J.Lee on a Classic climb?

The 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic may have left a bad taste with Brent Ehrler — who lost after the final day right across the way on Lake Conroe — when Jordan Lee caught 27-4 on Championship Sunday.

Brent Ehrler has a limit for 9-3, keeping the lead from Lee by 4-2.

Ehrler just boated another cull, but Lee just landed a 7-14 giant in the past few minutes to add up to 19-15 this morning. By the looks of BASSTrakk, J-Lee has caught the most fish this morning as well with 8-fish total already culling out 4 pounds, 3 ounces of Rayburn largemouth.

It will take a day much like the Classic for Lee to catch up with Ehrler, in fact heavier. Lee does still have room after the quick start with a 2-4 and a 2-12 still in his best five.

He’s being sneaky, after eclipsing nearly 14-pound lead at the Classic, what’s another pound?

Time will tell, but as we and Brent Ehrler know, never count out Jordan Lee.

More nightmare than dream

Brandon Palaniuk was hoping for a hotter start than this. He just looked our way and said, "This is not exactly the action-packed start I dreamed about last night."

But he's still smiling.

Ehrler makes a move

Brent Ehrler spent his morning working an area that had treated him well all week long and putting him in a position to take a win on Championship Sunday. He was able to catch a limit of Sam Rayburn bass, but wasn't able to catch a bigger fish in the 4-5lb range that he had been able to previously pull out of that area. Ehrler has made a small move and seems emotionally and mentally positive. He is staying focused and knows it's going to take every ounce of concentration to fight off Brandon Palaniuk. 

Jones Jr

After a slower than usual start, a wise adjustment yields Jones Jr. two good ones in a row.  He now has 3 on the score card.

Photo by Texas Fest Judge Gwen Reed

Palaniuk with no. 3

He went an hour between bites, but Brandon Palaniuk has put his third bass on the scorecard - a 2-2.

"They're going to have to get bigger, but this will do for now," he said. "They're not eating that big worm this morning," he added, about the fish which came on a neko-rigged finesse worm.

Palaniuk's total is now 8-15.

Toyota folks watching Swindle

Nothing like the boss watching you on the job. Megan Jolly, Engagement Marketing Planner at Toyota watches Gerald Swindle on the water.

Megan Jolly and Kendell Callaway, Senior Account Executive at Dynamic Sponsorships are enjoying the day on Sam Rayburn watching one of their pros compete. 

Swindle playing 'small ball'

Gerald Swindle has just moved from 12th to 6th place in the BASSTrakk standings. There is something special about that move.

Recently in a speech the two-time Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year said he won the title last year “playing small ball.”

Swindle, who played high school baseball, was referring to playing the fundamentals of baseball really well. Hitting, throwing, running the bases. Nothing fancy or complex. No hero type moves. No trick plays.

That is exactly what Swindle is doing this week on Sam Rayburn.

“Nothing special, just basic stuff,” he told me. When he did there was a vibrating jig tied to the end of his line. He’s used it all week, just fishing the lure over the tops of hydrilla in 3-6 feet of water.

Stacked Top 12 at Rayburn

1. Brandon Palaniuk
- 3rd Top 12 of the Year (12th at Cherokee, 5th at Toledo Bend, Currently leading at Sam Rayburn)
- 17th in Angler of the Year before Sam Rayburn (Unofficially in 6th in AOY)
- Regular Season finishes (12th, 105th, 5th, 18th, currently 1st at Sam Rayburn)
- 2 Career Bassmaster wins (2012 at Bull Shoals, 2013 at St. Lawrence River)

2. Brent Ehrler
- Finished 3rd at the 2017 Geico Bassmaster Classic at Lake Conroe
- 1st Top 12 of Regular Season
- 31st in Angler of the Year before Sam Rayburn (Unofficially in 15th in AOY)
- 2017 Regular Season finishes (68th, 29th, 17th, 58th, currently 2nd at Sam Rayburn)
- 2015 Rookie of the Year

