After understandably second guessing his gameplan throughout a tough day of fishing, Watson finally found the reassurance he's been searching for in the form of a 3 1/2-pounder. Keeper No. 4 is in the box, and the voices inside Watson's head go quiet ... for now. "That was my last cast with the topwater," said Watson. "I was about to call an audible."
Frustration is the best way to describe what's bouncing around in James Watson's head right now. Watson has three fish in the well for a little better than 6 pounds. Buts he's a combined 6 inches away from having hooked 15 pounds. Near-miss after near-miss. Blowup after blowup. Watson presses on through the aggravation of it all, knowing he only needs two or three good bites to make the Classic.
They're not getting any bigger, but they are coming more regular. James Watson just put keeper No. 3 in the boat. All between 2 and 2 1/2 pounds. Conservatively Watson has 6 1/2 pounds. A couple 3-pounders and he could potentially hold onto the 2016 Geico Bassmaster Classic berth. But Watson didn't set out this morning to "hold onto it," he wants to clench "his" Classic berth. We'll see what happens.
"10:08" That's what James Watson said as he stepped back on the front deck after dumping keeper No. 2 into the well, a 2 1/2-pound smallmouth. "I still got time to do this." Of course you do, my dear Watson. Right on track with the last two days, having two keepers in the boat as 10 o'clock rolls around. What Watson doesn't know, the natives are getting restless behind him.
James Overstreet reports that Clunn now has a five-bass limit. His total weight is estimated at 13 pounds. Clunn told Overstreet he’s got 15 pounds and needs to cull up two fish. He’d like to have 18 pounds.
JO (James Overstreet) on Rick Clunn Clunn has just landed a “big football smallmouth and I got the juice on it.” “Juice” in JO speak is the dramatic waterfall effect of water dripping from a largemouth being landed by an angler. Attempting to transcribe my text conversations with him would be an injustice to capturing Clunn in the moment. So the best I can do is post the following quotes sent via text message by JO.
Years ago Rick Clunn was shunned by some anglers for his intense study of Zen. His objective was learning more about himself while using the meditation to put him in a higher state of mental being with his fishing. He’s proven it many times. James Overstreet just relayed one of those moments. A bass broke the surface to Clunn’s stern and, while he didn’t see it happen, the instinct kicked in. Clunn immediately spun the boat around and with a quick cast landed the topwater where the fish broke, even after the surface rings had disappeared.
Rick Clunn just moved to his third spot of the day. He’s using a large prop bait and casting the topwater in pockets with scattered standing timber. His technique is casting and winding. There’s no jerking to impart the textbook splashing, churning action of the lure. Here’s his first bass of the day, taken by James Overstreet.