Palmer staying strong

Second-year Elite Series angler Luke Palmer started the day in 11th place, and he's staying strong today. Palmer's 4-1 near the 10 o'clock hour and a 3-2 at 11:42 have provided the bulk of his 11-11 five-bass limit that has him in 10th place, unofficially.

Palmer, who turns 30 later this month, doesn't have much room for error if he's going to qualify for his second-straight Bassmaster Classic. The Coalgate, Okla., angler is 35th in AOY points. By the way, Palmer finished 15th at Guntersville in March, in his first Classic. He was 47th at Guntersville in the Elite Series event in June 2019.

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Cobb mixing it up

Photographer Andy Crawford is with Brandon Cobb, who is using baits designed for the type of cover best suited for producing strikes.

In an earlier blog, I reported him using a 3/8-ounce Greenfish Tackle Toad Toter Buzz, made specifically for toad-style baits, but equally as productive with soft plastic trailers. That is what he just landed a 4-pounder that allowed him to cull up even more. Cobb is using that bait to attract strikes in more open water.

Alternatively, he is using his Greenfish Tackle Brandon Cobb All Purpose Jig around docks.

"I can skip it better than I can a swim jig," he told Andy.

Over scattered miltoil he is using a Zoom Horny Toad.

After the last cull, he reeled it in and is making a move to another area.

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Lineberger Update

In the boat today with Shane Lineberger. The morning started off very slow for Shane. The area where he caught his fish yesterday did not produce this morning. Since then he's made a few runs and has changed up his approach. This change just helped him boat his first keeper of the day.

Update by Bassmaster Marshal Scott Collins

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Canterbury joins crowds atop leaderboard

Only 13 ounces separated leader Kyle Welcher and second-place Randy Sullivan at the end of Day 1. If the current BASSTrakk numbers are accurate, it could be even tighter at the conclusion of Day 2.

Scott Canterbury filled his limit and joined Chad Morgenthaler and Brandon Cobb atop the BASSTrakk leaderboard at 10:32 with a 2 3/4-pounder. That created a three-way tie at 27-12. With Lake Guntersville in the puzzling early transition from summer to fall, this tournament could stay tight to the end.

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Don't count out Zaldain

Chris Zaldain might be on the bubble of the cut line for fishing on Thursday, but all it takes for him to rise up the standings is one big bite. Anyone who knows Zaldain knows that he fishes for big bass, going back to his California roots. Big swim baits, big jigging spoons, and basically big anything.

The result yesterday was a largemouth weighing 8 pounds, 6 ounces. Today he's going for the same size bass again.

"The biggest key for Guntersville is you cannot downsize just to get bites, whether it's tough like it is now, or wide open," he said. "I'm looking for five 8-pounders, and I got one yesterday, and will do it again today."

Eight hours of grinding it out with big bass baits. That's how he rolls.

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Hartman hoping for a comeback

After three tough days of practice, Jamie Hartman came into this tournament with low expectations. They fell even lower on Day 1.

"It has been tough - straight up tough," said Hartman, after practice. "I'm just trying to catch five. My goal is 12 pounds. I don't know if I can do that."

Hartman, who won the Elite Series tournament here last June, weighed 4 bass totalling 8-10 to finish in 62nd place yesterday. But he's got a good start on a better day today - a 3-pounder at 9:15.

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Welcher has made 30 stops

Day 1 leader Kyle Welcher finally got his first keeper, and shortly after that, his second. That gives him 4 pounds 3 ounces for the
morning.

Welcher started the day south of Goose Pond Landing and has work his way north nearly to the Tennessee state line.

The rookie from Opelika, Alabama told us he’d be moving frequently today, making at least 40 stops. We counted 30 by 9:30, and that’s when he caught his first keeper.

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Welcher in thick fog

This morning Steve Bowman and I are following Day 1 leader Kyle Welcher. The rookie is working his way north in the Tennessee River where the fog is thick. We’ve slowed down to a crawl to be safe. Of course GPS is invaluable when visibility is limited.

Back in the pre GPS days Rick Clunn won the 1977 Classic on Lake Toho on a similarly foggy morning.

Clunn has said he would not have won that Classic were it held today. Under current safety measures most tournaments are delayed or postponed by heavy fog.

As the legend goes, Clunn found himself driving in circles, lost in the fog. He decided the next time he saw the bank he’d stop and fish. That’s what he did. It was a spot he’d never fished in practice or during the tournament. And that’s where Rick Clunn won the 1977 Bassmaster Classic.

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Cobb's signature buzz bait

Brandon Cobb is on top of the BASSTrakk leaderboard with 26 pounds, leveraged on the strength of a buzz bait. Here's the lowdown on it.

Cobb is using a 3/8-ounce Greenfish Tackle Toad Toter Buzz, made specifically for toad-style baits, but equally as productive with soft plastic trailers. The bait features an inline lead attachment that locks trailers firmly in place, while providing the added weight that helps improve casting distance, which is key for Cobb's casting technique along boat docks.

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Tale of two bites

Randy Sullivan is going through a lot of fish--he's caught more than a dozen--but none of those bass are in the livewell.

Photographer Andy Crawford just called me and shared this photo of what Sullivan is doing now. He abandoned the causeway/riprap pattern with a crankbait, and is now trying the flipping tactic around boat docks. He is running docks in the same creek, making brief stops and moving through the rotation.

Meanwhile, the running and gunning tactic is in play with most of the field. That equates to a junk fishing strategy, which is what it's taking to get strikes from bass setting up on ambush points.

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