If ever a Bassmaster Elite Series tournament has produced more wild fish tales, it doesn't come easily to mind.
Tournament leader Brent Chapman puts on a show on Toledo Bend.
See video of Ott DeFoe catching his second keeper of the day.
OK, this is really my last comment about the importance of catching a limit in Elite competition. It really shows itself when it comes to winning a tournament. It's practically impossible to do without catching five each and every day of an event. In fact, only three times in Elite history has the winner not limited every day. Kelly Jordon won the 2006 event on the Potomac and weighed just four bass on Day Three. Casey Ashley did it the next season, clinging to his lead at Smith Mountain despite being one bass short of a limit on the final day.
So far this season, 31 anglers have limited each day they've been on the water. By the time the season ends, that number promises to be much, much smaller — certainly in single digits and it might even be zero. In Elite history, only six anglers have limited every day they competed for an entire season. Jeff Kriet was the first to do it in 2007. Last season, no one did it.
Speaking of limits (which I was), the guys who are the very best at catching numbers of bass in competition won't surprise you much. They're also the guys who regularly win, regularly challenge for AOY and regularly qualify for the Bassmaster Classic. Here are the best five in Elite history at bringing a limit to the scales. The number represents the average number of bass they weigh in on a competition day. 1. Kevin VanDam 4.8818 2. Aaron Martens 4.8729
Casey Ashley and Shaw Grigsby both have really strong spots on Toledo Bend this week, and it's kept them near the top of the leaderboard.
We got a quick word with Brent Chapman before we leave the lake for the day. He confirmed that he's had his confidence restored by catching some bass in the last hour. He's keeping close track of his total weight for the day and says he now has 16 pounds. He also confirmed that he'll soon go back to his previous days' hot spot. "It's good to get around some and be able to catch them," Chapman said. "Out there, I started feeling like I'd forgot how."
KVD has the record for limiting 57 competition days in a row. On the bad side of that stat is Brent Broderick, who once went eight consecutive competition days without catching a 5-bass limit in 2011. The next longest streak of limit futility belongs to Grant Goldbeck, who went seven straight competition days without getting to cull, also in 2011. Only three other anglers have gone as long as six competition days in a row without a limit — Jon Bondy, Boyd Duckett and Jeff Reynolds.
Brent Chapman has moved again, but just barely this time. And the move paid off, just like the last one. He didn't get his boat on plane this time, in moving deeper into a creek arm of Toledo Bend by maybe a couple hundred yards. Chapman quickly caught two bass, one of which helped him cull up by ounces.