We're nearing the 10-minute mark of fishing in Day 1 of the Classic Bracket and Adrian Avena is running and gunning with 4 fish. Avena picked up two recently, after sorting through a few pike. He has now run across the lake to what has to be his last spot. Avena is looking for his fifth fish to out dual fellow New Jersey angler Mike Iaconelli.
Kevin VanDam talks about baits and strategies at the St. Lawrence River.
The crowd anxiously waits for Championship Sunday festivities. Will KVD win his 24th B.A.S.S. tournament?
Jamie Hartman's two-day jump in the St. Lawrence River standings has the potential to put him in a tie with Dustin Connell for first place in the Elite Series Rookie of the Year race. Hartman rallied from 30th place on Day 2 to make today's Top 12 cut in 11th place. BASSTrakk currently has him in third place today. If he holds that spot, Hartman would be tied with Connell with 527 AOY points this season.
Considering this rookie class, winning ROY is a significant accomplishment. Four rookies are well within the cutoff to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic. In addition to Connell and Hartman, Mark Daniels Jr. is 26th and Jesse Wiggins 29th in the AOY standings through three days at the St. Lawrence River.
"That was my goal, my biggest goal," said Hartman about the Rookie of the Year title. "Obviously, I'm up against a helluva field of rookies."
Really? He had ROY above making the Classic on his list of goals?
"I put it there to begin with just because I wanted to prove it to myself," Hartman said. "Making the Classic was a bonus to me because I assumed I'd make the Classic if I won Rookie of the Year."
Hartman, a New York native, will be at some advantage next week when the Elite Series moves to Lake Champlain.
"I've got a bunch of experience there, but I don't have much this time of year," Hartman said. "I've won four BFLs up there, but I've never won this time of year. I've never had a tournament there this time of year, and it's definitely going to be different."
Brock Mosley is fishing his second Championship Sunday of the season. The first was in familiar territory on Ross Barnett Reservoir in his home state of Mississippi.
Mosley's father was catching lots of smallmouth on Pickwick Lake using a Ned rig. He tossed some of the homemade rigs in his son's boat for the long trip to New York.
That began in late June when Mosley traveled to Oneida Lake site of Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Open #1. The rig helped Mosley finish 14th in the tournament.
Now, he's using it again. BASSTrakk shows Mosley in second place behind leader Kevin VanDam, which is very impressive considering the list of anglers behind them both.
Mosley is using other lures, too, and you can see them all early this week when mine and Garrick Dixon's Lures of the Top 12 gets published to Bassmaster.com.
In the meantime here are the details of what Mosley is using.
His finesse selection features a 4-inch Poor Boy's Tube inserted through the head a 3/8-ounce Poor Boy's Goby Profile Tube Jig Head. Mosley also makes a drop shot rig with a Netbait Contour Worm, 1/0 Gamakatsu Hook and 3/8-ounce weight. Key bites also came on a homemade 1/5-ounce homemade Ned Rig with a Yamamoto Senko.
The water's getting rough around Cape Vincent, where Brandon Palaniuk is fishing on Day 4 at the St. Lawrence River.
KVD may have just nailed the door shut on the rest of this field. He moved back to the area where he caught his big fish this morning and has caught another giant. This one is closer to 5 it appears from our vantage point. But that should push him real close to 25.
Doing the math. He has two big fish that will tip the scales around 11 to 12 pounds. Add a 4 1/2 pounder and two 4-pound class fish and you can see how fast they total up to that number.
BASSTrakk shows Kevin VanDam with 22 pounds, 4 ounces at 10:30 this morning. To repeat what he said upon landing the 6-plus-pounder earlier, "Wow."
And while we're repeating KVD's words, it's worth repeating what he said yesterday about his goal for today: "It's hard to catch 25 pounds here. So if I can catch 23 pounds, and I've two-pound lead..."
Kevin VanDam's lead over Jonathon VanDam was 2 pounds, 7 ounces going into today. BASSTrakk shows him with an 11-pound, 5-ounce lead now over second place Jamie Hartman. With a 3 p.m. check-in, there's a lot of time for KVD to put this tournament even further out of reach. You can bet he won't be ordering pizza. Brandon Palaniuk has the big bag of this tournament so far with 25-0. VanDam's already caught the big bass of the tournament today. No one will be surprised if he adds big bag to his accomplishments on Day 4.
BASSTrakk shows Brandon Palaniuk with 4 keepers in the livewell weighing 9 pounds, 8 ounces. We now have another update from photographer Garrick Dixon, who arrived at Cape Vincent as his colleague Seigo Saito departed the area.
Seigo and Garrick switched due to the slow fishing. It’s unknown whether or not the cloud cover has the bass scattered, or if the wind direction change is making fishing tougher for Palaniuk.
What he does know is the ride back will be time consuming. Palaniuk said this morning that he will spend two hours for the return trip. That will cut into his fishing time, but there isn’t much of a choice.
KVD is fishing like he smells blood in the water and he's starving to death.
That's the thing about him. Once he gets on top he's never content. He wants to put his foot on your neck and make it hurt.
I'm not saying he has this derby wrapped up. Lot of things could happen and I know Palaniuk has just boated a good one. But KVD will be hard to beat at this moment. He's just working on making it impossible.
I'm confident he has 22 pounds. That's with at least one 3-pounder left to bump and a lot of day left. And he's fishing like he's trying to come from behind.