Chris Lane just hooked up and landed a fish, not a big one but it put him on the board. Spectator boats are gradually filtering over to him. He seems exceptionally relaxed, chatting with his cameraman and noting our presence. There's one key feature to this bank that has captured his focus.
Despite eliciting the loudest cheers at the dock this morning, Chris Lane only has three spectator boats trailing him now. We just followed him a short distance up lake from Crews. He's working tight to the bank.
Overstreet and I made a beeline for what we expected to be a crowded area and found 20+ spectator boats congregated a respectable distance from John Crews. One spectator reported that Crews caught a big fish right off the bat. He's winding slowly with repeated pauses, facing upstream.
One boat after another heads out onto Guntersville after Dave Mercer introduces them, his big voice blaring over the rock music. Local pro Chris Lane gets a big cheer from the crowd. Amid this organized chaos, Ott DeFoe sits behind his boat's console, slowly munching a Pop-Tart as if he did't have a care in the world. Nerves of steel. Of the eight rods on his front deck, four are matched with lipless rattling crankbaits. Think he's onto something?
Aaron Martens was making lure adjustments right up until takeoff, changing out one jerkbait for the same lure in a different color. He only had 2 rods on the deck but as Dave Mercer called his name he opened the rod locker and grabbed two more -- same baits, different colors, two on each side of the deck.
It looks like someone asked a marshall to leave this unlucky fruit on the dock at the launch site.
A heavily-bearded Michael Iaconelli. He has eight rods spread out on his deck with the greatest variety of lures I've seen so far. I see a deep and shallow crankbait, a jerkbait, a lipless rattler, a few jigs, a chattering style jig and he says he might even break out a swimbait. He's going to give Guntersville's bass every opportunity for a ride in his boat.
As you read this, I’m on Lake Guntersville trying to stuff my livewell with big bass with hopes of making a run at my fifth Bassmaster Classic title.
Chris Zaldain has only two rods on his deck. Each one sports a Strike King Red Eye Shad, one chrome, another in a red pattern. He says the second half of his practice was good. He is ready to pick up where he left off in practice.
I qualified for my first GEICO Bassmaster Classic back in 1997, which coincidentally was held right here in Birmingham.