Strader with a carp and a catfish

Our Day 3 leader has caught two fish this morning but they are the wrong brand. The first was a carp and the second was a catfish.

His first location was in a pocket near an old submerged bridge. Then he moved near the main channel fishing near shore at two different spots.

We just saw Skeet Reese fly by with an armada of spectator boats chasing him. Reese is showing two fish for 9 pounds in BASSTrakk and has unofficially moved into the lead.

Shortly after, Strader picked up and headed south about three miles. He’s now fishing docks in a calm pocket. We have four spectator boats that made the run with us.

BassCam: Duckett's first stop

Boyd Duckett having a good morning.

How did the Top 12 from Grand fare at Kentucky?

Fishing a back-to-back Elite Series stretch can be tough, especially for the anglers that make the Top 12 at the first stop. Fishing seven straight days, driving for one day, and then jumping back in the saddle for three more days of practice and another tournament can be tiring. Here is how the Top 12 from Grand fared at Kentucky Lake.

AnglerGrand finishKentucky finish
Kevin VanDam 1st54th
Tommy Biffle 2nd95th
Roy Hawk3rd91st
Bradley Roy 4th22nd
Seth Feider 5th34th
Brandon Lester 6thT-51st
Greg Vinson 7th23rd
Paul Mueller8th42nd
Randall Tharp 9th41st
Jordan Lee 10th47th
Fred Roumbanis11th8th*
Cliff Crochet 12th86th









“Nobody home.”

After a short, unproductive stay at the riprap, Skeet Reese headed to a gravel point he’s fished every morning. And in 10 minutes, he’s landed two bass, including one that looks to be at least 4 pounds that struck after Skeet was overheard saying, “Nobody home.”

All 12 have a slugger's chance

This Top 12 Elite Series final has a completely different feel than the one held a week ago on Grand Lake, besides the obvious - Grand finished on a Sunday.

At Grand Lake, Kevin VanDam, arguably the best closer in B.A.S.S. history, had a 3-pounds-plus lead over his closest competitor and the field was separated by almost 12 pounds.

Today, Wesley Strader has a 13-ounce lead over Skeet Reese and only 7 pounds, 2 ounces separates first from 12th. This on a lake where 7-pound bass have been brought to the scales each day.

The other factor in this one is the "swimbait sluggers." Especially on Day 4, when the worst they can do is finish 12th, guys like Boyd Duckett and Fred Roumbanis are going to sling those high risk/high reward swimbaits all day long, hoping for a home run.

Chris Zaldain, who led on Day 1 with 24-3, is the prime example of what a swimbait can produce on Kentucky Lake. And he said he caught a 30-pound limit in practice on a swimbait, before the tournament began.

This should be fun.

Roumbanis' patience pays off - finally

If you're going to throw a swimbait, you've got to be patient. Fred Roumbanis has remained amazingly calm all day, despite having only two fish in the livewell. Finally, at 2 p.m., it paid off.

"I worked all day for that fish! All day long!" Roumbanis yelled after putting another 5-pounder in the boat.

He's got three bass weighing approximately 14 or 15 pounds, which puts him back among the leaders, in 3rd place on BASSTrakk.

Skeet slowing down approach

Day 2 leader Skeet Reese just missed two bites in a row. He’s slowed down his approach to each stop, picking them apart in search of his fifth bass. However, bites have been stingy for Skeet today. Will he find that limit-filling fish before time runs out?

 

The full Berkley experience

Bassmaster Elite Series anglers Adrian Avena, Steve Kennedy and Darrell Ocamica, are testing their fishing knot strength with fans of B.A.S.S.

“It’s an awesome experience, it lets fans see that they are normal people,” Pure Fishing Rep, Sean Olson said. “They get to mingle and even compete, enhancing the fan experience.”

The 2018 Berkley Bassmaster Elite at Kentucky Lake presented by Abu Garcia, is being held through Monday at Paris State Park.

The field will be cut to 12 for Championship Monday. Weigh-in begins at 4 pm ET. 

Wesley Strader with an upgrade

Tennessee Elite Wesley Strader just landed a 2 and a half pound bass and culled up a half pound. He’s sitting in second in BASSTrakk with 18-9 today.

A little earlier we spent about 30 minutes with him fishing up shallow. “That’s the way this bush deal is,” he said. “You do it for two hours and you get one bite.”

Strader guesstimated he has fished 15 tournaments on Kentucky Lake. “It’s different this year. Normally you catch a bunch of non-keepers in the bushes. This year it’s either a keeper or nothing.”

 

Christie's lesson for Menendez

The home field curse is well known in tournament bass fishing, and especially in spring when the playing field is leveled. When bass are in the spawning phases there are no secret spots or community holes where a “local” pro can leverage to his advantage.

Last week, that was exactly what happened to some of the locals fishing Grand Lake. Count Oklahoman Jason Christie among that group. Christie finished 97th out of the 108 pros on what is considered his home lake.

Ironically, on Bassmaster LIVE, Christie lamented over what he should have avoided, which was fishing history and embracing familiarity. Mark Menendez took that message to Kentucky Lake, his lifelong home waters.

“Jason warned against the danger of locking into the mindset of running familiar water and becoming oblivious to what really is working,” said Menendez. “Doing that burned him last week and it really stuck in my mind on the drive back home."

Menendez ditched familiarity, and it wasn’t easy, in favor of fishing his home water like an unfamiliar, strange lake.

“I have been to places where I’ve never been in my life, no history of fishing whatsoever,” he said. “I am fishing this as if I’m a visitor.”

So far so good. BASSTrakk showed Menendez in fourth place at 11:30 am. Waging mental combat with avoiding familiarity was likely made easier by not having fished on Kentucky Lake since 2016.

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