Randy Howell has thought for a long time that someone could make a charge up the leaderboard on the final day of the Classic, like Howell is doing today. Unprompted, Howell offered the following after Saturday's weigh-in: "This is probably one of the few places we could have a Classic where you could see a big-time spoiler win this thing. I've been saying for the last month that anyone in the top 10 or 12 could win this on the last day."
Mueller is back in action. He just landed this keeper and culled up again. We’ve got him loosely at 18 pounds, though the BASSTrakk estimates are likely on the conservative side. He’s still pummeling the same 50-yard stretch of grass with a Chatterbait and Ima Rock’N Vibe lipless crankbait.
DeFoe's cameraman boat jumps into the follow boat to film DeFoe from boat to boat. At that moment DeFoe hooks a solid bass on a swimbait and swings it over the side. That gets another scream. That makes number four. Three good fish and one that needs to be culled.
Tharp started idling toward the next dock but stopped well short of it to flip some laydowns. In the brushiest part of one tree, he hooked a big fish that got wrapped up in the tangle of branches. He had the fish pinned at the surface and the water was swirling, but he was afraid to exert more pressure and break his line. Suddenly, it was gone. He threw down his rod and sat down for 30 seconds with his head buried between his hands before reporting that it was a 9- or 10-pounder.
Max Leatherwood owes Jeff Kriet a soda. Kriet and Leatherwood, the first Bassmaster representatives to see Paul Mueller’s huge Classic Day 2 limit, wagered a soda on guessing its weight. Kriet, the 2010 Bassmaster Classic runner-up, guessed 29-12. Leatherwood, a long-time Bassmaster tournament “bump station” bass inspector, estimated it at 27-4. Mueller himself said, 33-8, having weighed each fish with a hand scale.
As he left another unproductive dock, Tharp apologized to his gallery: "Sorry guys. I'm trying." He sped toward the mouth of the creek, stopping partway to hit a three-stall boathouse on the side of a point, but not leading into a defined pocket.
Though it couldn’t be called scrambling, Paul Mueller is sure digging around his boat quite a bit. He’ll toss one thing for a while, then root around a bit, pull out another rod then get back to casting. His cameraman has left him, likely to find some hotter action. That’s not to say that Mueller’s done, but there’s simply nothing going on at the moment. He’s still alternating between an Ima Rock’N Vibe lipless crankbait and ChatterBait with Reins swimbait trailer.
DeFoe has checked his livewell several times. Apparently, he has a bass that might die. Sure enough, he digs out the bass and releases it. It was a small one. He knows that he can't win the Classic and take home the trophy if he has to weigh a small dead fish. Bassmaster rules do not allow the anglers to release dead fish. In addition, there is a penalty for dead bass. I had to stop blogging for a moment to watch DeFoe battle and land a 4-pounder. This one elicits a scream and a fist pump.
Edwin Evers just cranked up and moved about 400 yards back toward the mouth of the Goose Pond area. He started fishing around an island but quickly changed sticks and turned his attention to an offshore grass patch.
Tharp spent a lot of time on the point dock to no avail. When he was done he idled across the cove and hit one on the opposite entry point. He's spending so much time on particular pilings that you might think he'd seen a bedding fish, but this is the dirtiest water we've encountered. No way he's seen anything, just has to hope big mama sucks in his jig.