The fish catching seems really slow today, but that impression may be coming from the fact there are only 12 and we're used to having more on the water. I'm trying to recall if this feeling is the same way every Sunday. Either way, a few catches are trickling in. Besides those already noted, Tommy Biffle, who is up the Fox River, has added a couple of keepers. Both are small and add up to about 4 pounds. James Niggemeyer has a couple for 5 1/2 pounds, and Russ Lane has one for 3 1/2 pounds.
Palaniuk gives the biggest credit for finding this place to his Navionics chip. It's nice to know that kids still take their homework seriously these days. Still one fish for 4 pounds at 8 a.m.
Things haven't changed any for Jonathon VanDam. Lake Michigan is very slick and the fish haven't started to bite at all. I'm sure he is wishing the wind would pick up very soon. However, today's forecast calls for a maximum wind of 5 miles per hour today, not what VanDam, or probably anyone else, wants to hear.
Earlier, Steve Bowman said that statistics "don't amount to a hill of beans" at this tournament. I have a lot of respect for Steve and his knowledge of professional fishing, but I'll disagree with him about that. You might be interested to know that this tournament stacks up pretty normally ... statistically speaking. Here are some numbers that tell the story of the tournament:
It's go time for the Top 12 anglers of the Green Bay Challenge.
Leader Brandon Palaniuk has started the day just like he ended Saturday, when he caught a 4-pounder on his last cast. Palaniuk's first fish today was a 4-pounder as well. We also know that Aaron Martens has two bass now weighing a total of 5 1/2 pounds, and Dean Rojas has a 3-pounder.
Photographer James Overstreet and I are following Jonathon VanDam, who is only 4 ounces behind leader Brandon Palaniuk. And JVD doesn't have a fish so far. The lake is very calm, and that looks like it could be a game-changer. "I guess I'm going to have to earn it," VanDam said.
Fish catches seem to be a little slow starting the final day of the Green Bay Challenge. But at this point we do know that Aaron Martens has a 2 1/2-pounder in the boat. Lake Michigan has been unusually kind this week to the anglers making the 35-mile run to Little Sturgeon Bay, the north boundary of the tournament waters. At takeoff the water was slicker than it has been all week, making some anglers wonder if it wasn't too calm. Smallmouth bass fishing generally improves with at least some kind of ripple on the water.
Palaniuk has been fishing his Sammy topwater plug for about 15 minutes with a couple of swirls, and Zona says that a pack of giants just missed it.
Palaniuk is fishing 5 to 7 feet of water, working a topwater over grass, broken rock and sand. He tells Zona he has to have 20 pounds today to win. I can't emphasize enough the flat, dead calm airless atmosphere out here -- bugs everywhere. Zona claims that these conditions will hurt some of our anglers today.