Door is wide open

We still have no verification that Grand Lake has been mean to the whole field. But Elam still sits with three with just over an hour left in this derby.

The lake is too big to have run across many other anglers. So the weigh-in will the grand reveal, pun intended.

Tough or not, it looks like the fishing was tough enough that the door is wide open for any of the final-day 12 to waltz right through.

And the winning stringer could still get caught in the last hour. We've seen that happen more than once. But for us, we are headed to the Bass Pro in Broken Bow to get ready for the weigh-in. It promises to be full of surprises.

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Some words from the water

Elam still has his three. And the general consensus is Grand, which was already tough, has turned meaner.

Of course we only have reports from the top three. Ortega struggled this morning. He had zero two hours ago. Elam just has about 4 pounds. And Alan Nail, who was in Duck Creek near Elam, only had one an hour ago.

There's still 9 guys we haven't heard or seen. Casey Scanlon and Roy Hawk both had exceptional days yesterday. And Tony Hartsell stumbled yesterday but showed us on Day 1 what he's capable of doing.

But for the top quarter of the field we can't put together a limit between them. That swings the door wide open for any of our final-day field. But without BassTrakk, it's anyone's guess who is putting together a championship day. We aren't even sure what that kind of day could look like at this point. Elam might be scratching it out with his three squeakers.

Either way the weigh in will be interesting to watch in a couple hours.

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Elam fishing in the brush

Elam seems to be targeting brushpiles around the many marinas on Grand. I doubt the marina part has much to do with it, other than on this lower end there is one close to the mouth of every pocket and secondary point.

This is kind of what we expected to see today.  With the sun breaking out these brushpiles could turn into gold by the end of the day.

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James Elam in the back of Duck Creek

We've caught up with James Elam in the back of Duck Creek. He has three keepers at the moment for about 4-pounds and small change.

We weren't here but a minute and he boated a short fish. Like we accustomed to seeing on the Elite Series, Elam is getting bites. He's just not stumbled across the bigger ones yet.

A lot of eyes are on him at the moment. Two big eyes are those of Michael Iaconelli. If Elam were to win this event, Iaconelli would keep his Classic appearance streak alive.

For that to happen, though, those 3-pound class fish need to start showing up for Elam.

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Ortega still looking for his first fish

Ortega is still sitting on zero at 10 am. He did catch a really small bass and his youthful exuberance came out a bit. But for the most part he's struggling.

The sun is now breaking through every once in a while so his day could turn for the better at any moment.

Meanwhile, we are off to find James Elam or one of the other leaders to see how their day is coming together.

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Anticipating brighter skies

We've spent the whole morning dealing with rain and wind. But that storm cell has seemingly pushed its way out. We may get more. But for the first time today the sky is starting to get brighter.

We are sitting on Andy Ortega, our 18 year phenom. But he's not caught one yet.

The sun will likely play a big factor today. That is if we get any. Yesterday Tommy Biffle raised that topic on this very bank. He has zero at the time, but finished well when the sun popped out.

Right now, Ortega is headed to Honey Creek. Maybe the sun will catch up to him there.

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Ortega returns to his Day 2 spot

Andy Ortega is sitting in the same place he was yesterday. The place that allowed him to move from second to first.

He caught a 4-pound class fish on his first five casts then caught two more. He left here, then came back to finish his day. This bank, about a half mile long, has been very special to Ortega. But it's been important to other anglers as well.

It gets a lot of attention. Yesterday he shared it with Toby Hartsell, who was leading but now is 11th, and Tommy Biffle, who caught a decent bag in the waning minutes of the day.

Currently, Ortega is fishless. We've been here a good 30 minutes and it's still dark. Really dark. A little sunlight could really help, if it ever gets here.

Ortega has three boats watching him. And down the back is another competitor, but it's too dark to see who it is.

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Table has been turned

It's always great to see the family turn out at one of these weigh-ins. Typically it's the kids watching the dads.

Today it is mom and dad watching the kid and loving every minute of it. Andy Ortega could be leading this event by day's end. And he's just 18. The last derby he fished in was a high school championship.

Now he gets Craig Lamb and mom and dad in the boat for a story we will all love to read.

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