Brandon Card fishes his way around to another rocky point. A big fish hammers his jig and bows the rod over. It turns out to be a pike. Card grabs his long nose pliers and unhooks the pike while it is still in the water. The pike's teeth must had damaged Card's line because he reties before making another cast. A keeper smallmouth soon winds up in Card's hands, but it is too small for culling.
Tommy Biffle continues to work the Black River that leads from the Mississippi River back toward the Clinton Street Launch. He's catching fish, but unfortunately for him, everything he's bringing aboard the boat is undersized. He has five fish, and as we reported earlier, we're still thinking the bag goes for about 11 pounds or so. It's warming up considerably here in southwest Wisconsin. The wind is still brisk, there are a couple guys on a spectator boat with us who have doffed their shirts.
Aaron Martens is fishing near the Clinton Street bridge, just around the corner from the launch site, and he's stroking 'em now. He just landed another 2 1/2- or 2 3/4-pounder, which allowed him to cull a small one. He's probably got about 12 pounds now, according to James Overstreet. Martens has found the ticket today - a big jig - and he's thinking about going back to his starting point soon, now that he's figured out a pattern.
Aaron Martens has caught two good ones in the last 15 minutes -- one that weighs almost 3 pounds and another in the 2 1/4 range -- giving him a limit. And he just added another, so he's culling. But he only has about 9 or 10 pounds. That's according to James Overstreet, who remains on the water while I'm in the media trailer. This storm is feeling imminent now, and the wind is picking up. Our boat is being repaired, and we've got plenty of rain gear, so we'll see what happens from here.
"Bobby Lane has retied for the second time....stuck on No. 4," said Lane's Marshal. "Working hard to get to five. He has missed a couple good bites."
After bagging his limit, Tommy Biffle decided he had enough of the Goose Pond area and has motored all the way back to the Clinton Street boat launch. He's fishing just underneath a small bridge outside of the no-wake zone here. Our guess is that Tommy is looking to move to an area where he can catch some largemouth. It's about to pour -- par for the course, so far in this tournament. Rain gear prep begins anew.
Cliff Pirch upgrades with a 2 1/2-pounder. Submitted by Bassmaster Marshal Alex Ebertowski
Card is retrieving his swim jig at a slow to medium pace. He rarely twitches the rod. He just hooked a small one and lost it at the side of the boat. TJ tells me that four or five Elite Series pros made the Top 50 cut fishing in this general area. Apparently, Card is the only one of them to make it to the Top 12.
And there's No. 5. After working hard for the entire morning, Tommy Biffle boated his fifth fish. It looked like it was a 2-pounder, so that give him a limit that we're estimating to be in the 11-pound range. Tommy obviously will want to cull, looking for a couple kickers that will give him a good chance at winning this tournament. He indicated to us this morning that he plans to work this area near Goose Pond all day, so on him we shall stay.