Did you CATCH that?

With Canadian sensation Chris Johnston nipping at his heels, Paul Mueller’s not going to have an easy job of defending his two-day lead at the SiteOne Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River. But if his third keeper of Day 3 is any indication, things might go his way again today.

At 8:05, Mueller hooked a nice smallmouth that immediately ran toward the stern and closed the angle faster than he could react. The fish ended up wrapping around the motor and forcing Mueller to grab his leader and hand line the fish free from its entanglement before scooping his 4-pounder — while his rod laid next to him.

“That wasn’t the prettiest catch, but we’ll put her in the box,” Mueller sighed.

Eight minutes later, Mueller added his fourth keeper, an estimated 4-4. This catch was far less dramatic than its predecessor, but Mueller’s commentary bespoke the mindset that will likely serve him well today.

“You just have to take your time with these big ones,” he said. “That’s what I told myself today: Just stay calm and take your time.’”

Pretty cool, but moments later, Bassmaster LIVe saw Japanese star Taku Ito execute his own highlight reel moment. When a big fish bit off his starboard bow and ran under the boat, Ito reacted with proper rod posture, but the fish was quicker.

Ito’s cameramen caught a glimpse of the fish close to the surface — on the port side — and advised Ito, who quickly moved to the opposite side. Kneeling to scoop the fish, Ito seemed momentarily confused as to why the fish wasn’t rising high enough for him to reach it.

Then it hit him: the line was still partially wrapped under his bow. Adeptly responding to the potential peril, Ito skillfully dipped his rod under water and wove it back and forth until he was able to reach the 3-pounder.

So, how’s your morning going?

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