Alexander finessing

Greg Alexander caught his fish this morning in the same bay that produced much of his catch over the first two days, but not the water has dropped out, and "the fish are freaking out like I am freaking out," he told Andy Crawford.

No longer able to access his best spots, he has moved toward the ma on channel and is taking a more finesse-oriented approach, even though he surely knows he needs a kicker to keep things interesting.

Of course, he doesn't know that several members of the top ten are struggling.

Palaniuk low on time

Andy Crawford is focused on Brandon Palaniuk, who had missed two bites in the spit that made his day yesterday. One of the missed fish was big.

Unfortunately, with the tide 50 minutes later today he may not get to make it work. Even though there is plenty of current there all of the time, the low tide he needs won't come until 1230 and he needs to leave at 1 to make it back by 2.

Late and later

Andy Crawford suspects that we may see some flip flopping on the leaderboard today based on boat order. He hasn't seen a fish catch since midmorning, despite being in prime territory.

For much of the year low tide is critical here, but with many fish up spawning they like a "roof" over their heads. They may be most accessible, particularly on cypress, when the water is up, and for those on the Chickahominy that won't occur until late.

Anglers with 5 p.m. check-ins have the leisure of time to make something happen, so expect some late-afternoon heroics.

Ike working the tide on the James

Mike Iaconelli has an enviable record on tidal water in general — remember the win on the Delaware in 2014? — and the James River in particular. In six past Bassmaster Opens here, he's finished in the top four on four occasions, including a victory in 2019. The worst he's finished was 36th in 2017. It's like money in the bank. Entering Day 2 of competition today he sat in 26th place with 15 pounds even, just 1-15 out of the Top 10. A lot of dominoes may have to fall for him to make it to Day 3, but he has a healthy start on that process.

Andy Crawford ran into Ike on the Chickahominy and saw him catch one fish over 2 pounds and another over 4. Ike reported that the outgoing tide will be low at 11 a.m. — but it's already out far enough that he couldn't get where he wanted to go and had to switch gears to something more low-water-friendly. Apparently the one-two punch is working, which is good because he has an early weigh-in time today and won't get to see high-water conditions in this area.

He said that the fish are in all three phases of the spawn, most of them prespawn and spawning, but a few already done. That gives him options, and few anglers are better able to put together a gameplan of disparate elements than the 2003 Bassmaster Classic champ from Jersey.

Closing time

As the day progresses and the tide bottoms out, photographer Andy Crawford is starting to see a lot of movement. It could be anglers trying to fill out a limit or add a kicker but time is running short for some of them.

Trait culling

Andy Crawford is within sight of a number of anglers, but Trait Zaldain is the one who has grabbed his attention. She is steadily culling up all morning. Could this be the event where she breaks through?

Waiting in line

Heading to the James River for the Bassmaster Northern Open from Northern Virginia, but I needed gas first.

Update by Chris Underwood