Noon update

With 2 hours and 45 minutes left of action, the time is running out for those behind the 8-ball.

Today's biggest performer has been Ryan Butler. He has 4 fish for roughly 12 pounds, which could be slightly low because he only weighed two of his fish and the others were close guesses. Pairing his 12 pounds with his 3-10 yesterday has him unofficially in 1st place. It's worth noting that the most fish Butler can weigh for the combined two days is 7 because he only brought 2 to the scales on Friday. Butler has had one rod on the deck of his boat all day, the Whopper Plopper. It's paid off big time.

Beau Govreau has moved from 3rd into 2nd place because of his 5 fish for 10 pounds today. He is just one big bite from jumping dead even with Butler. He only brought 1 to the scales on Friday, but it was a 3-4. That solid fish gave him hope and kept him in the hunt. At most he can only weigh 6 total fish for the 2 days of competition. He is topped out on quantity now, but needs to upgrade his 5 if he wants to move up.

Former Tour pro Robbie Dodson Jr. has caught 4 fish for 9-8 today, which is the second biggest bag of the day, but his kryptonite is his 0 on Friday. That will hurt his cause, but he realistically still has a shot because 15 pounds is doable on Norfork. In fact, he and his father had 15+ pounds on Day 2 of the Team portion. It was bolstered by a 6-0, but it's possible.

Brett Govreau was convinced he had a good shot to win based on their performance earlier in the week. If the delay yesterday killed anyone more than others, it may indeed be Brett. He has alternated between a Whopper Plopper and a jig the last two days. He zeroed yesterday, but has landed three today, two in the last 30 minutes.

Dodson' father, Robert, was the Day 1 leader of the Fish Off and had 3 fish for 6-6. He technically had the easiest path to victory today because he had a decent lead on 2nd and 3rd and was well beyond 4th through 6th because they zeroed. He has yet to catch a keeper today and while I watched him on the water he set the hook and whatever fish he hooked under the dock, came off.

Dustin Lippe is running the same program that partner Ryan Butler is, but Butler opted to ditch the area they pounded during the tournament and fish fresh water they hadn't seen this week. Lippe landed one of his keepers before 7:15 and the other around 8:45, but since has gone cold. They asked for wind today and they certainly got it. Maybe too much in fact because some areas were getting pounded today.

Senior

Robert Dodson Sr. seemed unphased on Norfork yesterday even though he only managed 3 fish for 6-6. Dodson had a decent lead and was the only angler to actually get 5 bites. He lost one of those on topwater and another wrapped his jig in a dock.

The three keepers he managed had him in the driver seat of the Classic Fish Off with just 8 hours of action left to decide it. He is the most seasoned of the bunch at the age of 71 and he has basically fished everything in the sport except the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK'S Sporting Goods. He is obviously skilled and very tough to hang with this group of anglers, but also because of the brutal weather we have experienced.

He fishes quiet and is doing his thing down near the Dam, but today he is still at 0. He has unofficially dropped to 2nd behind Ryan Butler as of 9 a.m.

Butler bags two


Ryan Butler started the day in 2nd place just 2-12 behind Robert Dodson Sr. day 1 of the Classic Fish Off was less than ideal as anglers were limited to just 6 hours due to a 2-hour fog delay. They lost the morning bite, but also were hindered with little to no wind.

All 6 of the competitors had a Whopper Plopper in their hand and it is most effective with more wind than less wind.

The standings were tight with the struggle yesterday, but today is expected to be much more productive. I decided to start with Butler and he didn't disappoint. Although he missed his first blowup, he caught a smallmouth a few casts later and then landed a 3+ pound largemouth. He is off to a great start and is in the unofficial lead at 7:30 a.m.

Final day is underway

The final 6 anglers in the Team Championship Classic Fish Off are out and fishing on Norfork Lake. These 8 hours of action will determine the last angler in the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK'S Sporting Goods.

Time to punt?

The six anglers have relied on some big topwaters and power fishing gear to do the majority of their work this week. With less than two hours remaining in the first day action anglers are starting to wonder if they should adjust and punt their team strategy just to salvage the day. Some will adjust and others are going to stick with what got them to this point.

Looking for wind


You would figure that anglers would be looking for hand warmers or coffee given today's weather, but in fact they are looking for wind.

Most, if not all of these anglers are throwing topwater, which is something I haven't seen all week. It's an Ozark region party in the fish off as each team is from a lake in this region. The Govreaus are from Lake of the Ozarks, Lippe and Butler are from Table Rock and the Dodson's are from Bull Shoals.

Ozark anglers have a way of reading rocks like Florida fisherman can look at a grass mat and see if it fits their pattern.

It certainly showed the toughness of this fishery as the majority of the Top 10 was from this region and have experience on these fisheries and how they act during weather changes.

It also explains why I hadn't seen a single team throw a topwater all week, yet every bracket angler today has utilized it. It seems that anglers were fishing the air temperature and not the water temperature. With these sub-freezing temperatures each day you would expect a slow presentation to excel, but with 56 degree water they are in the middle of their fall frenzy even though it's December 8th.

Every angler is running and gunning looking for one thing, wind. 

Dodson Jr. 0 for 2

Former touring pro Robbie Dodson Jr. was the first angler I found. He looked at me and said, "I don't think this pattern is going to go well because of the weather."

He made that statement just 10 minutes into fishing action. He was planning on relying heavily on a topwater today, but the delay and temperatures have him wondering.

He said he barely hooked one and lost it and while I was covering him he had a blowup but the fish missed. He's 0 for 2 so far, but two bites are good for only getting five for the entirety of yesterday.

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