With Tommy Biffle, as he predicted, off to a hot start, this is shaping up to be a tortoise vs. hare race. Aaron Martens hasn't been catching many fish -- 15 or 20 a day. And it has been a grind for him. One here, one there. I don't imagine Biffle has been often compared to a rabbit, but he's clearly the rabbit today. Martens has been throwing a bit of everything, from a Spook to a drop shot, and still doesn't have a keeper.
Randy Howell is delayed at the lock because it took on a barge. He's got to wait about an hour now. Howell is fishing in Pool 8 until the lock is available. Submitted by Bassmaster Marshal Tom Ebertowskip
Biffle still is catching fish, but the last two he snagged were undersized. He's still at three fish for about 7 or 7 1/2 pounds. There are 10 spectator boats on him now, not including ours. Looks like the Oklahoma pro is going to switch rods. He's digging into his well right now.
Tommy Biffle is throwing a creature-type bait, it appears, and it's paying dividends. Within a span of 90 seconds, he just put two more bass in the live well. They look to weigh about two pounds plus each, so that should give him seven pounds or so with three fish -- and it's not even 7:15 a.m. That's the way you stay in the hunt for this Elite Series tournament title.
James Overstreet and I are set to spend the day with Aaron Martens in South Lauderdale - the local name for a cut off the Black River, where you can hear I-90 traffic roaring in the background on an otherwise lovely day. It feels like the movie Ground Hog Day. JO and I did exactly this one year ago on Day Four at La Crosse, with one exception: no mayflies today. The massive mayfly hatch that ruined Martens' day last year hasn't appeared.
Shaye Baker has been a great addition to the Bassmaster.com crew. He can do a bit of everything, and most of it well. At dinner this week writer Steve Wright made the observation that he'd never seen Baker eat a green vegetable. Maybe no vegetables at all, other than french fries. That night he was eating a burger and fries, like he does on many nights at our tournaments. We're not trying to turn him into a vegetarian, just hoping to see him live past age 30.
The Rolling Stones are blaring over the speakers at the Clinton Street boat ramp. Other than the music, it's eerily quiet here for the final day of the Elite Series tournament on the Upper Mississippi River. The parking lot has many empty spaces because the field has been cut to the Top 12 pros. My wake-up call this morning was not thunder and lighting as it has been the past two mornings. The sun is shining now, but rain is in the forecast.
We took off from the Clinton Street launch a few minutes early to try to get a head start on Tommy Biffle, who started the final day of action in the Mississippi River Rumble a mere 7 ounces behind leader Aaron Martens. Biffle is fishing down river off the main channel off the Mississippi River, about a 12-minute run from the launch. When he arrived here to the spot that has been so productive for him all week, he found a non-tournament angler in the alcove he may have had his eye on.