Toledo Bend was also the site of one of B.A.S.S.'s most recent ties. In March 2009 at the Bassmaster Central Open, Elite Series pro James Niggemeyer and Jerrel Pringle ended the three days of regulation in a dead heat at 37-14. The two were forced to compete in a 3 1/2-hour fish-off to determine the winner. Niggemeyer prevailed with 14-1 in extra innings compared with Pringle's 7-8.
With this tournament looking like it's coming down to the wire, now's a good time to talk about the closest events in Elite Series history. After all, one of them was right here on Toledo Bend. Two Elite tournaments have been decided by a single ounce. The first was on the California Delta in 2010 when John Crews edged Skeet Reese by the narrowest of margins, 72-6 to 72-5.
Just finished doing some research on Toledo Bend's productivity in years past, and the lake is holding up pretty well. The average bass this week weighs 2.69 pounds, and that's very close to the historical best here. In June 1980, the average bass weighed 2.79 pounds. That's the only time Toledo Bend has posted a better number than it's doing this week.
Cliff Pace just caught at 5-pounder, which moves him into a virtual tie with Brent Chapman.
Three pros who didn't make the cut have been spotted getting their children out on the water with th
If Cliff Pace wins this tournament, it'll be the first time since 2010 that an angler took the first round lead, lost it and regained it in the final round. Skeet Reese did it on Guntersville in 2010, and it's happened three other times. Pace led after Day 1 here at Toledo Bend, slipped to third on Day 2, fell to fourth yesterday and is apparently having another big day today. If he wins, it'll be his first Elite title and first B.A.S.S. win since the 2004 Central Open on the Atchafalaya Basin.
BASSTrakk showing Cliff Pace making a big run. But a call to the boat shows otherwise.
Cliff Pace is have a strong tournament, here's more about the young Mississippi pro. Pace entered the Elite Series in 2007, though he wasn't technically a rookie, and finished 16th in the AOY standings that year. He was eighth in 2009 and sixth in 2010. No one doubts that this guy has the skills to win big. In 2011, though, he stumbled and finished 50th.
We had a brief discussion with Brent Chapman before James Overstreet and I headed for Cypress Bend Park. Chapman has a 2-pounder in his livewell that he'd like to cull out. Replacing it with a 3-pounder would give him an even 20 pounds. Of course, he'd like to do better than that in the final hours today. Few other Elite Series anglers in the 12-man final could have maximized their fishing time more than Chapman today. He's burned very little gas and caught enough bass in his primary area to keep him from making a major move.
So what do you know about Brent Chapman? I'll bet you didn't know this. He's looking for his eighth Top 5 finish in Elite Series history. Only five anglers have more. Kevin VanDam leads the way with 18. Chapman posted three consecutive Top 5 finishes earlier this year, grabbing the AOY lead before he stumbled at Douglas Lake, finishing 68th. He finishes in the money in more than 70 percent of all Elite events — that's 10th-best overall.