Dave Mercer gives us a midday leaderboard report from Toledo Bend.
Current leader John Murray's margin over second place Jason Christie is 5 pounds, 11 ounces, according to BASSTrakk. That difference can be explained in one word - girth. Murray's bass haven't spawned and Christie's have.
"There's a blue million of them where I'm fishing, but I just don't know if they're the right ones," Christie said yesterday. "The bad thing is they're spawned out. I'm catching four-pound fish, but they weigh three pounds. They're bellies are upside down."
Hartman has found the wind all the other anglers are dealing with. After spending most of the morning in the back of Mill Creek where the water was as calm as glass, he's moved out to the mouth of Six Mile, where it's much more bumpy.
It doesn't help that he's fishing right in the middle of the boat lane and Sunday morning traffic has been consistent. He's throwing a drop shot on a submerged bridge here.
And will soon move to the back, or at least toward the back of this creek.
Unofficially in the lead John Murray battles the wind on the main lake in search of another giant to add to his limit. With plenty of time still left to cull John stays focused on presenting his baits in the right ways despite the gusts from the south.
Murray has upgraded. This could get ugly by the end of the day, Murray still has a 2-pound fish and one just over a pound in his livewell. Fishing prespawn fish north of Pendleton Bridge, Murray has reportedly lost fish of the caliber he has caught this morning each day of the tournament.
7:32 a.m.: 2-0
7:47 a.m.: 6-0
7:48 a.m.: 8-0
8:48 a.m.: 1-3
9:29 a.m.: 4-11
BASSTrakk total: 21-14
John Murray started the day in 3rd place and landed two big Toledo largemouth early on Championship Sunday.
Jason Christie has been saving the story about how he caught the 9-pound, 10-ounce bass on Day 1. It remains the big bass of the tournament and has been the key to Christie's success this event. It's quite a story, which has its roots in Christie's Native American heritage. The Park Hill, Okla., resident is sponsored by the Cherokee Nation.
"My family is Indian, and we believe in things happening for a reason," Christie said Saturday. "There's these little signs and stuff. The first morning of practice I put my boat in the water and I'm idling. I don't have a rod on the deck. All of the sudden a 2 1/2-pounder jumps out of the water and lands in my lap. It absolutely scared the heck out of me. I didn't know if it was a cottonmouth or a gator or what.
"I hollered at Edwin (Evers) and showed him. He said he thought that might have been a sign. I came back the second day when I had a few minutes left to fish. I caught a 3-pounder, then a 4 1/2. I'm like, 'There's some fish in here. And one jumped in my lap that hasn't been hooked yet.
"So I decided to start (Day 1) there and catch me a limit. I go there and catch a 14-incher. Then I catch a 3-pounder."
Christie's third bass of the morning came next - the 9-10. He pointed to an object backstage, maybe 15 feet away, and said, "It was no further than that from where that 2 1/2 pounder jumped in my lap and where I caught that 9-10.
"It shouldn't have been where it was, I promise you. I guarantee you can fish there every day and I don't think you'll catch a 6-pounder, much less a 9-10."
Now you know....the REST of the story.
Hartman made a semi-short move a few minutes ago. At least long enough to get out of sight.
While we stowed our gear and idled around the corner, he caught his fourth. We didn't see it, but the gang of spectators filled us in.
They think it was a 2-pounder. Big enough to not measure. But not big enough to have some fanfare with it. That should give him somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 to 13 pounds. Probably closer to the later.
That keeps him in neck-and-neck status with the guys at the top of the standings. And it appears as if we are headed to an incredible finish.
Unpacking tackle and transferring it from truck to boat was the first order of business for the Top 12. Jason Christie was the exception.
Christie parked his Toyota Tundra, opened the tailgate and pulled out a prop.
“It’s time to go Lake Erie on it,” he said, while adding torque to a prop wrench.
Christie switched to a 28-pitch prop to his Mercury outboard. The bigger prop gives the motor more bite for better boat control in the rough water.
“I meant to change it last night,” he added.
Yesterday Christie struck a wave so hard that it briefly knocked the wind out of him.
Brandon Palaniuk started the final day of the Toledo Bend Elite Series event with a major flurry. He caught his limit in the first five minutes of his fishing day and proceeded to catch 12 to 15 fish in 45 minutes.