Weidler worships on the water

Dave Mercer is hanging out with us on Bill Weidler. Mercer couldn’t help himself and he had to ask this “important question.”

“What tunes are you rocking too?” 

Weidler smiled and replied. “The David Crowder Band.” 

That’s a Christian Worship Band and fits right into Weidler’s day. 

“I can have a big one on and it just relaxes me,” he said. “It just makes me more calm.” 

Having a little worship time on the water isn’t new. Doing it catching monsters on ESPN2 that’s something a little different.

Hollen steps it up

Earlier this morning I wrote a blog about not giving up on the odds of Cody Hollen moving from outside the Championship Sunday cut. That was based on his comment about having two other quality spots from which to choose. And even better, the spots are most productive after 10:30 a.m.

Well, the proof came aboard his boat at 11 a.m. That was when he caught a pivotal smallmouth weighing an estimated 4 pounds, 8 ounces. That catch moved him into 6th place in the BASSTrakk standings.

This is good news for Hollen, winner of the 2019 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship.

Weidler marching upward

Weidler just keeps marching upward. He just landed a 4-pound plus that upgraded him by a half pound.

No doubt he’s at 22 pounds or right there. He’s just getting stronger. Oddly enough he’s caught back-to-back 20 pound, 8 ounce stringers on Days 1 and 2.

That kind of consistency always pays off. If you are going to break it up it’s even better to go heavier by 1 1/2 pounds.

Take a seat

You don’t see it much these days anymore, but Bill Weidler sits for most of the day when he’s staring at his electronics.

We see David Fritts do that all the time. Rick Clunn has started in some events. Most folks refer to it as the Bill Dance position. 

Fritts has always done that. It’s part of his ability to pinpoint a cast to a target. It’s popular in the North Carolina region. 

Weidler is the latest to start. But don’t expect to see him doing it much this season after this event.

Weidler believes by leaning on his seat he has the opportunity to focus more on what is taking place on his electronics. We’ve seen anglers young and old stumble around on the front deck as waves and rollers continually wash across this lake from every direction. 

While he’s not wavering on the deck, he can focus on the details scrolling across the screen. 

Obviously it’s working.

Weidler on a mission

Bill Weidler is a man on a mission all of the sudden. You can see the intensity on his face.

This is his sixth keeper and it comes in the boat at 4-2. And it dumps a 2-pounder.

His smallest fish in the well is 3-8. The rest are 4-pounders, one of which is 4-7.

That should give him around 20 pounds. And he still has plenty of room to move.

Weidler needs it too. He was a stick on the Opens front on his way to getting to the Elites. But he’s not lived up to his or others expectations. But we’ve seen a constant change in Weidler and it’s all been positive. It’s the kind of things you hear from champions.

After a poor New York swing his words were simple:

“When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal, you do not change your decision to get there.”

I don’t know who he borrowed that from but it’s helped him focus. And as I finish typing that. He hooks into and lands a 5.1-pound fish. Culling the 3 1/2 pounder. He’s scaring 22 pounds at the moment. And it’s an awful lot of fun to watch.

You have to realize that for most of these anglers the bigger bites have come later in the day. That’s hours from now.

Two toothy fish tales

The biggest fish caught in this bass tournament haven't been bass. Other species always appear in a bass tournament. While they aren't the main story, they're at least a sidebar. Steve Kennedy and Jay Yelas couldn't help but relate their tales of two muskies Friday.

Yelas' came first. It was an early morning strike when he was quickly reeling in a Chatterbait, looking the other way in preparation for his next cast.

"I haven't caught a muskie in decades," said Yelas. "That thing hit it, and it just about took the rod out of my hands. You haven't lived until you've had a muskie about rip the rod out of your hands like that. I didn't realize how big their teeth are. I wanted to get my bait back. I did, but you can rip your hand apart on one of those fish."

Yelas estimated the muskellunge was 4 1/2 to 5 feet long and weighed 20-plus pounds.

Kennedy's came later in the day. He tied on a one-ounce swimbait to get a lure deeper in the water column. On his third cast, the fight was on.

"It took me at least 15 minutes, maybe 20 to get it in," Kennedy said. "I could not get a hold of that joker. I was scared to death of him. I'd reach under that gill plate, and he'd take off again. He never did quit."

Kennedy estimated its length at 50-plus inches. The weight? He had no idea.

Weidler finished his limit

We’ve switched from Jay Yelas to Bill Weidler and our timing couldn’t have been better.

He was sitting with three fish in his well for about 11 pounds.

As soon as we pull up he boats a 4-7 and he’s just finished his limit with another solid 3-8.

He’s all of the sudden at 19 pounds and change with a lot of day left. He may have just assured his presence in the final.

The hurtful part is he has a 2-pounder in the well and lost a 5-pounder before we got here.

He will be one to watch the rest of the day. Weidler said he caught two 6-pounders here in practice. So some giants live in this area.

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Frank Talley gets it going

Frank Talley has had a slow start to Day 3. This morning he returned to Anchor Bay, where he caught 22-10 yesterday. That’s the largest bag he has weighed in during his Elite Series career. Granted this is just his sophomore season on the tour.

Talley began the day in 10th place. So far he has a 1-pounder and a 2.8 pounds in his livewell.

Talley is cranking and believes he needs a little wind to activate his bite. Predictions are for 5 to 10 mph winds by 11 a.m.

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Yelas looking to be consistent

Jay Yelas has just kept catching and adding ounces. A few minutes ago he landed a 4-pounder that shot him at least a 1 1/2 pounds.

He now has about 15 pounds and continues to wade through the fish.

That big fish came after a move back to where he started this morning.

He’s now moving off the whole area and letting it rest. He’s in the stronger current now, fishing in the middle of the walleye guys. He’s sticking with his power baits, mostly a bladed jig and a spinnerbait. But we’ve seen him pick up a spy bait once or twice. But it’s mostly chinking and winding.

One of his spinnerbaits has chartreuse blades on it. It looks like school bus running through this clear water. But it works.

He knows he has to catch four more in that 4-pound range to stick around and have a shot tomorrow.

I heard him say that he’s only hooked into two that were in the 5-pound range in this event and during practice. Those would be a blessing today or tomorrow but he’s not counting on those. Instead he’s looking for the consistent value of 20 pound sacks to get him there.

Don't count out Hollen

Cody Hollen just put a smallmouth weighing 3 pounds, 8 ounces into the livewell. In the big scheme of things that's not the 4-pounders needed to fill out a quality limit. But there could be more to come later in the day.

Hollen is on the same starter spot where he's began fishing the last two days. He told me it's good until about 10:30 a.m. Hollen had 18 pounds in his livewell when he left the spot at that time on Friday.

The good news is that Hollen has two other spots with high potential. Yesterday he made a brief stop at one area and culled up with a couple of 4 pounders. He also has another spot that produces best later in the afternoon. That area gave up a 5 pounder for another angler yesterday.

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