Small delay

Tournament Director Trip Weldon is going to delay the start by 5 or 10 minutes this morning to give daylight a little more time to brighten things up. The heavy cloud cover has darkened up the morning.

 

Logjam at the cutline

Just like after Day 2, when a single ounce was the difference in making the Top 51 cut or not, it's looking that tight for the Top 12 cut after today's weigh-in.

As we approach 1:30 p.m., BASSTrakk shows five anglers within five ounces.

They are: James Elam, 11th, 33-7; Jesse Wiggins, 12th, 33-4; Casey Ashley, 12th, 33-4; Randy Howell, 14th, 33-3; and Jonathon VanDam, 15th, 33-2.

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Fishing for Florida strain bass in Alabama?

There have been two startling Tweets this morning from Lake Martin - one indicating Bradley Roy caught a 10-pounder and another stating Ray Hanselman landed an 8-pounder. Both were mistakes in entering BASSTrakk info. But here's what you should know: Big bass like that aren't out of the question at Lake Martin, where a 9.13-pounder was caught in a Bama Division BFL on March 19, 2016.

You have to wonder if bass like that one, Cliff Prince's two weighing 6-13 and 6-3 on Day 1 and Adrian Avena's 6-8 on Day 2 aren't results of some intensive stocking of Florida strain largemouth bass by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in previous years.

Lake Martin was one of the lakes where that Florida strain stocking took place. From 2010 through 2012 there was a total of 1,027,220 Florida strain fingerlings stocking in Sandy Creek. The remnants of those stockings may well be the game-changers in this tournament.

 

Connell gone river fishing

We’ve gone up the Tallapoosa River in search of Dustin Connell.

When we arrived the young Alabama pro with sitting down rigging up a flippin rod. “I was really catchin em before you got here,” he said. A day late and a dollar short again. “We’re in a little lull now. But they’ll start biting again if the rain comes.”

He has five spotted bass for 10-14 in the livewell. The largest being a 3 and a half pounder. Connell said he wanted to fish up river all week, but when he came here the first day of the tournament the river was full of logs, washed down by the earlier rain. “I caught my fish in 40 feet of water yesterday. But I just like this style of Fishing better.” 

Avena already on Plan B

Yesterday Adrian Avena told me that his one-two punch involved targeting spotted bass early, waiting for the water to warm up in backs of creeks, then switching over to largemouth for the final two hours of competition.

That, of course, was on Day 1 and 2 when sunshine provided the warmth needed for moving largemouth into shallow water.

Today’s overcast conditions forced Avena to scrap the spotted bass plan much earlier. This video was shot around 11 a.m. by Garrick Dixon. It’ll be interesting to see what movements the largemouth will make, and how productive that bite will be today.

Avena on the Beaver Lake pattern

Before earning a berth on the Elite Series three years ago, Adrian Avena was a regular on the FLW tour, which used to stop on northwest Arkansas' Beaver Lake every season. Avena said he's on a "Beaver Lake pattern" this week at Lake Martin.

"Lake Martin reminds me of Beaver Lake," Avena said. "I've won a lot of money at Beaver Lake, and it's always been with a couple of key largemouth."

The "pattern" is to catch a limit of spotted bass early, then concentrate on upgrading with a bigger largemouth or two. Yesterday he made the upgrade of the day — a 6 1/2-pound largemouth, which helped vault him in the standings from 62nd place on Day 1 to 6th place after Day 2.

Avena got his limit of spots earlier this morning and now he's working on the largemouth bite. He just put a 3-pounder in the boat, which bumped him up to 11-12 on the day and moved him into third place in the BASSTrakk standings.

"These conditions are in favor of the largemouth guys," Avena said. "I half-tempted to throw a buzzbait around a little."

Menendez’s latest catch didn’t help

Mark Menendez just caught another keeper, but it wasn’t quite big enough to help him cull up from his 13 1/2-pound limit.

“I’ve got to have at least a 1 3/4- to 2-pounder to even think about it now,” he said.

He’s made two moves since his last cull.

Forecast for the rest of the weekend

Scott Martin is a Meteorologist for AlabamaWx.com and provided us a forecast for the rest of the weekend

Radar check at 9:10 AM on this gray Saturday morning is showing that conditions are dry at this point in and around Alexander City for this weekend’s Bassmaster Elite at Lake Martin. The good news at this point is that any major shower activity is well over 2 hours away. The bad news is that the Storm Prediction Center has the area in a Marginal Risk of Severe Storms for today and tomorrow.

Read more about the possibility for severe weather on AlabamaWx.com

Menendez doing damage with big spinnerbait

Mark Menendez is known for using a big spinnerbait, and that’s what he’s doing his damage with right now.

And we mean big-time damage.

He’s put two big fish in the boat in less than 20 minutes since he tied the bait on, and he seems to believe it’s only going to get better.

“It’s fixing to get ugly, boys,” he said as lipped the fish and lifted it into the boat.

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