Rapid action

Drew Benton has found a big school of little bass. He is catching one after another and only one was big enough to cull another small fish.

I wondered out loud why he is staying on these undersize bass. Steve Bowman believes that the schools are not running according to size. Instead these anglers are creating such a ruckus catching little fish that the big ones come to see what they’ve been missing out on. Put another way, Benton is trying to fire up the school and upgrade his catch.

Jocumsen loves Guntersville

Carl Jocumsen has struggled with consistency in his professional bass fishing career. He's finished in the money 31 times in 64 B.A.S.S. tournaments. But Jocumsen has been consistently good at Lake Guntersville. Granted, the sample size is small, but Jocumsen's best Elite Series finish was in 2015 when he finished sixth at Guntersville.

No matter where he finishes today, Jocumsen will post his best finish of the 2019 season at Guntersville. He started the day in 15th place, and he's got two bass totaling 3-15 so far.

Jocumsen, 34, is a fan favorite. The amiable Australian, who now calls Frisco, Texas, home, loves to catch "feesh," and he enjoys sharing his knowledge with others, especially youngsters.

Benton gets a limit

Drew Benton’s fourth move has resulted in his fourth keeper of the morning. Unfortunately they are the wrong size. The four skinny bass total 5 lbs. 4 oz., according to his last track.

Fish number four jumped off the hook just as Benton was swinging it on board. Fortunately it landed inside the boat, and he was able to keep it.

Just now he tightened up on his fifth bass, and this looks to be the best of the day. With a limit in the livewell, he can settle down and try to upgrade his catch.

Benton and his partner estimated the last fish to weigh 2 1/4 pounds. We believe he is underguessing the weight of these fish, and might have 10 pounds in the boat. That would move him closer to seventh place than eighth.

A minute ago, Benton landed his sixth keeper but quickly tossed it into the water without even measuring. It weighed at least one and a half pounds, so he needs to catch something 2 or better to cull up.

He will need to double the weight of his limit before the day is out if he wants to fish tomorrow, and he does.

Herren doing it his way

When interviewing Matt Herren you always knows where he stands on a topic. It’s all black and white. Herren is doing what he wants to do, ignoring the prevailing offshore pattern.

“I’m doing my deal. A long rod, heavy weight and soft plastic, all fished over the grass,” he said.

What Herren refuses to do is get into the heavily pressured ledge fishing rotation of spots. Here is why, as told in his own words.

"The big thing about fishing this style of tournament is there are no secrets. Everybody finds the same stuff. When you go to your first spot you don’t know if anybody will already be there, or has already been there, or how the fish are going to set up. It’s all luck of the draw. Every time I get involved in that deal somebody is already there or it messes with my mind they already fished it out.”

And then this nugget.

"My elementary school teacher sent me home with a note for my parents that Matt don’t play well with others. I don’t play well with other fishermen. Fishing is not a social sport. It is an individual sport meant to be done alone, and I don’t like company."

And there you have it. Words of wisdom and candid observations from the current tournament leader.

BASSCam: Start of Day 3

The Elites explain their semi final Sunday plans. 

Feider sneaking up on AOY

Seth Feider doesn't go quietly about anything. And you can bet there was some noise in his boat upon landing a 5-pound, 2-ounce bass at 7 a.m. today. But the "Amazing Feider Man" is quietly sneaking up the Toyota Angler of the Year standings.

While the Minnesota native hasn't made a final day Top 10 cut this year, check out this record of consistency:
- 22nd at the St. Johns River
- 26th at Lake Lanier
- 24th at Lake Hartwell
- 38th at Winyah Bay
- 12th at Lake Fork

In the midst of that was a 15th place finish at the Bassmaster Classic in Knoxville. Feider is currently 11th in AOY points as the Elite Series next takes its northern swing - Feider's wheelhouse - to the St. Lawrence River and Cayuga Lake.

Short Fish

I stand corrected. In my last post, I said that Benton had boated three keepers. They would be keepers in most tournaments, but the minimum size on Lake Guntersville is 15 inches. He threw two back and kept one. He’s back in schooling action but the fish are not much bigger at this point.

He will need to find some 4-pounders if he is going to stay in the Top 10 and earn the right to fish tomorrow.

Benton has been fooling schooling fish with a walking bait. It’s the same one, or very similar, to the surface lure he used to win the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on Lake Travis and earn the right to fish the 2019 Classic.

Fans from Australia cheer on "Joco"

It's not every day you get 10 emails from Australia. In my job, you can almost guarantee it means that Carl Jocumsen is having a good tournament. Emmett Yates, a big fan from Melbourne, sent in some videos of "Joco" fans in the Victoria Market cheering on their bass fishing hero. 

Benton goes to school

Master photographer Steve Bowman and I are assigned to cover Drew Benton, who is fourth on this third day of competition in the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament at Lake Guntersville.

Benton and his cameraman flew by us as we were launching down lake. We are already on his third stop of the morning. The first two produced nothing, but a switch to topwater plugs paid off right away after he shut down the engine. Bass are schooling all around his boat right now.

In about as many casts, Benton has boated three keepers. As so often happens when you are surrounded by surface schooling fish, Benton just messed up. Trying to reach a far away surface eruption, he threw all the line off his reel. Now he has to retie.

Hartman goes big early

Jamie Hartman had a big day yesterday, catching a 20-pound, 10-ounce bag that rallied him from 46th place on Day 1 to 17th Saturday. Hartman is off to a hot start this morning thanks to a big bite early. BASSTrakk indicates Hartman caught a 5-pound, 2-ounce bass at 6:24. That's one of those kickers that could propel him to another 20-pound day.

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