We've been watching Hank Cherry demonstrate the fine art of skipping a lure under boat docks. James Overstreet, who has a lot more experience watching Elite Series anglers than I do, thinks Cherry ranks among the best he's seen. There's not much air space under some of these floating docks, but Cherry can skip a jig from the front to the back of every dock he targets.
Biffle is on the move again. He left Potato Creek, ran downriver through a flotilla of debris. Then ran into three backwater lakes all the way to the back, made a 180-degree turn and then back out. He was obviously looking for cleaner water. We've now pulled into a sizable area where the water is as clean as I've seen it all day. He's in the back with his flipping stick in hand. It's obvious he realizes that he's letting this one slip away.
James Overstreet is the male version of the old saying, "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." "Mama" was mad at me after he got hungry this morning, then discovered I'd bought him an egg salad sandwich instead of a tuna salad sandwich in the convenience store, where we stopped to gas up on the way to the takeoff. Egg salad, tuna salad — what's the difference when you're rolling the dice on food poisoning like that?
What you're looking at is a RiverPro jet boat made for navigating shallow water. Owner Danny LaVoie of Snake Creek, GA says it can run in about 3 inches of water. It has no prop, instead pushing air out the back much like a jet ski. It has an Optimax 200 inboard engine. In the photo the engine compartment is open. High speed is about 50 miles an hour. The hull is made of thick aluminum, with a coating.
Biffle has taken up residence in Potato Creek. Most of the morning he's been chunking and winding a spinnerbait with an occasional buzzbait or jig mixed in.
Biffle has given up on the muddy water and is now down river a few miles in a backwater lake. The clarity here is much better and the water temp is 63. Where it was dirty and cold up river, this is more stained. The water conditions are much better, we will see if the fishing is better.
I've abandoned Faircloth and have found Reese in Perch Creek, known locally as Highland, which is the name of the marina here. Of course, now that I've left Faircloth he's probably smashing them. Reese has spent some time in Perch Creek every day. Right now he's fishing slowly down the bank working what looks to be a sinking worm. He had his Power-Poles down for a few minutes but didn't stay there long.
Every day is different when you follow anglers in an Elite Series tournament. Some days you sit for hours watching a guy fish the same small area. But following Tommy Biffle today is a bit like filming a Hollywood chase scene.
After further review, Hank Cherry's big fish is probably somewhere between 6 and 7 pounds, rather than 7 or 8. But it's still a game-changer in this tournament, where a 2-pounder has been a solid keeper and a 6-pounder has taken big bass honors each day. He's got one other keeper, under 2 pounds. As Cherry told us earlier, "If I get three bites, they've got to beat me." That's "they" as in the other 11 anglers on Day Four.