Wrapping up a few thoughts

Wrapping up a few thoughts before slipping out to the weigh-in area.

_ Our top 10 has four previous collegiate anglers, two Canadians and only one Texan. No one could have ever predicted that.

_ Bill Lowen has made his second appearance in the top 10 of the Toyota Tundra Big Bass list for the day. He caught a 7-4 about half an hour ago. That one marries up well with the 7-1 caught earlier.

_ Brandon Card is just 12 ounces behind Brandon Cobb. On the Live segment the judge called out the weight at 6-15. But BassTrakk was entered at 6-13. Once the judge and Card get in the weight could rise by ounces.

_ After Day 2, the difference between 1st and 2nd place was 9 pounds. After today it could be in the ounces.

_ While a lot of talk has been made on the off-shore bite. We are now seeing our leader, Cobb sitting on a bedding fish.

Cobb’s smallest is 3-1, so I’m sure it could help his overall weight. Regardless, it’s interesting to see so many different tactics and techniques working and producing big weights at this derby.

_ While most folks are watching the top of the leaderboard. The race to get in the top 10 is interesting. Lots of things will happen between now and the end of the day to impact who gets in and who doesn’t. It bears watching this last hour of the day.

Big move for Card

Brandon Card has made a big move by boating a 6-13, he culled out a 2-pound class fish and now has 73 pounds, 4 ounces. He’s just 12 ounces out of the lead with a total of 26-5 on the day and 73-4 for the event.

Now we have two Brandons occupying the first two spots.

Both have a target on that century mark. What’s more, Card’s fish really puts a punctuation point on the off-shore bite: It’s hot and just getting hotter.

When that happens, it ensures more big fish, more bites and an event that really gets interesting. The whole ebb and flow of the fishing on this lake has really flip-flopped today. It’s gone from shallow and a shad spawn to cranking in mid-to-deep structure and cover.

That could be a product of the warm, calm day or simply the timing of how things are taking place. While we expect some shallow fish to continue to get caught, it’s becoming even more apparent that this event is shaping up to be won off shore.

Luke Palmer update

Elite Series pro Tyler Rivet is following his traveling roommate Luke Palmer around on Day 3 at Lake Fork.

Palmer has been swimming a jig in some gator grass and bouncing around pockets. He has 21-14 which includes a 7-12 and 6-4.

With 64-11 that puts him in 10th at the moment.

Paquette fireworks

Garrett Paquette has had a pretty awesome 30-minute flurry. We expect it might continue. But if the next 30 is as good as the last, then we could definitely see some fireworks.

Paquette had been just rocking along. We watched him for a moment on the Live show where he caught a 4-6. On his next cast he hooked up with a “big one.” It jumped off, then on the next cast he caught a 4-12. And sometime after, he caught a 5-3. That was all between 12:30 and 12:50.

He now has 21 pounds, 6 ounces for his creel and is sitting in third place with 69-3, just under 5 pounds out of the lead.

I type that and Keith Combs adds a 4-10 and moves by him. But Paquette has quietly been a mainstay in this event. It appears from the video that he has found a really good spot off shore.

That’s been the trend for most of our leaders. If you see a big one caught, it’s coming from off shore. Those who have found those little honey hole spots could be driving all of this before it’s all over. Paquette, one of our former top collegiate anglers, could be right there.

Take a look at his morning gallery on Lake Fork.

Update Jay Yelas

Jay Yelas has caught two big fish in the last few minutes including a 6 pound, 7 ounce (pictured).

But just to show you how tight this event is, a fish that late in any other derby would rocket you up the standings. In this one, it moved Yelas from 27th to 20th.

That’s not much of a move, but it does add points to the AOY race.

Yelas needs to catch two more like that to have a shot at making the final tomorrow. And yes that’s possible here.

Hudnall's omen

“The clock is right.”

And with that comment Derek Hudnall scored with a largemouth weighing 5 pounds, 14 ounces. Thirteen minutes before he scored with a 6-3.

If timing is everything this week then it is swinging in favor of Hudnall, whose fish turn on about now. Those shoreline bass are falling victim to a spinnerbait.

Hudnall went from ninth to 30th and then back up to 14th on the scoreboard.

What this means is once again, anything can happen here. And when it does it can be big. All Hudnall wants to do is get back inside the Top 10 to fish on Championship Monday.

“Tick, tock, tick tock,” he said. “Patience matters.”

Indeed it does and there is plenty of time remaining on the clock.

A move for Monti

Kyle Monti has made a move into the top 10 of the biggest fish. He just landed an 8-pound even largemouth. That’s the third largest fish of the day.

More than that it’s the type move Monti needs for his season. In a creel littered with 2- and 3-pounds, he’s jumped to 19th in this event. He likely would have to add a couple more of those giants to stick around for the final. But he needs to stay in the top 20 or better.

He’s currently in 60th in the AOY race, so he’s struggled in his second season on the Elite Series. A good finish would surely move him up in the standings, not for any title, but to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic. Depending on how those standings work out, that fish will have a big bearing where Monti winds up.

Live studio audience for LIVE

For the first time, Bassmaster LIVE has a studio audience.

A large contingent from nearby Greenbrier High School and Arkansas Tech College teams were invited to watch the second LIVE segment on Semifinal Sunday.

“It’s pretty awesome,” said Greenbrier's Tyner Redden and Hayes Grooms, who are regular viewers when they’re not competing. 

Redden and Grooms won last Sunday's Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Central Open presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors. Redden and Grooms had the big bass of 6-5 in their winning of 16-5 to earn their club $1,000. Also from Greenbrier was a top finisher in the Bassmaster Junior Central Open, Brady Horton, 13, who teamed with his younger brother Rhett to take second with 6-5.

Arkansas Tech, not far away in Russellville near their home lake of Dardanelle, brought several teams, including Austin Phillips. He teamed with Samuel Scott in placing 10th last Saturday on Bull Shoals in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops.

The author surely appreciates the guests he invited, namely Tim Preator, a law enforcement officer who served as a camera boat driver for the Dardanelle Elite. Preator is a local tournament angler who has long been a fan of B.A.S.S. He brought Sheridan High School angler Evan Reynolds and his boat captain, Evan Reynolds. In my eyes, Reynolds and Preator deserve to have the below shot put on Bassmaster for their quick turnaround on T-shirts, proclaiming #Soochforpresident. (President for what is still being debated).

Combs has room to grow

Keith Combs has just added a 7 pound, 6 ounce lunker in his creel and he’s knocking on the 30-pound door with 29 pounds, 1 ounce.

Combs still has some room to grow. His smallest is 4-3, then 5-2. Seems strange to say that they could likely be culled today. But it’s the truth. If it does, then there will be a lot of eyes on him on the final day. Right now he has the heaviest sack of the day.

We all know of Combs’ prowess on this lake. Giving him a shot on the final would set up a shoot out for the ages.

Combs is in 3rd at the moment, just under 5 pounds from the lead. Cobb is leading and Drew Cook is 3-11 out of the lead. Then there’s the wild card of Chad Pipkens and his proven honey hole.

Currently, this is really fun to watch as it takes shape, with thoughts of a spectacular finish.

Cook back in contention

Drew Cook has finally shook off what ailed his morning. He has 18 pounds, 11 ounces for the day and is back in second place. He’s just 1-11 from the lead and back in contention for the century mark.

He has 70 pounds, 11 ounces for the derby and a lot of room to move.

Another thing about that move is he makes up some lost ground in the Toyota Angler of the Year race. Walters has moved up five places, so there’s a 9-points that separate them.

Just paying attention to that race, this AOY race gets more exciting by the hour and it will likely stay that way until the end of the season.