No one has caught more bass than Elite Series rookie Brad Whatley today. He's at 17 and counting. And he just keeps culling up by ounces. Whatley doesn't have a 3-pounder in the boat, but he's got 13-6, which has him 8th place at 12:45..
Brandon Card's personal best spotted bass weighed 5 pounds, 6 ounces. He came close to matching it this morning with a 5-4 at 10:30.
"Holy, moley!" said Card after putting the bass on his digital scale. "That's the second-biggest spotted bass I've ever caught."
Card's got a 3-1, a 2-12 and a couple of 1-pounders to go with it. His BASSTrakk total of 13-13 has him 5th place with 43-8.
Chris Zaldain grew up in California, home to world record breaking spotted bass, where he honed his skills on lakes Shasta, Oroville, Folsom and Berryessa. Zaldain also has experience fishing Lake Lanier, home to what is undeniably one of the healthiest spotted bass fisheries in the South.
“It was an FLW Cup during August, so I never got the chance to exploit my skills,” he said. “Now it’s prime with the conditions ideal for dialing into these big fatties out deep.”
Zaldain is using a swimbait in clear, deep water, where the spotted bass are schooling and preying upon blueback herring. He offered a unique perspective on why the spotted bass prefer the open water where they suspend when feeding, or hold on isolated brushpiles during periods of low activity.
“These big spots love to suspend so they get a 360-degree view around them,” he explained. “That’s so they can see approaching blueback herring coming from any direction.”
What’s so cool about what’s in store this afternoon on Lake Lanier is the contrasting styles of angling. I have access to the BASSTrakk map and it displays a very noticeable separation between the group of anglers fishing up the lake and the others choosing to target spotted bass on the lower end. Power fishing is in play up lake with crankbaits and jerk baits being used in the stained water. Down lake, of course, are the finesse guys video game fishing with swimbaits for suspended fish preying upon blueback herring.
It’s going to be fun to watch on Bassmaster LIVE, because both sets of anglers are very much getting dialed in to the bite.
What else is going to be cool about tomorrow is it’ll all change again. The spotted bass are ever on the move and there is another low pressure system taking aim on the lake. The forecast calls for a 70 percent rain chance with wind and plenty of cloud cover.
While this photo was taken a few years ago by Seigo Seito on Tennessee’s Douglas Lake, it’s appropriate for today. David Mullins just missed a good fish. Instead of leaping off his boat deck, however, he dropped to the deck in disappointment this time. The Day 2 leader is starting to catch ‘em though. He’s been gaining confidence in the bite, if not the size of the bite, as the day has progressed.
“I’ve got a bunch of little ones I need to get rid of,” Mullins said on “Bassmaster LIVE” just before the 11 a.m. break.
- Stetson Blaylock was fired up early on morning number 3 of the Bassmaster Elite Series at Lake Lanier.
Mullins has just finished his limit. All total he should be the 10-pound range. Possibly more.
That last one came in around 2 1/2 pounds.
He’s probably relieved at the moment. He still needs more weight. But he’s got a lot of time. My guess is he’s just a few pounds from regaining his lead.
It’s a steep climb. But again, we expect a lot of his hopes are riding on tomorrow and it’s unpredictable weather.
Mullins has added his fourth keeper. And it appears to be barely a keeper.
We will mark it down at 1 pound. Every keeper counts at this point
Shane and I happened onto Seth Feider, who at that point was in ninth place in round three of the Toyota Bassmaster Elite at Lake Lanier. He had a limit for today weighing 15 1/2 pounds, and 38-14 total.
We decided to watch him a while, and I'm glad that we did. Just now he hooked a solid keeper on a jerkbait, which enabled him to cull one of his smaller fish. That moved him up in the ranks a little bit, into seventh, according to BASSTrakk. He is working in high spots not far from shorelines in a relatively confined area.
Mullins is running some of the same water he ran yesterday. We are close to a place the Indians call “Drowned Phone” cove.
True to it’s name Jim Sexton dropped his cell phone into the lake yesterday near here.
I’m kidding about everything but Sexton kicking his phone overboard.
Mullins is staying resolute because he knows all he has to do is survive today. It’s great conditions for what the drop shotters are doing. But the weather promises to change and work right into his hands with clouds and rain.
That’s guessing that the weatherman knows what he’s talking about.