Combs switches to topwater

Keith Combs said earlier he would dropshot for the for the first hour and if that wasn’t working out he’d go shallow and fish topwater. Combs did indeed make the switch. He’s now trolling down the bank and making long casts. No fish yet for the tall Texan.

Three finalists set, 3 to go

We now know three of the anglers who will be fishing in Friday's six-hour finals. The match of the morning was Gerald Swindle's three-ounce win over Mike McClelland, where Swindle's 12-ounce bass at 10:25 was just enough to give him the lead again, and McClelland couldn't answer in the final 35 minutes. Final weights: Swindle 8 pounds, 4 ounces, and McClelland 8-1.

In the other, matches Chris Lane (10-12) defeated Chad Pipkens (7-11) and Adrian Avena (6-0) beat Ray Hanselman (3-2).

This afternoon top-seeded Fred Roumbanis starts with a 6-13 lead over 12th-seeded Scott Rook. Second-seeded Greg Vinson (4-7) has almost a three-pound lead over 11th-seeded Dustin Connell (1-9) and 10th-seeded Shin Fukae (3-7) leads third-seeded Keith Combs (0-15).

Although Lane caught the biggest bass of the tournament so far with a 4-10 this morning, fishing hasn't gotten any easier on Carters Lake. There were only 12 keepers caught in the morning session. Yesterday's morning session yielded 15 keepers, and 14 were caught in the afternoon.

Lane closing the door?

Chris Lane just landed his fourth fish of this round and it was a beauty at 3-3. Lane just made a big leap in his head to head match against Chad Pipkens. Pipkens was gaining ground, recently catching a 2-14 bass, which brought him to 7-11. But Lane’s 3-3 jumped him up to 10-12. And he could still add two fish to his five fish limit for the day. When asked if he was ready to head to the dock and order a pizza, Lane replied, “No, you’re not out of the woods until you’re out of the woods.” Pipkens also has two fish remaining to reach a five fish limit.

Lane, Pipkens with a late flourish

Chris Lane seemingly sealed his match against Chad Pipkens with a 3-pound, 3-ounce spotted bass at 10:20. It hit Lane's old reliable bait - a bone-colored River2Sea Whopper Plopper.

But Pipkens answered with a 2-14 one minute - one minute! - later. As we close in on the final half-hour of these semifinal matches, Lane has 10-12 and Pipkens has 7-11.

McClelland vs. Swindle update

Mike McClelland just scored a bass weighing 2 pounds, 12 ounces, to take the lead over Gerald Swindle by 9 ounces.

McClelland-Swindle is the top seed in the bracket, setting this one up to come down to the wire. With less than 50 minutes remaining Swindle just moved back to his starting area. It features a double-punch opportunity of a deep water marina, where he is now, and a main lake point just across the cove where he caught yesterday’s buzzer beater weighing 3-5.

Lane sitting pretty

Chris Lane has certainly had a “Pow!” worthy morning. At 8:16 he caught the biggest bass of the week. About an hour later he added a 12-ouncer. With just three keepers over the course of this two half day bracket session he leads the field with 7-9, though he only has to beat one other angler, Chad Pipkens, to advance to the final round on Friday. Pipkens has four fish for 3-12. Lane told us he caught the big bass in a topwater. When asked where he caught it, Lane smiled and replied, “In the mouth.”

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Quote of the tournament

Gerald Swindle has a special gift for putting things in perspective. These three-hour semifinal sessions go by in a flash, and the clock is ticking today.

As Swindle said yesterday, "Only three hours, man, that's as short as my uncle's marriage was in Mississippi."

When an 11-ounce fish matters

Gerald Swindle just joked about catching—and weighing—an 11-ounce bass. Normally that would be reason to laugh. On a weigh-in stage the tiny catch would be the target of laughs and a photo op. In this tournament it’s seriously a huge catch.

Swindle’s 11-ounce score—his first and only of the day—now puts him with 7 pounds, 8 ounces at the midpoint of his match with Mike McClelland. He has 5-5 and just caught his first fish of the day.

Pipkens is the marathon man

Chad Pipkens is the only angler at the Classic Bracket who also fished last week at the Opens Championship. He had five days of practice there, and then two days of competition. At the Bracket he’s had one day of practice and three days of competition so far. That’s 11 days of fishing in 13 days. But that’s not a problem for the young Michigander. “I usually do well when I fished a tournament the previous week,” he said. “I just to get need four more fish this morning.”