"Big daddy"

Editor's note: Jamie Hartman's Marshal for Saturday, Paul Pest, sent in this anecdote.

On Saturday, Jamie needed a good fish to insure he was going to make the cut. He kept saying “Come to Big Daddy, come to Big Daddy” trying to coax another fish into the boat. I told him I wasn’t comfortable calling him “Big Daddy” but if he caught a 10 pounder, I’d do it. He asked for an 8. I countered with 9.

 He landed the 5-02 within the last 10 minutes of fishing. He sits down behind the wheel and looks at me and said “Well?”. 

Yeah, I gave in and said “Nice catch Big Daddy!”

Big Daddy put them in the boat today! Outstanding job Jamie!!!!

Video: Hartman back in lead

Jame Hartman made a move into the mouth of South Sauty Creek and immediately started catching throwbacks.

He switched to a jig, and that decision paid off with a 4-2 that put him squarely back in the lead, according to Basstrakk.

He now has an estimated 23 pounds and has a 10-ounce cushion over Matt Arey.

Keep an eye on Caleb Sumrall

Second-year Elite Series pro Caleb Sumrall has already accomplished something that he hadn't done in his first year-and-a-half on tour - make the Day 4 cut. Last year, when the top 12 fished on Day 4, Sumrall finished 13th at South Dakota's Lake Oahe. This year at Winyah Bay, he finished 11th by 8 ounces at Winyah Bay.

Sumrall is close to a much bigger milestone today. He started in 6th place, he's got 19-4 today and he's within two pounds of the lead. The 32-year-old New Iberia, La., resident is gaining confidence by the day.

"I'm learning so much every day," Sumrall said yesterday. "I'm punching mats. That's what I do back home."

There were 25 bags of 20 pounds or more caught during the first three days of the tournament. Sumrall has two of them - 20-2 on Day 1, which put him in 13th place, and 20-13 on Day 3. He's on the verge of another 20-pound day today, and that might give him the lead.

Bass siesta has everyone scrambling

There's been a lull in Lake Guntersville bass fishing every day of this tournament from about 10 a.m. until noon. It feels different today because of the windy, cloudy weather, which we haven't seen the previous three days. And the lull is accentuated by the fact there are only 10 anglers on the water today.

"I don't know what I'm going to do the rest of the day," Hank Cherry said recently on "Bassmaster LIVE." You could probably repeat that quote for the other nine anglers.

"Everything is different," said Chris Zaldain, referring to the weather conditions. "The wind is ripping. The trolling motor is having a hard time staying in the water."

Zaldain said that as he bailed out of the spot where he's caught "13 or 14 of my 15" fish weighed-in the previous three days.

Maybe it is truly different today. Or maybe this is just another late morning Lake Guntersville bass siesta, which has been ending about now.

Sumrall catching bass in the grass

Not long ago, Caleb Sumrall stopped to chat with Jamie Hartman along the grassline Hartman was working. When finding out that Hartman planned to fish ahead of him, where Sumrall also wanted to fish, Sumrall moved on.

After action slowed with Hartman, I decided to see what Sumrall was doing. He had moved a mile or so upriver from Hartman and into a broad, shallow bay off the main channel. He is fishing scattered patches of weeds, and it is working.

I saw him catch a small fish and throw it back, but he upgraded his catch enough to move into fourth place overall with 72 pounds, 5 ounces.

Zaldain throws in the towel

After spending another 30 minutes on the main-lake point that produced so well yesterday, Chris Zaldain threw in the towel on the location.

“I’m going to check it on the way in,” he said after making a run down to a protected area near Highway 431 at Guntersville.

It’s not that the fish have left the main lake; Zaldain said it was just too rough to fish effectively.

“I could see a few (on his electronics),” Zaldain said. “But it’s so hard to pinpoint them in this wind.”

The howling wind out of the southwest also was having another negative impact.

“The current is backed up with all this wind,” Zaldain explained.

And the heavy cloud cover probably factored into the spot just giving out.

“It’s all of the above,” Zaldain said.

Another throwback

Hartman’s frog paid off again, this time with a little better bass that might’ve gone close to 3. Apparently, he does not need 2 1/2 pounders because he merely showed it to his live camera and dropped it overboard.

Hartman has an 11 ounce lead over Matt Arey. He told me he keeps thinking a big one will bite in this grass but that hasn’t happened so far.

A friend from Scottsboro who fishes here whenever he can, said the frog bite is in full swing right now. Oddly, not many of the top anglers in this Elite tournament have talked about it being a factor.

Hartman is swapping back-and-forth between a frog and a soft plastic lure he punches through the weed canopy.

Zaldain making moves

After making several moves that put two more 2-pounders in the livewell, Zaldain is back in his main-lake point

And it is rough as a cob, and the wind continues to ratchet up, producing huge rollers. But he told me before blast-off he hoped to stay on this area all day.

He’s been eagle-eying his electronics, so he’s obviously seeing something he likes.

All he needs now is for the bass to cooperate.

A frog bite

About 10 minutes after Hartman switched to a frog, he scored his first bite on that surface lure. It looked to be a giant fish, but only because it came to the boat with 3 or 4 pounds of grass attached. It was a decent keeper but not big enough to help Hartman widen his lead.

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