Ott DeFoe has yet to register a bite on Lake Decatur. In typical DeFoe fashion, he's tossing small crankbaits, spinnerbaits and pitching a small black-and-blue jig to laydowns. As I write this, DeFoe hooked into a solid keeper. This wasn't the kind of fish you "ski" to the boat; he was playing it alongside his boat when it popped off. "No!" DeFoe hollered, as he slumped to the deck, crouching and holding his head. I sure hope that one doesn't come back and bite him later.
It seems we've been here before. At last year's All-Star event on the Alabama River, Gerald Swindle established what he called "the poop-pipe pattern" - fishing near a wastewater treatment outlet pipe and catching several bass from it. Swindle has now worked his way to the other side of Reas Bridge, opposite Isaac Walton Park. And what sits on the bank above him? A wastewater treatment facility, of course.
Did you know that three of the four anglers on the water today at All-Star Week were in the semifinals last year, too?
It doesn't take long to get anywhere on Lake Decatur, which has only 3,000 surface acres. Gerald Swindle ran up the lake from the Nelson Park launch site and stopped to fish the bridge pilings near Isaac Walton Park. He had a line in the water 10 minutes after takeoff. With the wind expected to be up to 20 miles per hour from the northwest by 10 a.m., and blow even harder the rest of the day, these early hours may be more crucial than they usually are in a day of tournament fishing.
I've followed Evers to the extreme northern end of Lake Decatur. We are idling now, and it appears as if we have another mile or so of idling to go. There are a couple of spectators sticking with us. In talking with Evers, that's the last thing he wants. He has to go over an extremely shallow bar, which could keep us out. But the area behind it, according to Evers, can be hurt by a lot of boat traffic. It will be interesting to see him get there. And we hope we can get there with him.
I'm sitting in the water watching the early morning festivities. There are four boats snugged together with four anglers bundled up and itching to go. On the bank are hundreds of spectators lining the banks and trying to get as close to these guys as possible. Out here on the lake are dozens of boats waiting to follow; almost all of them were here the previous two days. The fishing in Illinois may not have been so hot. But the fans are on another level.
Swindle welcomes Facebook fan and contest winner, Heath Stokes, to the 2012 Toyota Trucks All-Star Championship.
See the produced video from B.A.S.S. from the Evan Williams Bourbon All Star Championship.
Evers' streak continues, but the last fish he caught was a striper. It put up a mighty and dramatic fight, though. He's moved offshore and is dragging either a football jig, Texas rig or Carolina rig, which my boat driver Joe Cupp says is usually productive. In typical Evers fashion, though, he's always moving.
Follow the All-Stars on the water with BASSCam.