Beautiful catch

Bret Hite with three in the boat and looking to fill his limit on Championship Sunday. 

photo by Bassmaster Marshal Teresa Seide

Swindle's beard to be shaved on LIVE

For the last few months the 2016 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Gerald Swindle has taken on a new form. His once clean-shaven face has transformed into the cleanest lumberjack beard in seemingly all the land.

Today, the beard's magnificent journey will come to an end as Swindle will let Dave Mercer shave him clean at the Toyota booth. The hedge trimmers should make an appearance at roughly 1 p.m. after he makes a guest appearance on Bassmaster LIVE.

Swindle is a sentimental person and his huge heart got this beard journey started. He and professional angler Luke Dunkin have a "Beard Game Strong" challenge going on, and they have a running bet: The first one to shave has to pay $2,017 to promote breast cancer awareness.

Dunkin's mom, Teresa, has been battling cancer since December, hence the "Beard War."

Donations have flooded in from various companies, anglers and notable fishing names. Learn more at and 

Skylar's late lunker offers hope

Skylar Hamilton's Day 2 big bass illustrates exactly what can happen at any time on Lake Conroe. And for Hamilton, it happened about as late in the day as possible.
"It was 3:20 when I saw it," he said. "I was about eight minutes from the ramp. Somewhere around 3:30 or 3:35 I caught it, and I was due in at 3:50."
"It" was a one-eyed 9-pound, 1-ounce largemouth bass that was circling a spawning bed. Hamilton used a watermelon pepper 4.8-inch Jackal Flick Shake worm, wacky-rigged on a 2/0 Hayabusa drop shot hook and a quarter-ounce Jackal tungsten drop shot weight to entice the big bass to bite. 
Hamilton said he'd seen this before, when a one-eyed fish, if the bait is cast on its blind side, is more easily provoked to strike when guarding a bed. 
"I don't know if I'd have caught that fish if it didn't have the bad eye," Hamilton said. "I was lucky all the way around. I was lucky to pull up and see that fish in the first place. Somebody was looking out for me, I guess."

If not for that 9-1 big bass of the day, the 22-year-old Hamilton would have had nothing to weigh on the second day of his first Bassmaster Classic. And, as it concerns today, it shows that big things can happen at any time on this lake.

Limit for Ehrler

At 11:10 Brent placed number five in the livewell. That's later than yesterday but certainly still a relief.
Now he needs a kicker.
Nate is still crediting his lucky GoPro shirt for the reversal in fortunes. He's a little superstitious, but he takes great shots, like the one above.

Just shy of legal

Mike Iaconelli just boated his first fish since running to the north end of the lake. We're within 15 yards of him and would've sworn it was a keeper, but Iaconelli quickly tossed it back in the drink after measuring it. It couldn't have been more than 1/8-inch shy of legal.

Early BASSTrakk totals bleak

There has been a strong early bite in the previous two days on Lake Conroe. Obviously, but that didn't happen today. The BASSTrakk totals through 9:45 a.m. further illustrate how tough it was this morning.

For the 25-man field, only 32 keepers were recorded, and only 8 weighed 4 pounds or better, topped by Mike Iaconelli's 8-pounder, followed by Jordan Lee's 5 1/2-pounder. (Note: Everyone believes Ike's big one weighs more than 8 pounds. How much more is just a guess. It is recorded in BASSTrakk as an 8-0.)

Kennedy update

Kennedy must've caught another behind the brush wall. He's getting lots of "atta boys" from his fans.

Meanwhile, even given the wind noise and distance, we've heard Kennedy say more in 10 minutes than Ehrler has said all morning.

Welcome to the party zone

We heard a boat running full bore behind the brush line, trailed by others. It came around the corner and was immediately identifiable as Iaconelli. He set down and idled through Ehrler's spectators.
Pretty soon thereafter Brent caught a fish, but it failed to measure. Then we heard some cheering behind the brush curtain. We weren't sure who had caught one until we heard the distinctive voice of Steve Kennedy chatting away.
20000 acres and three of the top 25 are in casting distance of one another.

Nate's Lucky Shirt

With a substantial lull in the action, we need something to slur on a flurry. Photographer Nate Sims decided to wear his GoPro shirt again and he's put it on. To get some mojo back. Two days in a row, glad I'm upwind.