Most of the armada observing Brent Chapman has been courteous. But when Chapman recently moved 100 yards to the west side of this standing timber section, another boater drove right next to where Chapman had left a marker buoy, punched a GPS waypoint, then sped off. That was followed by another boater who trolled over to the marker buoy and started fishing. Chapman moved back near the buoy, and the fisherman promptly pulled up his trolling motor and left.
At 9 a.m. (CST) we will kick off our War Room coverage of this event. Part of the lineup includes an initial recap of the event's action at 9 a.m., followed by an interview with Todd Faircloth, one of those anglers many expected to be fishing today but who got bit by the Toledo Bend bug. After that, every hour at the top of the hour, we will be interviewing anglers and following those up with videos from on the water and reports of catches as they come in throughout the day until 2 p.m.
Although Brent Chapman has never won an Elite Series tournament, he has been in this position before — leading after the second and third days of an Elite event. It happened in the 2007 season finale on the Kissimmee Chain. Chapman grabbed the lead from former Elite Series pro Bill Smith on Day 2 and still had it by the end of Day Three. Unfortunately for Chapman, he couldn't finish it off.
So how often do Day Three leaders go on to seal the deal and win Elite Series tournaments? Almost 64 percent of the time. There have been 61 previous Elite Series events, and the third-day leader went on to win 39 of them. The angler in second place going into the finals has won 18 percent of the time. That means the Top 2 win more than 80 percent of all Elite Series events. Only three times has the eventual winner been in fifth place or worse going into Sunday.
Quick update on catches: Cliff Pace has one fish for 3.5 total of 61-1 (in the lead by 3 ounces) Brent Chapman has one fish for about 1 pound with a total of 60-14 (2nd place, but could be closer to a tie) Marty Robinson has one fish for 2 pounds with a total of 60-9. (3rd) Timmy Horton has one for 2 pounds with a total of 59-1. (4th)
I just completed a semi-call around to the Marshals watching our anglers today. Many of them are out of cell service.. None of the ones we reached gave us any indication that the fish were biting this morning.. We have Timmy Horton and Marty Robinson with 2-pounders, Chapman with a 1 1/2-pound keeper and the others with either a zero or unreachable.. We will keep trying as the day progresses.
Marty Robinson might be best known for the dance moves he showed off on the Classic stage last year. So, I find it a little ironic that he is having his best event of the season on a jig. Headline: "Robinson does a jig for Toledo Bend win." Were his Classic gyrations simply foreshadowing this tourney? I say yes.
Brent Chapman caught his first fish of the day at 7:20, but it's not one he hopes to keep in his livewell at the end of the day. The bass, which looked to be in the 1 1/2-pound range, bit a big plastic worm thrown on a Carolina rig. Chapman has caught most of his fish this week on a big flutter spoon. He's thrown it some this morning with no success so far.
It's down to the Top 12 as the pros head out for their last day on Louisiana's Toledo Bend.
Brent Chapman is still working his spoon. He then switches to a Carolina rig with a 10 inch worm and his comment to Zona: "I'm throwing a Carolina rig at 7:15 and that's not good." But it works — first fish comes at 7:20 — 2 pounds. Dennis remarks that we are not seeing any schools of bait come by. "That's got to change," he says. "That's the one and only reason those bass would be here."