Rick Clunn’s morning started slow.
Rick Clunn’s morning started slow.
For the most part, it was a lot of casting around Piney Creek ...
... with very little biting.
At times he would set the hook, but come up empty.
But the 67-year old angler never stopped moving.
Occasionally, he would hook a dink.
Most of the time he was casting his signature Luck-E-Strike RC4 square bill.
At times he would load up and make big casts.
But most of the time he would make short, side arm casts.
Sometimes he cast around things.
But he was always casting.
And by mid-morning, he started hooking up with better fish.
This one made a short splash in front ...
... before Clunn could guide him to the side.
A quick sit down ...
... and a grab of the line ...
... and Clunn had his first keeper in his grasp.
The fish would open the lid to better quality bites.
But the short fish still liked his crankbait.
And Clunn kept casting.
Every once in a while, he would pick up a jig and pitch it to a laydown.
But most of the time, he was tossing his RC4.
Clunn cast an average of 11 to 14 times per minute.
He fished around bluff bank walls.
And along tree-lined banks.
Sometimes picking up a spinnerbait to catch a fish.
Occasionally, he would lose a short fish.
And every once in while a dog would pass by, looking for Michael Iaconelli.
And Clunn would catch a better fish.
But it would always be followed with short fish, like this one foul-hooked.
And then he’d get back to casting.
Or flipping when the opportunity presented itself.
But he’s always go back to the crankbait.
And he’d always catch something.
Wes Miller, BASS cameraman, even looked for new ways to video the casting.
The only time Clunn rested was when he was running his boat from one spot to the other.
And he’d jump to the front deck, firing a cast within seconds of the boat stopping.
There were times when he would be rewarded ...
... by catching a fish big enough for him to take a seat.
This one almost allows him to lay down.
But not for long as the fish comes aboard.
This would be his third keeper of the day.
Caught in the shadows of an Ozark bluff.
As soon as the boat was back in position, the rod was too.
And it didn’t take long for another quality fish to bite.
This bass makes a big jump by the boat.
Then flips sending a shower of water in the air.
Before crashing down next to the boat.
Clunn quickly swings it in ...
... as it sprays water everywhere.
And on the next cast, Clunn would hook up again.
This one taking him to the side of the boat ...
... before Clunn brings him aboard and fills his limit.
A cast later, he’s hooked up again.
This one culls his smallest fish, giving him about 11 pounds.
Clunn kept casting, even while doing a phone interview with Mark Zona and Tommy Sanders.
And kept casting, while Wes Miller shot a GoPro above him.
He even took the time to joke with Miller while a small fish dangled in front of the GoPro.
Things got serious when better fish were brought aboard.
And when Clunn deposited the too-small fish back into the lake.
And even more serious when Clunn hooked up here.
This fish quickly got to the side of the boat.
And Clunn had to go to the trolling motor to pull it away from the shallows.
In deeper water, Clunn takes a seat.
And pulls in his best fish of the day.
But quick as a whistle, he’s back up and casting.
And not much later, he’s hooked up.
But with much smaller fish.
At times, he would turn to watch an Elite angler speed by.
But for the most part he focused on making the perfect cast.
And when he went under the I-40 bridge, three ladies cheering a veterans motorcycle ride on the interstate cheered for him as well.
By the time he would leave Piney Creek, though, he would have only enough to finish in fourth place.