Jordan Lee has the best fans. They're staying well away from him and even provided striptease music when Jo took off his coat and bibs.
Within 15 minutes of my last post about how well Evers was handling the pressure of spectators and media, he started showing signs of cracking. He just got onto us for sitting in one spot 75 yards from him, saying he wanted to come back and fish the spot where we were sitting. We slowly and quietly backed up 50 more yards. Apparently, our psychic powers aren't what they should've been. A few minutes later, he chastised another media boat for being near the same spot.
The activity is picking up for Tharp, but his weight hasn't improved. He set the hook on one fish, made a handful of cranks, and then his line went slack. Twenty yards down the flat he got another bite. This one made it into the boat, but he immediately dumped it to swim back where it came from and grow bigger.
Jordan Lee now has a limit in the boat. He's punching grass from a foot to 6 inches in depth. He says he's going to put every other rod back in the box except for the flippin' stick in his hand.
Tharp just moved down the lake again, to yet a third section of the flat on the edge of the river channel. From our GPS map and our distant vantage point it's hard to tell if he's keying on similar structural elements or why he's drawn to these precise spots. From above the surface it all looks pretty nondescript.
I failed to mention that Evers only has about a dozen spectator boats at the moment, so it will be interesting to see how he reacts to increased scrutiny if he stays near the top of the standings and the traffic picks up later. By the way, he has a limit now, catching his fifth fish just a few minutes ago. But they'll only go about 10 pounds.
Edwin Evers is extremely composed for someone who entered the day leading the Bassmaster Classic. He's calm, cool and collected, taking his time and being very methodical in his approach. I've watched him dig around in his bait box and rod locker, and he's taking his time and not rushing.
Randall Tharp lived near Lake Guntersville for 17 years before moving back to his home state of Florida last summer. Over that period of time, Tharp witnessed a change in bass spawning habits here. "When I first started fishing here, the fish didn't spawn back in the creeks," Tharp said. "They spawned just off the main river channel."
It's all about the numbers! And these are the ones that matter.
Tharp moved again, to another flat just off the river channel. We can't tell if this is part of his plan or if he's in scramble mode. This is the type of spot I'd assumed would be unfishable due to boat traffic, but spectator traffic is far from overwhelming.