Tak's Classic championship highlights

Newer bass fishing fans may need a reminder that Takahiro Omori is in fact a Bassmaster Classic winner. He claimed the title on North Carolina's Lake Wylie in July/August of 2004.

Much like his lightning-fast start on Wheeler yesterday, it took Omori only 27 minutes to catch three bass totaling near 10 pounds and clench the 2004 world bass fishing championship. His final weight of 39-2 secured the victory.

The anglers Omori beat out will be familiar to any modern fishing fan. The runner-up was Aaron Martens followed by Kevin VanDam, the 2001 Classic winner. Dean Rojas, the Classic leader heading into the last day, fell to fourth with Kelly Jordon claiming fifth.

Just 12 years earlier, Omori, a Tokyo-born angler, first came to the United States understanding hardly a word in English. He was the first non-American angler to ever claim a Classic title.

Klein putting in work

Gary Klein working hard for every ounce.

Photo by Bassmaster Marshal Doug Castro

Back to square one

We are back to square one. Lefebre has made his way back to Trinity Branch after making few cast in a creek further up the lake. 

Contrary to recent events, the Day 4 leader noticed Klein and Crochet and did not want to encroach on their area on Championship Sunday. Lefebre is now methodically flipping a massive lilly pad field with a black and blue jig, the same setup he's used most of the day. 

The pad field is right outside the covered-filled area he has been working the majority of the tournament. The field is situated on a flat adjacent to the creek channel allowing easy access for both postspawn and prespawn fish to roam. 

"The fish today have been skinnier today, they may be postspawners," Lefbre noted earlier in the day after boating a long lanky fish. BASSTrakk has him with close to 14-pounds with Takahiro Omori leading by 6-10.

A couple more culls and a nice kicker will make for an interesting weigh-in. 

Omori (non)update

Takahiro Omori's day fishing went from celebration to frustration. After the three misses, the only thing Omori has changed has been his location. We've hit three of his areas without a single bite.

The good news here is no one with any real shot of catching Omori has found anything new either.

John Crews topped 17 pounds but is still a long way away from contention. Dave Lefebre is just 6 pounds and ounces away, but his bite appears to be more tenuous than Omori's.

Simply put, we've gone from fishing competition to a waiting game, and Omori's loaded livewell definitely puts him in the driver's seat.

Another Kennedy upgrade

Steve Kennedy just upgraded again for the third time today,this one's a 3.75.

Photo by Bassmaster Marshal Dirk Goins

Crochet continues to upgrade

In spite of having to share his "juice" with the likes of Klein and Lefebre, Crochet finds a way to put quality upgrades in the boat.

Photo by Bassmaster Marshal Joe McElroy

Hackney enters 11 pound territory

Greg Hackney just upgraded with a 3 and a half pound bass. "I missed
the mark I was aiming for by two feet," he said. "But that one shot
out from a tree 10 feet away and just swallowed my jig." This fish
means he's getting close to 11 pounds for the day. "I should have 16
pounds now," he said, referring to two or three good bass he has lost.

"I came in today thinking if I had 15 pounds I could move up to 4th.
Now I'm just trying to salvage the day. Worst case scenario, I don't
want to fall back in AOY."

Lefebre update

On his last move, Lefebre jumped a few creeks over in the same vicinity as legend Gary Klein and Cliff Crochet. He's sticking to the same approach, mostly with a black and blue jig flipping and pitching trees and reeds. 

As the day gains on Lefebre he still has a few  upgrades that need to be made. 
After missing a few good fish in his main area in Trinity Branch, I would not be surprised if he let it rest and rotated back through before heading to the scales. 
The day is far from over and Lefebre is still confident with the way he is approaching the water.

Locals taking lessons

On previous days the local boat ramp in the area Lefebre has been working, has been a hotspot for local outdoors people. Today, they sit patiently and watch as Lefebre vies to bring home his first Elite Series title. 

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Swindle scrapping...again

Gerald Swindle had one little keeper in the boat at this time yesterday. Today he's got 12 pounds. The fact that Swindle was able to scrap his way into today's top 12 is a testament to his willingness to grind it out until the last minute every day this season. Swindle's early swimbait bite, which had been key to him being in 12th place after Day 2, completely dried up Saturday.

"I caught one at 6:45, and it was noon before I caught my second fish," Swindle said. "I caught a limit in about 45 minutes, but it was five that wouldn't weigh five pounds. I went into a pocket I hadn't fished since I was a kid in an aluminum boat. I just had a gut feeling to get a buzzbait out and get as far away from the bank as possible. Instead of throwing parallel to the bank, I wanted to see if the fish were way out in front of the bank.

"Five casts later I caught a three-pounder, and 20 minutes later I caught a 6-14. They were 30 yards off the bank out in the middle of nowhere."

That 6-14 matched Casey Ashley's from Day 1 for big bass of the tournament so far. Swindle weighed 13-14 Saturday to finish in eighth place. He's finished 40th or better in all four tournaments this season, and this is his second top 12. Swindle is fifth in Angler of the Year points entering the day.

"I haven't been on anything all year," Swindle said. "There's tournaments where you think you're on the winning fish if you can put it together. I haven't had one of those yet. I've literally made chicken salad out of chicken s**t in every tournament. But I'm learning more about fishing areas and not running around as much, not trying to burn 50 gallons of gas every day."