A race within a race

There are always games within the game. Or races within the race.

This final day has a few of those.

At the top of the list is the Angler of the Year race. Jamie Hartman leads that at the moment. He went into today with the lead in this event. And will likely lead that race at the end of day barring a complete disaster. If he doesn’t win he would lose a point for every place he drops.

He started the day with an 8-point lead over Buddy Gross, who could wind up leading if disaster strikes.

Meanwhile Gross has 18-point lead on Taku Ito in the Rookie of the Year race. Ito could make up some ground today with a stellar day making that race tighter and more interesting as we prepare to head to St. Clair.

And not to forget, Cory Johnston watched his brother become the first Canadian to win a blue trophy last week. There’s nothing that will light your fire like trying to keep pace with a brother.

Races galore all over the lake.

Loughran in bullseye of the storm

I covered Ed Loughran yesterday and by this time then I began to wonder if he was going to survive for today’s round.

Unlike so many of these guys, Loughran is grinding away in the Inland Sea. And it took him all day to build his stringer.

The problem with that grind today is he’s right in the bullseye of a storm heading toward the lake.

That could help him. But it’s just as likely it will be unfishable or put a better way extremely painful to pull off.

But on Championship Sunday all these guys will eat as much pain as offered if it means hoisting that blue trophy.

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Waiting for the first 20-pound bag

It seems like we are just waiting for the first 20-pound bag to show up and then who gets there after that.

It’s almost a given these guys will catch 16- to 17-pounds. It’s that 20-pound mark that starts the separation. All of them are capable.

Right now Seth Feider leads the way with a 17-pound stringer. He sits atop the leaderboard. But just ounces back is Jason Williamson who, according to Davy Hite, has a limit of 18 pounds.

I’ll remind you Williamson started the day in 9th place. Now he’s ounces from the lead.

That’s how things will go today. Williamson catches 20, which seems very possible, it makes it difficult to catch without a stringer approaching that by the rest of the field.

There were only three of those yesterday. They’ve dropped off exponentially every day.

That makes 20 almost critical today. All of them get there then the weigh-in will certainly have a bunch of fireworks.

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Kreiger nearly nabs a double-header

Koby Kreiger’s commentary from 8:10 a.m.:

“Oh, that’s a big one!”

“I have two!”

“I have two!”

“I have two!”

“Oh, “I lost one!”

Kreiger, who entered Championship Sunday in third place was throwing a jerkbait on a shallow flat when a big bite quickly revealed itself as twin smallmouth fighting for the morning meal.

After keeping them both buttoned up all the way to boat side, Kreiger knelt to scoop his potential game-changing double-header; but somewhere amid the white water fury, one of the fish escaped its snare.

“I had both in my arms and the one got off.”

The one Kreiger caught weighed 4 pounds. The one he lost looked to be it's equal.

Tennyson told us: ‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Not sure if that applies to smallmouth bass, but it sounds good for a Sunday morning.

Feider first angler with a limit

Seth Feider became the first angler with a five-bass limit today - at 8:21 a.m. His fifth fish was the smallest in his livewell so far, a 2-12. BASSTrakk shows him with 17 pounds, including a 4-8. But those are all estimates, and I'd estimate Feider has at least 18 pounds.

He's right on track with what he estimated would be the winning weight this week at Lake Champlain. "It's going to take right at 80 pounds," Feider said Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Feider's got 76 pounds, at least, at 8:30 a.m.

Slow start for Mullins

The morning has started out very slow for David Mullins. Over an hour into the tournament and he has only two keepers at about 4 pounds total. The weather is completely different than what it has been for the entire week. Earlier in the week, we had sun and little wind, and today we have no sun and lots of wind.

What might have been

Koby Kreiger’s move to an area just south of the Canadian border paid off with two quick fish in the livewell.

But it could have been even better.

“I had two on, but one came off,” Kreiger said.

He landed what looked to be a 3-pounder.

“The other one was bigger,” Kreiger said.

Williamson with four

Davy Hite, our roving Bassmaster Live reporter, just called.

He’s sitting on Jason Williamson who is in an area where there is no service at all.

Hite wanted to pass along that Williamson has four fish in the well. All of them 3 1/2 pounders. That would give him about 14 pounds and put him in the lead of this event at this moment.

The weather is about to get interesting

Today things are going to get very interesting with the weather. I’m told that when the wind comes out of the South Champlain can get extremely rough.  My boat driver is telling me that if the winds get up to 25 mph as the weatherman says, we could be in some real trouble with some 4-5 footers and maybe even bigger.

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When the weather shifts

A lot can change when the weather decides to shift around.

We are obviously seeing that this morning. By this time the last three mornings, we’ve seen a flurry of activity with catches and building of weights.

We are almost an hour in and we halfway expected at least one limit by now. That’s judged purely on previous days.

There are far fewer anglers on the water but they are also the ones who have had a particular lock on Champlain.

I write those previous words, thumb-typing on my iPhone knowing full well that as soon as I start typing something like that these guys will start producing some catches.

When I started there wasn’t a full limit between the 10 of them. Now I see that has changed greatly.

Seth Feider leads with three that come in at 11-pounds. More importantly, he has a 4 pound, 8-ounce lunker as an anchor. His smallest is 3-pounds. So he’s building a respectable weight. He will likely still need a bigger bass as an anchor to pull this off. But he’s started his day well in an event where the weather has yet to decide it’s final impact.