Earlier, Steve Bowman said that statistics "don't amount to a hill of beans" at this tournament. I have a lot of respect for Steve and his knowledge of professional fishing, but I'll disagree with him about that.
You might be interested to know that this tournament stacks up pretty normally ... statistically speaking.
Here are some numbers that tell the story of the tournament:
(A) The bassing average (number of bass brought to the scales each day by the average angler) is 3.9429 — the lowest of the season at any venue. Historically, the Elite Series pros have a bassing average of a little better than 4.5. Anytime it drops below 4, you know the fishing is tough, and tough fishing tells us other things. For one, it allows for big swings on the leaderboard, but mostly in the downward direction. An angler has a limit (five bass) one day and only two or three bass the next is going to fall ... a long way. Because the bass are not very big (we'll get to that in a moment), there aren't many opportunities to jump up on the leaderboard.
(B) And the bass aren't very big here. The biggest was 5-10, which is a terrific smallmouth but it doesn't offer a lot of opportunity for a big swing in the leaderboard unless you have four or five that size. The average bass this week weighs almost 2-12, which, again, isn't bad (especially for smallmouth), but it's below average for an Elite Series event. When the fishing's tough and the bass aren't very big, it's a recipe for big drops in the standings, but not any big rises. That's why none of the Top 12 were lower than 24th after two days. The leader has changed every day, but all three anglers who have led this event are still in the Top 4. Not much is changing, no matter what some people want you to believe.
(C) Keep your eyes on BASSTrakk, but know that today's champion started the day in the Top 4. I'd give Palaniuk and JVD together about an 85 percent chance of taking home the hardware. Martens and Rojas are the only other anglers with any shot at all. Below them, the guys are fighting for points and a better payday; I don't see any of them winning. Yes, there's a real chance that one of the Top 4 will bomb today and fall back, but one of them is going to win. Bet on it!