David Walker talks to Dave Mercer about how Oneida has fished this week.
Cliff Prince, who is chasing Brandon Card for the Rookie of the Year title, is having a slow day so far. One fish in the livewell — a 3 1/4-pounder. Prince was throwing a topwater when we caught up with him. There's a nice little breeze blowing now. Just enough to ripple the water.
Ott DeFoe was asked yesterday if the pressure of the AOY race gets in your head. "Absolutely," he said, without a second's hesitation.
Aaron Martens has four small fish in his livewell. He told us he keeps seeing a school of smallmouth, but then when he goes after them he's not able to locate the school. It sounded like he's feeling it may be a waste of time chasing them.
When the Elite Series comes to Oneida Lake, ounces seemingly always make a bigger difference than at any other tournament site. The following has been mentioned previously this week, but it bears repeating today, with this AOY race evolving minute-by-minute: In 2008, Bernie Schultz and Dave Wolak earned the final two spots in Sunday's Top 12 with the exact same three-day totals – 41 pounds, 6 ounces. Chris Lane finished only three ounces behind them, in 13th place with 41-3.
Kevin VanDam quietly set another record yesterday. He made the first cut in an Elite event for the 20th straight time. In fact, he hasn't missed a cut since the middle of 2010. And in case you're wondering, the record he broke already belonged to him. KVD made 16 straight first cuts between 2008 and 2010. That's a lot of checks and a big statement about why he's so good.
Matt Reed is now fishing close to Scott Rook and Aaron Martens. Reed made it into the Top 50 when Zell Rowland was disqualified yesterday. When asked how he's doing today Reed said, "I'm struggling mightily. Only have three little babies in the livewell."
The tragic and magic of Oneida Lake may be showing itself again. We hate to make too much of BASSTrakk totals, because there are some elements beyond anyone's control. For instance, we know from observers that Ott DeFoe has at least a 15-pound limit and is culling, while BASSTrakk currently shows him with four fish weighing about 10 pounds. We think he's out of the coverage area.
Jonathon VanDam stops by the War Room to talk about his experience on Oneida Lake for the last event of the season.
This is PJ McManamen, who some have affectionately called Santa. He's Scott Rook's Marshal today. PJ is from Ruby, N.Y., which is about 50 miles south of Albany. "I'm out here to learn from the best," he said.