers has caught one fish that will weigh about 3 pounds. He's pulling on another one now and it's in the boat. I'm calling this one 2 pounds, so that should give him about 5 pounds at this point.
Tharp is on fire. He just landed another keeper. This one jumped completely out of the water right in front of the boat. He continued to fight it, dropped to his knees, reached down and lipped it. There should be a great picture of it in this afternoon's photo gallery. That's the first one we've seen jump like that all week — a sign that they're getting more active? UPDATE: Check out this video by James Overstreet on Tharp's quick start.
My boat driver, Phil Williams, and I put in upriver at Waterfront and went in search of Ott DeFoe. (Phil tells me the Chevron station across the highway from the ramp makes a mean biscuit.) We find DeFoe fishing riprap in Mink Creek. Eight boatloads of fans are watching him. They tell us that DeFoe already has a keeper in the box. Fans also watch DeFoe from vehicles that pulled over on the causeway.
It didn't take Tharp long to get the fish fired up. One cast after landing and releasing a short fish, he caught one that he had to take his time with. From our distant vantage point it appeared to be at least four pounds. Yesterday's yells were fairly subdued -- this time he let out a whoop they could probably hear back at the ramp.
We've made the long run up the lake and found Randall Tharp and his spectators where we started on them yesterday. They seem to be respecting his water and giving him space. On the way up we dodged loads of floating grass and trash, but the water color doesn't seem bad at all. It's also by far the warmest morning of the tournament. I don't think it'll be any surprise if he wrecks 'em today.
Jordan Lee is throwing a jig at his first spot. Nothing yet, but the spectator boats are staying a very respectful distance away.