3. Hank Cherry
- 1st Top 12 of the year
- 2017 Regular Season finishes (24th, 32nd, 67th, 38th, currently 3rd at Sam Rayburn)
- 24th in Angler of the Year before Sam Rayburn (Unofficially 12th in AOY)
- 2013 Rookie of the Year

4. Jacob Wheeler
- 3rd Top 12 of the Year (1st at Cherokee, 10th at Toledo Bend, currently 4th at Sam Rayburn)
- 2017 Regular Season finishes (1st, 61st, 10th, 53rd, currently 4th)
- 2 Career Bassmaster wins (2014 at Chickamauga, 2017 at Cherokee)

5. Jason Christie
- 2nd Top 12 of 2017 (2nd at Toledo Bend, currently 5th at Sam Rayburn)
- 2017 Regular Season finishes (14th, 42nd, 2nd, 27th, currently 5th)
- Leading Toyota Angler of the Year (Led by 4 points, unofficially leads by 34 points)
- 4 Career Bassmaster wins (2013 Bull Shoals, 2014 Dardanelle, 2 Opens wins)

6. Greg Vinson
- 1st Top 12 of the year
- 2017 Regular Season finishes (109th, 107th, 81st, 31st, currently 6th)
- 1 Career Bassmaster win (2006 at Lake Martin)
- 102nd in Angler of the Year before Sam Rayburn (unofficially 80th in AOY)

7. Jason Williamson
- 2nd Top 12 of the year (8th at Okeechobee, currently 7th)
- 2017 Regular Season finishes (17th, 8th, 24th, 73rd, currently 7th)
- 9th in Angler of the Year before Sam Rayburn (unofficially 4th in AOY, 39 points behind)
- 2 Career Bassmaster wins (2009 Lake Amistad and 2010 Clarks Hill)

8. Alton Jones Jr.
- 1st career Elite Series Top 12
- 2017 Regular Season finishes (25th, 33rd, 103rd, 100th, currently 8th)
- 82nd in Angler of the Year before Sam Rayburn (unofficially 53rd in AOY)
- 1 Career Bassmaster win (2016 Open at Red River)

9. Jordan Lee
- 2017 Geico Bassmaster Classic Champion
- 1st Elite Series Top 12 of the year
- 2017 Regular Season finishes (16th, 38th, 38th, 62nd, currently 9th)
- 2013 Carhartt College Series Bracket Champion
- 21st in Angler of the Year before Sam Rayburn (unofficially 11th in AOY)

10. Cliff Crochet
- 1st Top 12 of the year
- 2017 Regular Season finishes (44th, 100th, 68th, 44th, currently 10th)
- 80th in Angler of the Year before Sam Rayburn (unofficially 50th in AOY)
- 1 Career Bassmaster win (2016 Open at Atchafalaya Basin)

11. Kelley Jaye
- 1st Career Elite Series Top 12
- 54th in Angler of the Year before Sam Rayburn (unofficially 33rd in AOY)
- 2017 Regular season finishes (51st, 60th, 41st, 67th, currently 11th)

12. Gerald Swindle
- 2016 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year (2-time Angler of the Year)
- 1st Top 12 of the year
- 2017 Regular Season finishes (26th, 63rd, 20th, 83rd, currently 12th)
- 40th in Angler of the Year before Sam Rayburn (unofficially 26th)
- 1 Career Bassmaster win (2011 Open at Kissimmee Chain)

Jones digs one out

Alton Jones Jr is all smiles after digging this out of the grass. Caught on a Booyah Popping Pad Crasher, this healthy fish weighed 5 pounds 8 ounces and but was under 21", so it won't get a free ride to Lufkin today.

It's topwater time

Brandon Palaniuk is now throwing his third main bait of the week - a Storm Arashi Top Walker. The wind has suddenly picked up and the sky is growing darker here. Palaniuk still has two bass on the scorecard totaling 6-13.

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