Pace is back where we first encountered him this morning. The spectator boats are much closer than they were at the last stop. He has three hours to make something happen. We're anxious to see some fish catches, but also curious about the biggest final day lead squandered in Classic history. Ken Duke?
The bite has slowed considerably from 10 to noon just about every day this week, and we’re seeing that again today. Is this part of the typical lull or is it, as Zona mentioned on the Lowrance War Room, the fish shutting down because of a change in weather? It’s considerably warmer today than it was yesterday at noon, and it’s only getting warmer. The harder this afternoon is, particularly on Cliff Pace, the more anglers who have a chance.
Yesterday a few of the anglers reported catching bass with the tails of larger shad sticking out of their throats. Not only that, 30 percent of the anglers reported that shad-type colors were most productive for them, a big change from Day Two where bait colors were all over the map.
Ike's just finished the long idle to the back of Ketchum Creek. He's back to working docks and the gravelly bank between them with a jerkbait, Shad Rap and jig. Edwin Evers was fishing this area the first day and caught a small keeper on a shallow flat with a jerkbait. Besides the temperature being warmer today, the conditions are much the same.
While Grand Lake is known for its abundance of 4- and 5-pound bass, there are some lunkers in this lake. Cliff Pace proved that Saturday with two in the 7-pound range. But we're talking true lunkers here, i.e., 10-pounders.
Because Cliff Pace has run over this lake, the bass and the competition this week, it was easy to assume this morning that he’d catch a limit without much issue. Even with some evidence to the contrary (Pace himself saying he’s only getting a few bites), we thought it was a foregone conclusion. Any thought that this might be an interesting race to the finish felt more like a pipe-dream and it usually included someone catching 25 pounds. It never included Pace not catching a limit and someone sneaking in to win with 19 pounds.
Palaniuk has moved to his fourth spot today, and this one looks just like the place where he caught his biggest bass yesterday afternoon.
Ike's now just north of Duck Creek. He's looking for his limit on wind-blown main-lake points and then eases back into the small pockets that they're attacehd to. It seems that the wind is definitely a factor today. As I typed that out, he bowed up on a small keeper. He had to measure it, but it kept. That should put his limit in the 12- to 13-pound range. He needs to ditch the baby and get a kicker - or two - if he wants to make an honest run at this thing.
Iaconelli isn't the only one with trolling-motor issues. We've had our own problems this morning. Our camera boat's trolling motor spring malfunctioned, forcing photographerJerry Cunningham to hitch a ride with spectators Justin and Tom Haynes. Our driver, Aaron Stanphill, and I worked on it for several minutes (mostly without success) before another spectator provided a temporary repair that we hope will get us through the day.