Pace's four-day game plan

An under-appreciated aspect of Elite Series tournaments is the game planning required for a four-day event. If you can, you'd like to save a spot or two for later in the tournament, when it's harder to get key bites. But you have to adjust on the fly.

Cliff Pace provided some insight into his adjustments yesterday. A few places he was hoping to save until Day 3 had to be put in play on Day 2.

"They're just little off-the-wall places that I'd been leaving alone," Pace said. "I was hoping I could get through (Friday) with the wind and not have to fish that stuff. It wasn't an option. It was go fish it or weigh in three."

Pace was stuck on three keepers from 8:44 a.m. until 12:50 p.m. Then one of those off-the-wall places produced his big bass of the day - a 4-12 - and his fifth keeper. It gave him 13-10 on Day 2 and allowed him to stay in 3rd place, where he started the day.

"I think the guy that wins this event is going to figure out some off-the-wall way to catch 'em," Pace said. "Something that just ain't typical summertime fishing. I don't have that now. I'm still looking for it."

Pace and Reese in same pocket

Cliff Pace is still catching numbers of fish, with most being throwbacks. But he’s caught a 3-12 and two 2-9 that have pushed him back into the runner-up spot.

Skeet Reese ran into the same pocket about 30 minutes ago, and he’s fishing the same pattern - and hooking up periodically. The two Elite Series anglers are currently within 100 yards of each other.

Big Ugly visits Texas Fest

Kasey Studdard (left) and Lyle Sendlein, former NFL players and now the host of Austin’s sports radio show, Big Ugly Outdoors, are pictured at 2018 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest Benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department with Bassmaster emcee Dave Mercer. 

John Murray landing a 4-14

John Murray is fighting the wind and waves to make a big jump in the AOY points. Video by Bassmaster Judge Matt Connolly

Benton in the school

Drew Benton has enjoyed a very productive morning that has rocketed him into the top spot with 18 pounds and 6 ounces currently. He’s sharing water with Kelly Jordon, and they’re being very friendly about it.

Marty Robinson is also in the area.

There is so much bait in here it’s silky. Bass are busting shad in the surface everywhere—to the point that picking a spot to cast to is confusing for the Florida pro.

With most of the action topside, the schools of baitfish extend through the water column. It’s actually been an exciting hour with all the action.

Lots of time yet, but this is a good spot to be fishing, tournament or not.

Elam's last gasp 9-pounder

What James Elam did in the last 15 minutes yesterday gives hope to every angler who made today's Top 50 - hope that will carry through to every one of the 12 anglers who make the cut for Championship Sunday, as well.

On his last cast Friday, Elam caught a 9-pound, 2-ounce bass. It gave him 15 pounds, 3 ounces for the day and almost vaulted him into the Top 50 cut after starting the day 96th place with 5-6. Elam finished 57th, less than a pound out of the cut.

"I left 15 minutes at the end of the day to do one more thing," Elam said. "I'd already fished it two or three times. I just wanted to end on it."

Elam caught the 9-2 on a Molix Sidus 145, a 14.5-centimeter (5.7-inch) green pumpkin soft plastic stickbait on a Carolina rig. (Interestingly, Cliff Pace's 10-pound, 5-ounce big bass of the tournament so far was also caught on a Carolina rig.)

That bass illustrates the intriguing quality of Lake Travis: No matter how late in the day or how poorly it has previously gone, there's always hope. Elite Series anglers how weighed in 10-, 9- and a couple of 8-pounders in the first two days.