A lot of observers think that weights actually go up on Day 2 of Elite events, but that's not usually true. On average, weights falls ever so slightly in the second round of Elite events, though they do go slightly up on occasion. For this tournament on Muskegon Lake, however, I'm expecting weights to be substantially up on Day 2 for one very big reason. The anglers only had one day to practice on the lake instead of their usual two and a half. That means they're less in tune with the fishery and didn't have a chance to fully identify productive areas and patterns.
Fan favorite Michael Iaconelli fishes for a spot in the Top 4.
Aaron Martens is fishing in the middle of a big marina, Muskegon Yacht Club, which is full of sailboats large and small. He is fishing a shaky head along the bottom. Now he's switching over to a crankbait. Aaron has around 8 pounds in his livewell. He referred to them as "Two that I need and two little rats."
So far, the two anglers who got to All-Star Week via automatic bids, Cliff Pace (Bassmaster Classic champion) and Hank Cherry (Rookie of the Year) are having a pretty good go of it. They're first and third, respectively. Of those voted in, Michael Iaconelli (currently fifth) ranks highest, and none are currently inside the cut to the top four. The other fan favorites — Gerald Swindle (11th), Brandon Palaniuk (12th) and Skeet Reese (13th) — are struggling and have a lot of ground to make up if they hope to fish Sunday.
Never underestimate the ability of Cliff Pace when the spotlight's bright and the fishing is tough, especially if you have to grind out the bites in deeper water with a jig. Pace is a master at that. It made him the runner-up in the 2008 Bassmaster Classic and it made him the winner of the 2013 championship. He loves those kinds of tournaments — the ones where guys are giving up early and the fishing feels like work.
Alton Jones nabs number 5! (Photo by Dustin Daggett.)
We caught up with Brandon Palaniuk fish close to the bank of Muskegon Lake. He's struggling, with only one 2 pounder in his livewell. Shortly after we arrive he jetted off to a new location.