Brandon Palaniuk should still be basking in the glow of his win at Bull Shoals earlier this year. It put him in the Bassmaster Classic and made him $100K richer. Without that one stellar performance, Palaniuk would be having an absolutely miserable year. He's currently 68th in the AOY rankings and his 34th-place finish at Toledo Bend was his second-best of his season.
1) Robinson just boated his second keeper of the day. It looked like it might go 2 1/2 pounds. 2) And keeper No. 3 for Marty! He's started a little flurry here. He's casting his jig to the channel break and working it slowly back. This last fish was in the 2-pound range. 3) Marty is rollin'. Keeper number four was just flipped in the boat. It is his biggest of the day, looking to be in the 3 1/2-pound range. He's taking time to retie before casting back to the school.
At the first day weigh-in, Casey Ashley weighed in more than 20 pounds — good enough for fourth place — and said he didn't want to be leading the tournament after the first day. At the time, I thought it was a strange statement — still do. Why not lead from the get-go? After all, every ounce you get in the first round is an ounce you won't have to catch later. And unless you're Kevin VanDam, Michael Iaconelli or some kind of local icon, spectator boats usually aren't a big issue.
If your favorite Elite angler doesn't rank in the top 60 in the AOY race, it doesn't look like he'll be fishing in next year's Bassmaster Classic ... unless he can win a tournament this season. Anyone that far back has too much ground to make up and too many other anglers to leapfrog to get into the top 36 or 37 and earn a Classic berth.
Robinson went to make a cast and his jig flew off. He went to retie and now hasn't made a cast in 5 minutes. Not really sure what's going on, but I'm guessing he's retying everything on his deck. These Toledo bend stick-ups are hell on line.
As soon as Mark Zona departs the boat, Brent Chapman hauls in a 5-pounder.
Robinson just made a move. He rocketed about 5 miles farther north. He is now fishing just off the main channel. He's again targeting the 12- to 15-foot range, dragging a jig.
Most of the armada observing Brent Chapman has been courteous. But when Chapman recently moved 100 yards to the west side of this standing timber section, another boater drove right next to where Chapman had left a marker buoy, punched a GPS waypoint, then sped off. That was followed by another boater who trolled over to the marker buoy and started fishing. Chapman moved back near the buoy, and the fisherman promptly pulled up his trolling motor and left.
At 9 a.m. (CST) we will kick off our War Room coverage of this event. Part of the lineup includes an initial recap of the event's action at 9 a.m., followed by an interview with Todd Faircloth, one of those anglers many expected to be fishing today but who got bit by the Toledo Bend bug. After that, every hour at the top of the hour, we will be interviewing anglers and following those up with videos from on the water and reports of catches as they come in throughout the day until 2 p.m.
Although Brent Chapman has never won an Elite Series tournament, he has been in this position before — leading after the second and third days of an Elite event. It happened in the 2007 season finale on the Kissimmee Chain. Chapman grabbed the lead from former Elite Series pro Bill Smith on Day 2 and still had it by the end of Day Three. Unfortunately for Chapman, he couldn't finish it off.