Doubling up

We're driving south, hoping to intersect Day 1 leader Brandon Palaniuk. Along the way, we spot Todd Faircloth and Chris Zaldain, on opposite sides of their shared underwater target. A long cast from one would land in the other's boat. Just as we pull up for Overstreet to take a string of photos, Zaldain sets the hook on a bass. Before he can swing it aboard, Faircloth whips a bow in his rod. A double. Zaldain's keeper goes in the livewell; Faircloth's isn't big enough to keep.

 


I'm sure Faircloth and Zaldain would prefer not having to share the spot.

 


Overstreet thanked the fishermen for putting on a show for the camera (look for his photo gallery this afternoon on bassmaster.com) and signaled for our driver to move on down the lake. Along the way, I checked BASSTrakk, which has Faircloth in the lead, and Zaldain in third. "You mean we were on two of the top three guys in the tournament, and we left them?" Overstreet said, shaking his head.

 


Not far past that pair on the eastern shore is Greg Hackney, who's second in the unofficial, up-to-the-minute standings and first in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler if the Year race. Hackney has four bass weighing about 15 pounds so far. He's got plenty of room to upgrade, but he hasn't caught a bass in over an hour.

 


Like everyone else on this side of the lake, Hackney is fishing a long cast from the shore, where it's 8-12 feet deep and rocky. Byron Velvick is a half-mile up the lake from here, and Kevin VanDam, struggling to make the 50-cut today, is a couple miles farther up.