We spent about 20 fruitless minutes looking for Bill Lowen and Rick Clunn, but couldn't track either down so we headed to the launch to drop off B.A.S.S. Photographer Darren Jacobson. Make sure you check out the Day Four On The Water gallery because Darren got some great shots this morning from Rojas, Horton, Scroggins, Prince, Howell and Pace. Now we're back on the water chasing down a hot tip on where Lowen is fishing, and we'll see if we can track him down.
Todd Faircloth is culling. Dennis Tietje and I think he has gained a few ounces up to nearly 14 pounds. He seems very relaxed and patient, slowly working his way through The Box. The sun is out full force — 85 degrees now. Todd just took his pants off. Just to be clear, he did have shorts on underneath. We have 14 boats in here watching Todd from a safe distance. He told us this morning not to get too close. You've got to respect that. When a guy is in the lead he doesn't want to take a chance of anyone spooking his fish.
James Overstreet and I just witnessed a textbook Aaron Martens move. He used his electronics to target a bass and then put a drop shot Roboworm right in its face to entice a strike. It was a smallmouth bass, the first we've seen him catch in the Black River, and it went in his livewell. However, it helped only by an ounce or two.
Now that we're almost three-quarters of the way through the 2012 Elite Series season, it's interesting to note that only three anglers (Ott DeFoe, Bill Lowen and Kevin VanDam) have made the first cut in every event. KVD has now made 18 cuts in a row (a record). DeFoe has only missed one cut in his two-year Elite career. Lowen is fishing his first Top 12 of the season today. He's making lots of cuts, but before this tournament his best finish of the season was 25th. He's been consistent, but not spectacular.
Aaron Martens has caught only one bass in the last 30 or 45 minutes, and that one went right back in the river. He had a lull like this yesterday, which is probably reassuring to him right now. Martens left this area of Black River around 11 a.m., caught a couple of other fish, then came back late in the day. That's when he really started catching them again, and when he lost a 4-pounder at the boat. So Martens now has the confidence to wait-out the bass bite here. The last thing you want on Day Four is to have to go searching for new fish.
If you don't believe all the commentary about the mayflies — and if you don't live in a mayfly-ridden area, you might just think the anglers are exaggerating — check out these photos. T.J. DeVoe of www.bassfirst.com shared these photos on Twitter. The first photo was taken last night at a gas station as the mayflies were practically raining down. The second photo was the aftermath at the same gas station this morning.
After leaving Randy Howell to go find Bill Lowen, we spotted Cliff Pace only about a half mile up, fishing the same hard bank.
We found Randy Howell fishing a hard bank on the Minnesota side, working a frog with short twitches around laydowns and overhanging grass. He hadn't had a fish until he pulled up on this bank but has caught five since he's been here. He kept one 3 pound plus and a couple others that were 2 1/2 pounds.
It's going to be a showdown today on the Mississippi River! Watch the guys get revved up for the final day of competition.
We worked back to where Cliff Prince is, about 200 yards from Scoggins. He only has two little keepers and says he thinks it's been kind of slow. Meanwhile, Big Show is culling and has about 10 or 11 pounds. Although both are throwing frogs, they are working them very differently. Scroggins is methodically twitching his and giving it frequent pauses while Prince is almost burning it back to the boat.