Though he's won a couple of Elite events, Todd Faircloth has only been the leader going into the final round once before — 2006 on Table Rock, where he finished it out with the win. Faircloth is a strong closer; he's not going to lose this tournament. If someone else is going to win, they're going to have to beat him. It won't be a case of Faircloth letting it slip away.
Ben Potaracke is the camera boat operator following Terry Butcher today. He sent in this report: "Terry Butcher is fishing slop and mats with a frog and has a limit for about 11 pounds. He just moved over to the other side of the slough and is fishing open water with a spinnerbait. He has caught four more with the spinnerbait but none of them helped his bag." He followed that with:
Faircloth caught his limit today throwing a white frog. A few minutes ago he switched to a swim jig and started moving down the shore of the island. He's moving now, across the channel to an area called The Box.
While all of us are focused on the waters of the Mississippi River, watching to see who will put together the perfect plan to win this Elite event, it's appropriate that we take a moment and mourn the loss of one of bass fishing greatest advocates, Homer Circle.
We followed Rojas as he made a couple of quick stops on the points of some rock islands at the bottom of Pool 8. He caught what looked like a couple of shorts but pulled back into a long cut. We didn't want to disturb his fishing, so we're going to go look for 9th place Big Show Terry Scroggins and 7th place Cliff Prince.
Aaron Martens moved toward the back of the Black River mouth, where he started this morning, after Mark Zona left his boat. He promptly put his fifth bass in the livewell; this one came on the big flutter spoon. It was another small keeper. Then Martens caught another one, this one in the 2 1/4-pound range, which allowed him to cull one of the 2-pounders in his box. Martens probably has 10 pounds now.
You aren't allowed to use a fly rod in B.A.S.S. tournaments; otherwise, you might see some guys whipping them out today. There's a huge mayfly hatch going on in a wide area of the Mississippi River this morning. Huge as in numbers, and huge as in size of the individual mayflies.
Faircloth just caught fish No. 5, a 3-pounder. So he has a limit by 7:43 a.m. That gives him an unofficial total of 12.4 pounds. A nice way to start the day.
Before I finish typing this, Aaron Martens is certain to catch another bass. He's caught nine so far this morning and has four in the livewell that weigh maybe 7 pounds. The problem has been the fact that they're almost all the same size. He's got one 2 1/2-pounder, and everything else, whether he kept it or not, has been under 2 pounds. Martens is pretty much dialed in on the drop shot/Roboworm combination right now, looking at the fish on his sonar, then putting the lure in front of them.
The more things change .... Seven of the anglers fishing today (the Top 12) were in the Top 12 after the first day and 11 were in the Top 12 after Day 2. Just goes to show you that big leaps in the leaderboard don't happen when the fishing's good (nearly everyone has a limit) and the bass are relatively small (just two more than 5 pounds).