Jones strikes again

Alton Jones appears to have reclaimed the lead from Seth Feider on this Championship Sunday of the Plano Bassmaster Elite at the Mississippi River presented by Favorite Fishing. The short, fat largemouth he just brought in weighed 3 pounds. That was heavier than it looked, so he weighed it again just to be sure. It culled a 2-5.

His 61-3 is just ahead of Feider's 61-1, if BASSTrakk is to be believed. Note that Feider's 19-plus string Friday was almost 2 pounds heavier than the BASSTrakk estimate for him.

"I'm a 5-pounder away from being in the thick of things," Jones said. If he doesn't catch a 5, Steve Bowman pointed out, this tournament may end in a tie. A fish-off would determine the winner.

Grandad Bluff

B.A.S.S. Senior Tournament Director Trip Weldon just sent in this photo with a note about his thoughts on this day of remembrance: 

"High atop Grandad Bluff overlooking La Crosse. Thinking about all of our active duty men and women in our armed forces, our veterans, and all of our first responders across this great nation."

Your B.A.S.S. family thanks you for your service and sacrifice for our freedom. You are the reason we are able to do what we love every day. God bless you all.

Feider locking down

After getting his limit fish, Seth Feider decided to run up river. After about a mile, he met a barge headed down river and made an immediate about face to the lock.

We're not sure of his plans yet, but as soon as we get to where we're going, we'll update you.

Prepare for launch.

Howell on the board

Randy swings in his first keeper for the day.

Photo by Bassmaster Marshal Nate Koxlien

Another ounce or two

The fish continue to congregate around the dike Alton Jones is camped on. He just culled again, replacing a 2-7 with a 2-9. That should upgrade is daily limit to 13-10. For some reason we can't access Bassmaster.con out here in the hinterlands, so we don't know where Jones stands on the BASSTrakk leaderboard.

Another cast or two later, Jones reared back on a fish he knew would help him greatly. It wasn't until he worked the fish to boat side that he discovered it was a 4-pound drum. "That's the first non-bass I've caught all week," he said.

Jones further described his "Rock Box" hole for us. It's the edge of a dike where current flows around the corner. He said the perfect cast scrapes rocks on the left side. Most times he either gets a bite or hangs up. Good thing his sponsor keeps him well supplied in jigs.

Page views

It's a keeper

That makes 14 for Casey Ashley.

Photo by Bassmaster Marshal Steve Huston 

Page views

Post front pain

Today we'll learn a lesson from the pros about post-front fishing, undeniably the toughest time to go bass angling. Today is a perfect example for weekenders to learn from the pros.  

Alton Jones is leading based on the strength of his area already accuratly described in this blog post by my career mentor, Dave Precht. Jones has caught at least 30 bass in the last hour of the competition. A textbook breakline and ambush point with abundant baitfish ease the pain for the post-front bass in his area. Those bass have everything they need for now: comfort food and habitat. 

What's not so comforting is the report from Steve Bowman, who is with Jones. He just reported a massive barge is headed upriver to the lock chamber. Now Jones is faced with a crucial decision about getting through the lock in time for weigh in. 

Meanwhile, Seth Feider is hanging tough with his pattern. It's relatively unaffected by the post-front conditions because Feider made a wise post-front decision. He moved deeper and discovered the best success happens when his drop shot or Carolina rig makes contact with subtle areas of rock on his targeted sandbars. 

Jordan Lee's area is going cold as he predicted. 

"I knew this would happen because I've hit 'em hard for the last four days," he said. 

Lee, as we already know, has focused on a reaction strike with a topwater frog. He wisely made that choice knowing how well the pattern would produce during the crucial first few days of the tournament.