We trolled into huge expanse of matted vegetation at the north end of Stoddard and found Cliff Prince, Kotaro Kiriyama and Terry Scroggins each fishing different sections of the mat. Prince has four, but they are all small and he thinks the two days prior have really taken their toll on the fish population as he really hasn't gotten the bites he got yesterday as he sacked more than 16 pounds. Kiriyama, who we watched land his third keeper, thinks it is more the overcast conditions than anything else that is hurting the bite.
Chris Lane said he's beginning to regret not keeping some of those smaller fish this morning.
Aaron Martens continues to catch fish, just nothing that will help him at this point. He landed one that looked close, but putting it on a balance beam proved it wasn't an upgrade. Photographer James Overstreet and I are leaving the water for the day. Neither of us will be surprised if Martens doesn't go back to his starting point for the day and add at least another pound or two.
According to his Marshal, Ron Twardowski, Todd Faircloth has culled up to 14 pounds. He is now leading this event on Day 3.
It seems like the bite has been a little slow for some. As we made our way back downriver, we ran into several anglers who either haven't filled their limits yet or they are fishing the Minnesota side and waiting for the right bites. Here's what they had to say: Matt Greenblatt has just one keeper. He said he thinks that "something's changed," and he couldn't get any where he's been catching them in the morning.
Mike Iaconelli has moved around quite a bit this morning. Right now he's testing the backwaters near Crater Island. We're seeing clouds of mayflies circling above the tall grasses. Ike tried about 10 casts and then blasted out of here.
Did you know that the eventual winner of six out of the last seven Elite tournaments had the lead after Day Two? That's right, and it probably makes Todd Faircloth fans feel pretty good. The only winner who didn't have the lead after Day Two was Jeremy Starks, who was third at this stage of the Douglas Lake tournament.
The AOY race is becoming better defined as we head into the stretch run of the 2012 season, and it looks like a five-angler race with Brent Chapman leading the way. If history can tell us anything about the battle, it's that the field is very small with just two tournaments left to go. Only twice in Elite Series history has the eventual AOY been any farther back than second place at this stage.
The fishing has been so good at the Elite tournaments this year that 29 anglers have caught a five bass limit every day they've competed. And with Lake Michigan and Oneida left on the schedule, it looks like most of them will continue that streak. It's pretty rare for even one angler to limit every day for an entire season. Only six have done it before — Jeff Kriet (2007), Todd Faircloth (2008), Tim Horton (2008), Bobby Lane (2008), Michael Iaconelli (2010) and Peter Thliveros (2010).
We're now watching Rick Clunn. He's fishing up against the bank on the main channel, just north of Stoddard, methodically moving down the bank. Two trains have gone by no more than 20 feet from him. The water is rising, and we have cloud cover, coming off a high-pressure situation. Dennis Tietje says this may play into the hands of the guys who are flipping.