Mosley has caught 20 bass today

The fun and the fish just keep coming for Brock Mosley today. No one has caught more fish - he had 23 yesterday and 20 today, so far - nobody has burned less gas,and nobody has had more fun than Mosley.

"I've been running no more than about 10 miles a day," Mosley said Saturday.

As we've noted, he's not going to win. But he's probably going to finish third, the way it looks now on BASSTrakk. He's got almost 19 pounds on the unofficial scoreboard, and I'll bet he tops 20 pounds when the weights become official. Not bad for a guy who was just hoping to finish in the top 40 when this tournament started, and less than confident of doing that.

Wendlandt searches for bites

Clark Wendlandt just passed check-point Cape Vincent and is well on his way to making it on time for check in.

Like the other two he was more crawling than running. The wind helped with a few troughs and he made it through easily. 

All three of our lake guys displayed pretty awesome boating skills. 

Now Wendlandt needs to get back on his angling skills. He’s still in 6th place with three fish total. A limit will likely move him a spot, maybe two. He’s got about 30 to 45 minutes to make it happen.

Valuable AOY points for Wendlandt

We are sitting at check-point Cape Vincent waiting to see Clark Wendlandt come through.

He started the day in 4th place and in the lead of the AOY race. Yesterday he had a 19-point lead over Buddy Gross. 

Today he could lose some of those points. Currently he’s in 6th place according to BassTrakk. If that stays the same after weigh in Buddy Gross will have gained two points and the differential will be 17 points. 

It’s still early in the season. But points are critical all year long.  You never want to give up anything. 

If Wendlandt drops anymore Gross edges closer a point for every place Wendlandt falls. 

Wendlandt might wait until the very last second to leave in most events.  But with AOY being a factor he can ill afford to lose ground he’s gained.

Palaniuk in the dirt

Brandon Palaniuk is fishing out of Cape Vincent - and he’s fishing very shallow.

But that doesn’t mean he’s on the bank. Instead he’s on a shoal that’s covered by only about 3 feet of water. 

The river is wicked rough, but oddly it looked smoother over the shoal. Not flat, mind you, but it’s not the 4-footers sloshing around I’m the deeper water. 

BASSTrakk shows home with a single 1 1/2-pounder, but he just missed another fish.

Mueller pulls the plug

Following Steve Wright’s prediction earlier in the blog, Mueller knew when to pull the plug. 

At just a few minutes before 1 p.m., Mueller passed check-point Cape Vincent. 

Looked to be going about 15-miles per hour, crawling over these waves and slipping through. He’s about an hour earlier than I expected our first arrival. Not too far behind him is Johnston, also crawling and busting through. 

They are back to the river now. Clark Wendlandt is the only angler on the lake who remains.

But he shouldn’t have any issues either. These waves are big and nasty. But our previous anglers know how to traverse them. 

They may be wet and hurting a bit. But at this moment apparently unscathed. 

Wendlandt is an old hand at this so we don’t expect any issues for him.

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Mueller knows when to quit

Paul Mueller knew yesterday, when looking at the wind forecast on his SailFlow app, that he'd probably have to leave Lake Ontario earlier than he wanted today. He was hoping he could catch what he needed in two or three hours, then move to the more protected waters of the St. Lawrence River.

"You never know here," Mueller said. "The wind gets to blowing here and it turns evil. I've seen it go in 15 minutes from okay to oh, boy. I think later in the day, none of that stuff is going to be fishable."

Well, it's getting later in the day, and it's rough out there. Mueller doesn't have what he needs, according to BASSTrakk, which shows him trailing Chris Johnston by 1-5 at 12:45 p.m.

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Bumpy ride

We are back at Cape Vincent. All the boats have to pass us on their way in. These are easily 5-footers washing across here.

I say “washing” because they aren’t really rollers. Rollers are typically spread out more. These guys are close together, which means finding a trough to ride part of the way may not happen. 

Plus the direction of these waves are going to create a much wetter ride.  Going into them you can keep your nose up and work through it. Going with them, especially when they are close together it makes for a certainty of spearing a wave. 

That’s where equipment starts to take a toll. The ride will be bumpy for sure.

Mosley feeling on top of the world

Brock Mosley is not going to win this tournament. But no one has had more fun than the 31-year-old pro who became a father for the second time on Wednesday. It's all so unlikely. Mosley might be from Collinsville, Miss., but he does know something about smallmouth bass fishing. His two second-place finishes on the Elite Series have been at the St. Lawrence River and Lake St. Clair where he was catching smallmouth bass. 

But with his wife, Leslie, about to and then giving birth back home, Mosley never got his head in the smallmouth game this week. As he put it, "I went largemouth fishing just to clear my head."

"I was struggling that bad," Mosley said. "I thought maybe I could catch 14, 15 pounds a day and survive, get some (Angler of the Year) points and go to the next one. I was just trying to survive. I was just trying not to bomb."

Mosley did catch a couple of smallmouths this week, including a 6-pounder on Day 1. Then he took big bass honors Saturday with a 6-pound, 10-ounce largemouth. That's just one more star in his unlikely crown this week. 

"I might go the rest of my career and never catch a six-pound smallmouth and a six-pound largemouth in the same tournament." Mosley said. 

And unlike the two guys battling it out for the title on a rocking-and-rolling Lake Ontario this week, Mosley has had a large following of fans who have seen him fishing in front of their docks and come out to say hello. Someone even delivered a couple of sandwiches to his boat this morning. 

"The people around here are awesome," Mosley said. "I don't know how many came running down the bank and said, hey, we're watching you on TV. Props to everybody around here. They're extremely nice and welcoming." 

Mosley is hardly the first Elite Series angler to make the final day cut at the St. Lawrence River by concentrating on largemouth bass instead of smallmouths. It seems one or two guys do it every year. But Mosley's success seems like it was meant to be - an early gift from his newborn daughter, maybe.

"I'm just real grateful," Mosley said Saturday. "After the practice I had, I'm just glad to be here on Day 3, much less getting ready to go on Day 4."

And he's catching 'em again on Day 4. Mosley has 15 1/2 pounds and currently ranks third in the BASSTrakk standings.

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Putting it all on the line

Any way you slice it Chris Johnston and Paul Mueller have treated us to an incredible derby. 

Their back and forth all week has created a slugfest that could create 100 pounds of smallmouth. They’ve had a dozen lead changes the last few days. And they are putting it all on the line at this very moment. 

It’s easy to see this event will likely be won by one of those two. But it’s not that easy. 

The wind that forced many of our anglers off the lake this morning has just built in intensity. I can only imagine how bad it is on the lake.

Given that it won’t be long until the lake anglers should start heading back. But none of them are comfortable playing it safe. They will stay until the last minute. 

That means they will likely push it on the way back. That means equipment will be tested. A common occurrence on big water events in these parts is hydro-lock. It only takes a little water in an engine to shut it down.

Pushing it increase the odds of that. It’s not likely but possible. Not to mention all the other things that could go wrong.

These last few hours could have more drama than the rest of the week.

Wind and water

Being an advertising and action photographer, my job can sometimes be a little treacherous. Today it is wind and water!  Luckily I was paired one of the best local fishing guides, Dean Meckes,  which also happens to be an expert boat driver. When we got to the ramp, I looked at Dean and said, “What do you think”; and he said " well, we can give it a try, “so we did.  We first located Clark Wendlandt and after a few action shots, we headed over to Paul Mueller.  The wind is blowing over 20 mph which is creating some 6 footers plus.  I had no idea that anybody could actually fish in that, but Paul showed me you catch them in it too.