At 1 p.m., the 10 anglers in today's final had a total of 44 fish posted among their best five on BASSTrakk. Four anglers hadn't filled their limits yet. Of those 44 fish posted today, exactly half were caught between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. The hourly breakdown included 13 bass in the 11 o'clock hour and 9 in the noon hour. Make what you will of that.
When the clock struck 11 a.m., it seemingly turned on the bass in Lake Guntersville. Maybe they just needed some sunshine after the 43-degree morning.
Since 11 o'clock, Scott Canterbury has added three keepers, Randy Sullivan has caught two, Brandon Cobb has two and Bob Downey has landed a 5-pounder. Most importantly for leader Frank Talley, his modified Strike King Sexy Frog has produced a bass big enough to cull. He's up to 16-2 on BASSTrakk, and he's got every bit of that.
In addition to the 2020 Bassmaster Classic on Lake Guntersville, this legendary fishery hosted the 2014 Classic as well and was welcomed by B.A.S.S. fans from all over the great state of Alabama.
Photo and update by Bassmaster Marshal Neil Paul
Bob Downey has stepped up his game as his rookie season on the Elite Series heads into the home stretch. The 32-year-old Hudson, Wis., angler is coming off his best Elite Series finish. He was 15th at Lake St. Clair. And he's having some success this morning in his first Elite Series final. Downey has two fish totaling 4 pounds.
Yesterday Downey weighed the second-biggest bass of the tournament to propel him into today's final. It weighed 7 pounds, 3 ounces. Chris Zaldain's 8-6 on Day 1 is the big bass at Guntersville so far.
Kyle Welcher is using a one-of-a-kind lure, literally, to catch most of his fish this week.
It's a prototype 1/2-ounce jig by Untamed Tackle. Still yet to be named, Welcher told me he's considering calling it the "Ace." It is the only prototype he's got in the boat.
The jig is designed with a compact profile and thin-strand skirt, making it ideal for the intended purpose of skipping beneath docks. A heavy-duty hook is another attribute.
"We added that so the hook won't bend, and it helps increase the hooking ratio," he added.
Other baits in his rotation include a Z-Man 1/2-ounce Evergreen Chatterbait Jack Hammer, with Yamamoto Zako Swimbait trailer. A Missile Baits D-Bomb, rigged on 4/0 Gamakatsu hook and 1/2-ounce weight is another bait in play.
When photographing and interviewing the guys for the top lures gallery, Andy Crawford and myself smiled when seeing Frank Talley's modification to a Strike King Sexy Frog.
To the hook he added a swivel holding a chartreuse paddle tail, producing what he called a "plopper-type" gurgling action as the rig is retrieved across the surface.
"I get a weedless lure with the plopper action, for a better of two worlds in the same bait," he said.
Talley is fishing the modified bait over isolated vegetation.
Luke Palmer just added a small keeper to his livewell, giving him 6 pounds so far this morning. He’s unofficially in second place, 6-9 behind the leader Frank Talley.
Guntersville is by far Palmer’s best tournament of the year. Here are his five 2020 finishes prior to G-ville:
St. Clair: 62
St. Lawrence: 54
St. Johns: 34
Frank "The Tank" Talley started the day in 6th place - 2 pounds, 15 ounces behind leader Wes Logan. Talley more than eclipsed that deficit with a 5-plus-pounder right off the bat. And he's been on a roll ever since. Talley made his first cull of the day just before 9 a.m., and it was a big one, as he put another 4-plus-pounder in the boat.
"I'm pumped up!" Talley exclaimed. "I don't even know my name right now. That's two big ones. I've got a lot of adrenaline pumping right now. I'm shaking like a leaf."
Talley slapped himself in an effort to get his head back in the game. He knows he's still got work to do. But his best fishing has been later in the morning all week, so Talley is understandably brimming with confidence right now.
"I know I'm going to have to have 18-plus to even have a shot," Talley said. "There's a lot of day left. I've got two big ones in the boat."
Talley's family made the 14-hour drive from Temple, Texas, to be here today.
"I just had one of those feelings something good was going to happen," Talley said.
This morning we are following Kyle Welcher. Since Spro is having a 300 boat frog tournament, Kyle has decided to take a different approach on the last day. He is running bluff walls and rocky points switching back-and-forth from a crankbait to a jig.
Luke Palmer has two bass in the livewell after landing a 3 and a half pounder. He also has a 1-6, giving him 4-14 so far for the morning. Those are the unofficial numbers according to BASSTrakk, putting him in second place for the moment.
Palmer is fishing just north of the highway 35 bridge. He’s punching through thick grass with a heavy weight and a creature bait.
Palmer is 29 years old and will be turning 30 on Oct. 22.