Shane Lineberger borderline Nostradamus

Shane Lineberger must be a borderline Nostradamus. In one of the closest Elite events in memory, Lineberger came close to nailing the winning weight. That’s out of 75 guesses. That’s why we are giving him credit. That guessed weight is close, but actually it would have only been good enough for third place.

But we guess a man deserves his props.

Blaylock headed back

Stetson Blaylock is on his way back with very little time left, so it’s doubtful there will be a last-second catch on the ramp. 

He did cull his dink. He still has more than what BASSTrakk says. But Canterbury is in that boat as well. 

This thing is too close to call. Should be a fun weigh-in. 

Painful for Blaylock

Less than 30 minutes left for Stetson Blaylock and it’s getting painful. 

The fish have not bit today like they did late yesterday, but you expect them to start any moment. 

With Blaylock probably not needing a whole lot, you can’t help but hope he catches one. 

As an impartial observer I can’t and won’t root for any of the guys on the water. Instead I root for all of them.

True to form as soon as I start typing, Blaylock sets the hook. The cull will likely be a half pound. 

That could make the difference. It will certainly make things more interesting.

Tension growing for Blaylock

Stetson Blaylock has just over an hour left of fishing time. 

It’s an all-important hour. Right now I believe he’s neck and neck with Scott Canterbury. 

Of course I feel Blaylock’s weight is light in BassTrakk. Having no knowledge of Canterbury’s sack, I have to take BASSTrakk at its word. 

Because it is so close the tension is palatable in the camera boat. 

Blaylock has a squeaker in the well and virtually any keeper is an upgrade. Kyle Johnston, my laid-back boat driver, just told me, “I’m so nervous right now.”

We, of course, know how close it is. Blaylock may suspect. But it’s a good bet, he thinks he’s further behind.

At the moment, all these miles on the water, all the missed fish and exciting moments boil down to this last hour and whether or not Blaylock culls and with what size. 

If it doesn’t happen, then the scales get to decide in what has been one of the closest contests in recent memory. 

Blaylock just made this interesting

Stetson Blaylock just made things a lot more interesting. He just boated his limit fish. One that required him to hit the passenger seat and hand wrestle him in.

He marked that fish as 2 pounds. But it’s every bit 2 1/2 pounds as I scroll thru my camera and look at it.

I was already of the mind that he was 3/4 of a pound light on his four fish.

All that said, and assuming Canterbury’s weight is accurate, these guys are in a neck-and-neck race.

Canterbury has about 30 minutes left of fishing. Blaylock 2 hours to make up any deficit. And he does have a 1-pound squeaker in the box.

He’s getting ready to be in the driver’s seat if Canterbury or another Cooper River boy doesn’t latch into a big one.

One thing to note. Blaylock has left his pond. He idled our and around the corner, then stopped as it appeared there were several boats in the canal he was headed.

He turned around, swiveled his head in each direction, then idled to the first dock. That’s where the limit fish came from.

Last-minute, last-ditch decisions always play in these close events. At the moment it appears like a great choice.

Chasing a good fish

While Stetson Blaylock has been scratching and clawing and barely hanging on, Scott Canterbury has evidently taken the lead in this event by about 3 pounds, landing a 6-pounder. 

At the same time I was looking at that a fish that I would guess as heavy 4 or light 5 came up to the surface and started chasing a Shad in front of Blaylock. 

Like any angler would do, he threw everything down and started casting to it. The fish didn’t get interested in Blaylock’s Pop R, but it did seem to energize him a bit. 

There are still good fish in this pond. And he has one fish to give toward his limit. 

He has no idea how close he is. I assume he thinks he’s getting pounded. A good bite, though, would change everything.

The truth about BASSTrakk

If you were watching "Bassmaster LIVE" Saturday when Stetson Blaylock put his first big bass of the day on a digital scale, you got a glimpse of the truth behind BASSTrakk.

"We're going to call that four pounds," said Blaylock about a bass that appeared to weigh closer to five pounds. When asked after the weigh-in what that fish actually weighed on his scales, Blaylock smiled and said, "It was a heavy four."

Blaylock's total BASSTrakk weight yesterday was 15-0. His actual weight was almost three pounds heavier, 17-15. The same was true for various anglers up and down the leaderboard. A few anglers will "big-eye" their fish and end up with a heavier BASSTrakk weight than actual weight on the official weigh-in scales. Some guys weigh each fish and report a weight that's confirmed to the exact ounce on the weigh-in scales. But most, like Blaylock, want to light on BASSTrakk and heavy on the official scales. It's a personal thing.

"I've seen it a lot of times where BASSTrakk has guys at more than what they actually weigh-in," Blaylock said. "I will never be that guy. I don't like to sand-bag, but I want to make sure I'm under. I've got a lot of family and friends watching. You don't want to be a disappointment when you come in, and they say, 'Well, you said you had this.' I'm just not going to do that."

The various ways these anglers record their BASSTrakk weights, in my opinion, doesn't detract from system. It provides some educated guesses about what is going to unfold on stage, while leaving room for intrigue and drama at the weigh-in. Maybe we should start posting a "sand-bag handicap" for each angler.

"When I weigh a big one, I'm always going to be about a half-pound shy," Blaylock said.

Staying put

Since Stetson Blaylock started in this small lake in The Fingers, the tide had dropped around 1 1/2 feet. Possibly 2 feet. And it’s still got another potential 2 feet to go. 

As it drops some of these beds become more visible. And we are seeing him set up on places where beds are or should be. 

Still a lot of time for everyone. And the tide seems to be getting better for everyone. Blaylock, though, seems to be resolute at standing his ground. 

He fished once around the pond. Then Koby Kreiger showed up. He was on his way out, caught his third fish then made the decision to go back in.

“I may lose,” he said. “But I’m not going to lose and give up my spot.”

He’s back in the pond and milking away. Kreiger on the other hand is idling out. 

Judging by activity on BASSTrakk, the fish are starting to bite. 

Cory Johnston has a limit. John Crews is working on them. All of the sudden the leaderboard is tightening up on the top side. 

Lots of things are happening. I will note that BASSTrakk has Blaylock with 4 pounds. His three fish are closer to 5 pounds. More like 4 3/4 pounds. But that could be the case for everyone. 

Looking for a grande

Koby Kreiger just put No. 3 in the livewell. He had to measure it, so it wasn’t a giant. But it really has amped up Krueger’s confidence. 

“Now we go look for grande,” he said. 

Blaylock adds another

Stetson Blaylock has just landed his third keeper of the morning. And his smallest. This one close to 1 pound. 

He’s slowly building but he no doubt knows he needs that 4-pound or better bite to start distancing himself. 

He think he needs 15 pounds. But judging by the slow start the Cooper River Boys are having it might take less. Regardless, a couple keepers with some shoulders would likely alleviate some concerns at the moment. 

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