Blaylock starts quick

Stetson Blaylock has started his morning in quick fashion.

Once again not long after arriving, Blaylock has hooked into his first keeper. This one is a bit above 2-pounds, which will take care of the margin between him and Lee Livesay.

Now he has to make sure his next four outweigh those five.

Let’s give 'em a show

Austin Felix fires a nice shot across the bow to start the day! This three-pounder brought a lot of grass with him to the boat but the 13 Fishing Pro didn’t mind.

“Let’s give’em a show today,” said the Bassmaster Elite Series rookie who is noticeably more loose today in the boat than yesterday.

The early gamble to fish for a big bite just might pay off for Felix.

Huff's ancient frog

Andy Crawford, James Overstreet and myself busted out laughing when Mike Huff showed us the frog he is using to cast for $100,000. We were gathered up at the Dayton Boat Dock Ramp to take the top lures photos and the launch gallery.

"I've had it about 10 years and I don't even know the brand," he said.

Whatever works. Huff is using the battle-worn frog today, and he's not traveled far from the launch site. He's staying there for the next 20 minutes and then plans to make the long run up the Hiwassee River, where the frog and other baits will get into the action.

Those baits are a 3/8-ounce Cumberland Pro Lures Caster Jig, with a Berkley PowerBait Power Hawg trailer. He is also using the same bait on a 3/0 Berkley Fusion19 Heavy Cover Hook, with a 1.5-ounce weight.

“We’re going to swing for the fence today!”

Austin Felix looked put me on notice. As we arrived at our first stop of the morning, the Minnesota rookie added, “Let’s see what kind of chaos we can get in to.”

Fishing in the area that he finished yesterday, Felix has the frog rod in his hand and is looking for a big bite early.

It's official now: Mullins leads AOY

As is frequently noted to prevent confusion, Angler of the Year points aren't earned until a tournament ends. AOY points are based solely on an angler's place in the final standings. However, the tournament has ended now for Clark Wendlandt, Cory Johnston and David Mullins, who were first, second and third, respectively, after Santee Cooper.

David Mullins, the 38-year-old Mt. Carmel, Tenn., angler, will be the AOY leader going into the final tournament of the season at Lake Fork in November. Mullins finished 18th yesterday and has 623 points. Wendlandt and Johnston missed the top 40 cut and finished 81st and 67th respectively. Wendlandt is now third, 16 points behind Mullins, and Johnston dropped to 7th, 39 points back of Mullins.

Elite Series rookie Austin Felix, 36, from Eden Prairie, Minn., is second in AOY points based on his making the top 10 cut today. He'll have 613 AOY points if he finishes 10th today. Theoretically, he could tie Mullins with 623 points provided he wins the tournament. But he's starting the day 13 pounds, 10 ounces behind leader Lee Livesay.

Today's top 10 final at Chickamauga could have some bearing on the Elite Series Rookie of the Year race. Felix has a 20-point lead over Kyle Welcher based on the Day 3 standings. Welcher, Felix and Bill Lowen tied for 9th place in the Day 3 standings, so 9th through 11th place were decided by the tiebreaker - biggest one-day bag. Welcher had 14-9 on Day 2, Felix had 14-1 on Day 2 and Lowen's big bag was 10-7 on Day 1.

Felix has expressed his desire to win the Rookie of the Year title, saying, "You only get one chance to win Rookie of the Year."

Is this a two-man race?

Only three anglers have caught five-bass limits all three days in the Guaranteed Rate Elite at Chickamauga Lake. And two of them are at the top of the leaderboard, separated by 1 pound, 15 ounces. Lee Livesay weighed 16-13 Sunday to take the lead with a total of 43-0. Day 2 leader Stetson Blaylock had 13-0 for a three-day total of 41-1.

It appears to be a two-man race for this title Monday. However, this is Chickamauga, known for its big bass, and Mike Huff gave another indication of what's possible here, even in this tough fall transition period. The second-year pro from Corbin, Ken., caught the second biggest bag of the tournament, 19-1, to jump from 33rd place to 3rd with 38-0, five pounds behind Livesay. Jake Whitaker is the only other angler to catch a limit each day. He's 5-13 back with 37-3.

Dock bite lights up

And just like the flip of a light switch, Jake Whitaker's dock bite has lit up. He just boated his fifth keeper, a clutch 2 pounder, that most certainly puts him in contention for the win on Championship Monday. He's about 4 1/2 pounds behind leader Lee Livesay. 

Whitaker's best area of the marina is concentrated in three boat slips over 8 feet of water. He remains uncertain what the attractant to the slip is, but it's accounted for most of his fish. 

What's interesting is how well Whitaker has the details of his bite dialed in. He discovered the baitfish are swimming in the shade cast by the roof of the marina slips. They get nabbed when swimming near the boat slips and walkways being used by largemouth as ambush points.

Job well done.

Sigh of relief for Felix

No sooner did we hit send on the last blog talking about hard times for Felix, the Siteline Pro set the hook on a near three pounder and brought it to the boat. This seemed to breathe some new life in Felix and hes working on number three.

Felix is frogging

With one keeper fish in the boat for about two pounds, Austin Felix has picked up the frog and started slinging it across the grass. Felix knows one fish isn’t going to punch his ticket for Championship Monday and he know that as stingy as Chickamauga has been this week, he’s not likely to bring a limit of five to the stage with just over an hour left to fish.

Much like the situation Chad Pipkens was in yesterday when he capped his day off with a 7-11, the Elite Series Rookie is going to have to land a big bite or the clock may strike twelve on his derby.

I would imagine the thought of being second place in Bassmaster Angler of the Year points as well as the current leader in Rookie of the Year points is weighing on the young angler but there’s still time on the clock for Felix.

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