The B.A.S.S. Nation family has been rooting for its six representatives who went to the Classic, plus Albert Collins and Matt Lee, whose ties to the B.A.S.S. Nation are strong.
We're back in Echo Bay, where Palaniuk started his day. When we moved back up the lake, we lost most of the 20-plus boat flotilla that had been following all day. And for the first time today, I'm starting to see Palaniuk's stress level increase. Just before we left the last spot, Palaniuk commented that it wasn't a good sign that boats were pulling off of him. I wonder what was playing in Palaniuk's mind as he ran up the lake.
We just took a spine-crunching ride back to Cliff's "drum hole." Maybe we're reading too much into this, but his body language seems to have changed. He may have even cracked a smile. We're down to about a dozen spectator boats. One more fish will make a limit.
Pace regained his lead but this Classic will go down to the wire.
The scene around hank Cherry's boat is bedlam. I don't know how he can focus on fishing. More and more boats are pouring in by the minute, there's a helicopter several hundred feet away, he just talkd to Zona for 5 or 6 minutes, there are people on shore keeping pace with him and there are three cameras on him.
After hours of inactivity, Pace just put two fish in the boat in quick succession. He's crawling a jig through what we assume is some deep brush. The first was about 2 pounds and the second was a little smaller. This is a spot that he came up empty on before, part of his milk run now on round two.
Cliff Pace catches two fish within minutes to possibly win Classic.
I’m going to take you inside Cliff Pace’s head at the top of every hour from now until it’s time for him to check in. This is just pure guessing/editorializing, in case that isn’t clear, we don’t have the technology to actually get inside his head … yet. At this point, I really thought he’d be celebrating in his head, but this is getting serious. This is not happening. It doesn’t make any sense. Am I doing something different? Same baits, same areas, no fish?
Palaniuk just caught another one, but it wasn't big enough to bolster his weight for today. But this spot obviously holds fish. We've only been here 15 minutes and he's hooked three. There's an underwater ditch where the gravel has been dredged. It's not more than 15 yards wide from the bank to an underwater ridge that nearly reaches the surface. I'd say the depth is 5-7 feet in the ditch.
Palaniuk didn't stay long in yesterday's big fish spot. Now he's farther back in Horse Creek, fishing a bank with a little more incline. He wasn't here five minutes before hooking -- and losing -- what would've been his sixth fish today. He grunted in exasperation but quickly composed himself and went back to fishing. He has been cheerful and talkative all day, and that was the first sign of frustration we've seen out of him.