If you've ever wondered about the "hot seat" on the stage at an Elite Series event or Bassmaster Classic, you might be interested to know that it comes by its name honestly. The hot seat is actually heated to a balmy 135 degrees to make the angler sitting on it more than a little uncomfortable. That, along with the professional pressure of leading a major tournament, is why the guy sitting in it squirms so much.
Because this one might be close, you'll be interested to know about Rule C20 of the Official Rules of the 2012 Bassmaster Elite Series. It provides as follows: "In case of a tie for first place weight in the Pro division at the end of the tournament, there will be a fish-off between the tied competitors under the direction and special rules established by tournament officials."
Despite the close calls at Toledo Bend in recent years — the last two tournaments ended regulation with a combined separation between first and second place of exactly 1 ounce — the lake is actually better known for blowouts than close calls. In 13 previous B.A.S.S. events (including the Niggemeyer and Rojas wins that were impossibly tight), six had margins of victory of 10 pounds or greater, and three of them were by more than 16 pounds.
Brent Chapman and Cliff Pace are fishing within eye-sight of each other, and trading the lead back and forth.
Go on the water and behind the scenes with your favorite anglers during the 2012 Elite Series Toledo Bend Battle.
Toledo Bend was also the site of one of B.A.S.S.'s most recent ties. In March 2009 at the Bassmaster Central Open, Elite Series pro James Niggemeyer and Jerrel Pringle ended the three days of regulation in a dead heat at 37-14. The two were forced to compete in a 3 1/2-hour fish-off to determine the winner. Niggemeyer prevailed with 14-1 in extra innings compared with Pringle's 7-8.
With this tournament looking like it's coming down to the wire, now's a good time to talk about the closest events in Elite Series history. After all, one of them was right here on Toledo Bend. Two Elite tournaments have been decided by a single ounce. The first was on the California Delta in 2010 when John Crews edged Skeet Reese by the narrowest of margins, 72-6 to 72-5.
Just finished doing some research on Toledo Bend's productivity in years past, and the lake is holding up pretty well. The average bass this week weighs 2.69 pounds, and that's very close to the historical best here. In June 1980, the average bass weighed 2.79 pounds. That's the only time Toledo Bend has posted a better number than it's doing this week.
Cliff Pace just caught at 5-pounder, which moves him into a virtual tie with Brent Chapman.
Three pros who didn't make the cut have been spotted getting their children out on the water with them today.