Gerald Swindle is on fire, culling as he boats a 7-pounder. Photo by Marshal Jim Lind
Pete Ponds has a limit and is culling. Photo by Marshal Ron Moore
Driving through one of the idle zones, Lane said he felt like the bite was really tough today. I guess when you go from 37 pounds to 19 or 20, you have a right to feel that way. He knows he's in good shape, but he also knows one lunker weighing 5, 8 or better would put him in excellent shape. He's still poking around. But feeling no bites.
This is the 19th BASS event on the St. Johns River and third Elite event. The first B.A.S.S. event on the St. Johns was in 1973. The St. Johns is the fourth most visited venue in BASS history (behind Sam Rayburn, Guntersville and Okeechobee). Former winners include Shaw Grigsby (1999), Terry Scroggins (2001) and Elite champions Edwin Evers (2011) and Alton Jones (2012).
Lane is back near where he started. He left here this morning because he wasn't "feeling" it. Be interesting to see if the feeling is here. Meanwhile I feel like Don Barone thinking about song lyrics using that word.
We are in the river making our way back, stopping occasionally and hitting a point or patch of pads every mile or so. Recreational boat traffic has picked up and there's a constant stream of boats passing behind. On our last stop I noticed the water patrol had a couple of boats pulled over for exceeding the 30-mph limit. We've been minding our Ps and Qs, so I was a little surprised when an officer boated up to us. We were about 100 yards from Lane. He wanted to know if we were with him.
Lane fished through an area, catching three, culling a few ounces. But more importantly losing two. He saw neither but said both felt like heavy fish. He's getting ready to move again, headed upriver in the direction of Lake George.
Chris Lane's 8-15 lead after two days is the fourth biggest in Elite history. Of the leads that were bigger, only Greg Gutierrez's 10-15 buffer after two days on Clear Lake in 2007 did not hold up. The biggest Elite lead after three days was 12-15 by Brandon Palaniuk at Bull Shoals in 2011; he went on to win.
We sneaked in on Davy Hite (5th with 57-8) just in time to see him haul back in response to a strike. He missed -- or the fish did -- and his momentum caused Hite to dance halfway to the stern. Only his agility kept him from going overboard. The fish that caused the near-mishap must have stayed put, for Hite went right back to pitching toward the bed.