Things just got really interesting at the Mississippi River Rumble. Tommy Biffle ran about a half mile down river and ducked into a small alcove just off the main channel. Good move. He just boated what looks to be a pair of very heavy three pounders -- the first of which might be pushing four pounds. "Yes!," the normally-reserved Biffle shouted. "That will work!" The kicker he was looking for to anchor his bag has finally arrived. He easily just added two pounds to his live well.
Roumbanis is battling the elements as he struggles to catch the kicker bass he badly needs. The wind is bowing his line and his trolling motor frequently bogs down in the grass. At regular intervals, Roumbanis has to stop casting, hoist his trolling motor and strip 30 pounds of milfoil off of it by hand. He doesn't appear to be frustrated by the annoyance. I suppose anyone that fishes a frog in the slop as much as Roumbanis does is used to it. Just another day at the office for him.
The dark water of the Mississippi River has turned to the color of chocolate milk here near Goose Pond. The wind is significant which is causing the disruption. Tommy Biffle continues to work a grass point just off the main river, but he just cannot seem to land the kicker fish he needs to overtake Aaron Martens. At least not yet. He just caught another undersized fish, which by a conservative estimate, is about the 15th dink he's had to throw back today.
Martens hasn't landed another keeper in a bit, much less one that would improve his weight.
Tommy Biffle worked a long section of the Black River and is now approaching the main channel of the Mississippi River, maybe about one mile up river of the Clinton Street Launch where we began this day. It's been slow going for Biffle, who hasn't boated a keeper in a good while. He continued to work that same treeline for almost an hour, and now, is casting a point on the main channel.
Aaron Martens is as fired up as the bass he's catching on almost every cast now. As boat driver Brian Beebe observed, "He's putting on a clinic." Martens thought one of them might help him, so he literally sprinted back to his livewell, put it and another one on the balance beam, then discarded it - in half a minute, or less. He knows now is the time to seal this victory.
Pirch catches a 2 3/4-pounder. Photo by Bassmaster Marshal Alex Ebertowski