Tommy Biffle worked a long section of the Black River and is now approaching the main channel of the Mississippi River, maybe about one mile up river of the Clinton Street Launch where we began this day. It's been slow going for Biffle, who hasn't boated a keeper in a good while. He continued to work that same treeline for almost an hour, and now, is casting a point on the main channel.
Aaron Martens is as fired up as the bass he's catching on almost every cast now. As boat driver Brian Beebe observed, "He's putting on a clinic." Martens thought one of them might help him, so he literally sprinted back to his livewell, put it and another one on the balance beam, then discarded it - in half a minute, or less. He knows now is the time to seal this victory.
Pirch catches a 2 3/4-pounder. Photo by Bassmaster Marshal Alex Ebertowski
After catching a few bass that were not big enough to cull with Roumbanis prepares to leave Stoddard Bay.
Aaron Martens did move back where he started this morning, and it immediately paid off with his biggest fish of the day. It appeared to be a 4-pounder. That would be a 1 1/4-pound upgrade, by our Arkansas cyphering, which would put him right at 15 pounds for the day. This area is a little more protected from the wind. Bobby Lane is in here too. It's an area locals call South Lauderdale, where Martens concentrated last year.
"Bobby just made a move and got us out of the wind," said Bobby Lane's Marshal. "He pulls up...and on the third cast, he cracks a 3 1/4-pounder."
We're trying to follow Roumbanis as he streaks downriver. He takes a shortcut across a flat out of the marked channel. We elect to not risk it. We can see him in the distance, but now we're stalled while trying to idle across a flat. The outboard just overheated due to grass clogging the water intake. Lonnie resorts to the trolling motor.
Lonnie has been standing on the trolling motor pedal since my last blog. We've finally crawled within 80 yards if where Roumbanis is fishing. We see him catch and release one near a rocky point of a man made structure in the middle of the river. He catches and releases another one. The water is choppy here but Roumbanis is diligently fishing a frog. Few fishermen would have elected to fish a frog in this spot under these conditions.
Aaron Martens just caught another bass just like the other bass in his livewell. He put it on a balance beam with at least three bass from his livewell, and we're not sure which one he kept. If he culled up, it wasn't by much. Martens is working his way north on a series of docks along the west side of Black River. He's still well within sight of the Clinton Street bridge. James Overstreet and I got out on a dock and visited with Martens briefly. He never minds talking and fishing at the same time.