I found 3rd place angler Luke Estel fishing in his backwater pond that he refers to as the "Gator Hole." He started the day less than half a pound behind Alton Jones Jr. and the Illinois pro has two fish in the box thus far. He said they were just normal keepers and nothing indicated they were special in size.
"The way I see it is I'm just three bites from possibly going to the Bassmaster Classic," Estel said.
That has to be a great feeling knowing that anyone in the Top 12 can catch a big largemouth and vault into a top position and be that much closer to fishing the Super Bowl of bass fishing.
Estel started this event with 11 pounds, 2 ounces and followed it up with 10 pounds, 7 ounces. That gave him 21-9 for 2 days and had him 7 ounces off the pace.
Estel has been primarily flipping a Black and Blue Strike King Rage Bug, but he said he found these fish earlier in the week on a spinnerbait. The windier and cloudier practice day allowed the spinnerbait to shine, but with the lessened breeze each day of this event he has relied on a flipping routine.
He has confidence in this area and has hooked 4 good fish in this spot the first two days and landed 3 of those bites.
"I know there will be a couple of limits caught today, but I think one or two of those quality fish in here will elevate a normal bag into a tournament winning sack," Estel said.
We are a few minutes from the halfway point of the day, which means Estel has four hours to catch 3 more fish.