Dixie Duel Live Blog

Day Four - Lake Wheeler

3:11 p.m.

Anglers are starting to check in and as far as we can see, no big changes. But the weigh in always has a bunch of surprises. This one will be no different.


3:05 p.m.

Typically on the final day we start seeing anglers check in by now. Not today. There are too many Classic hopes riding on this along with the tournament.

Looks like these guys are going to take it to the final second.

--Steve Bowman

3:01 p.m.

Less than 15 mimutes left. All the boats are real close to check in. Any hope for last-second heroics is quickly dwindling. We've not seen any changes from the last update. Don't forget the Hooked Up show, going on right now.


2:53 p.m.

This will be our last update in the standings until after the weigh in. But we will continue to blog information if anything big, or cool, takes place.


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Place Angler Fish Day Four Total
1 David Walker 5 14-02 62-12
2 Ott Defoe 5 14-06 61-08
3 Bradley Roy 5 10-14 61-03
4 Kevin VanDam 5 13-03 60-15
5 Greg Hackney 4 11-09 58-03
6 Ish Monroe 5 11-00 56-01
7 Russ Lane 5 12-12 55-10
8 Timmy Horton 5 12-15 54-06
9 Kelly Jordon 4 10-01 53-11
10 Keith Poche 5 7-04 49-10
11 Takahiro Omori 5 8-08 48-08
12 Bernie Schultz 5 7-08 48-08


2:44 p.m.

We can see the GPS trackers on the final 12 boats and all but Kelly Jordon are close to the check-in. Jordon may be trying to milk every second for every ounce. he may need it.

--Steve Bowman

2:34 p.m.

As it has every day this week, Ott DeFoe's catches are starting to update as he gets nearer the weigh in. Right now we have with about 14-6, which puts him in second, just about a pound from Walker and a few ounces ahead of Bradley Roy.

Again, this is tight and way too close for comfort to make a call with about 40 minutes left to fish. Check-in is 3:15 p.m.

--Steve Bowman

2:31 p.m.

This tournament will be close. And in every tournament there are always those lost fish that sets up a whole bunch of "what ifs."

With that in mind you have to check out the latest video in BassCam.

It shows a fish fight that Walker fought today and it could very well have changed the outcome of this event.

-- Steve Bowman

2:25 p.m.

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Place Angler Fish Day Four Total
1 David Walker 5 14-02 62-12
2 Bradley Roy 5 10-14 61-03
3 Kevin VanDam 5 13-03 60-15
4 Ott Defoe 5 12-00 59-02
5 Greg Hackney 4 11-09 58-03
6 Ish Monroe 5 11-00 56-01
7 Russ Lane 5 12-12 55-10
8 Timmy Horton 5 12-15 54-06
9 Kelly Jordon 4 10-01 53-11
10 Keith Poche 5 7-04 49-10
11 Takahiro Omori 5 8-08 48-08
12 Bernie Schultz 5 7-08 48-08


2:22 p.m.

Bradley Roy just made a little move and a big one at the same time. He upgraded his weight to 11 pounds, and that slides him into second place, just a 1-9 off the pace.

There is some guesing that his stringer may be even a little heavier than that. Either way with the intricasies of BASSTrakk, this is quickly becoming too close to call.

--Steve Bowman

2:20 p.m.

If BASSTrakk is right, Kelly Jordon has fallen two places in the standings today -- from 7th to 9th. That will cost him 8 AOY points and move him down to 38th in the season standings. That might not seem like a lot, but it might be just enough to push him out of the 2012 Bassmaster Classic field.

These anglers will "double qualify:"

Kevin VanDam
Gerald Swindle
Edwin Evers
Davy Hite
Dean Rojas
Steve Kennedy
Casey Ashley
Denny Brauer

If Walker, DeFoe, Hackney, Monroe, Poche, Horton or Omori win today, they will also double qualify, giving us nine double qualifiers with five Opens to go. VanDam could triple qualify by winning, but that won't help anyone in the standings below him.

Jordon needs to have a strong finish today (moving up a couple of places) or hope that one of the potential double qualifiers wins and that another Elite angler who's already qualified for the Classic wins one of the remaining Opens.

Lots to think about; lots to figure out.

--Ken Duke

2:09 p.m.

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Place Angler Fish Day Four Total
1 David Walker 5 14-02 62-12
2 Kevin VanDam 5 13-03 62-10
3 Greg Hackney 4 11-09 62-10
4 Bradley Roy 5 9-06 59-11
5 Ott Defoe 5 12-00 59-02
6 Ish Monroe 5 11-00 56-01
7 Russ Lane 5 12-12 55-10
8 Timmy Horton 5 12-15 54-06
9 Kelly Jordon 4 10-01 53-11
10 Keith Poche 5 7-04 49-10
11 Takahiro Omori 5 8-08 48-08
12 Bernie Schultz 5 7-08 48-08

-- Hank Weldon


2;06 p.m.

If David Walker can hang on and win this tournament (and it certainly looks like he can), I hope it stirs up some debate about who was the best angler never to win a B.A.S.S. event. A lot of votes would have gone to Gerald Swindle before he won the Southern Open on the Kissimmee Chain earlier this year. Now, a lot of people point to Walker as the best of the active pros who has never earned a trophy.

Personally (and I can back it up with plenty of numbers), I think the best who never won was an old school angler named Paul Chamblee, who fished BASS extensively back in the 1970s and hung it up in 1981. Back then, there were fewer tournaments, but in the 48 he fished, Chamblee finished in the top 12 a dozen times and made it to the Classic six times, nearly winning in 1975.

But enough of the old days, David Walker has a chance to get the monkey off his back today.

--Ken Duke

2:02 p.m.

From Timmy Horton's Marshal:

9:34 a.m. Timmy just finished catching his limit on a Bomber switchback shad.  He has about 13 pounds.

9:51 a.m. You ever wonder what Timmy Horton calls it when he catches two bass on a crankbait at the same time? Some of us call it doing a Timmy Horton. He just calls it a double.

10:36 a.m. Been running for the last 30 minutes and we're on the lower end right now.  Timmy is trying to find "a load" He's  taking a gamble.

Kelly Jordon's Marshal, Dan Shine:

9:37 a.m. KJ is tying on a Carolina Rig.  It is breezier today than yesterday. He is matching the rig with a Lake Fork Tackle creature bait.  The bait is light green almost chartreuse in color.  I hope is gets Big Momma or as Mercer say a JJJ giant bass!

10:14 a.m. KJ has moved to Spring creek.  Passed Russ Lane at the bridge. KJ then caught number four on the rig.  Thank goodness for the breeze.  My corns are starting to pop.

12:21 p.m. We are back to the morning starting spot. KJ just polished off his limit.

-- Hank Weldon

1:56 p.m.

Ken Duke speaks the truth on VanDam. He's not really slowed all day. He's caught about 30 keepers to this point and keeps whaling away. The last one was a 3-pound class fish, just minutes ago that gives him 13-3 and puts him 2-pounds out of the lead.

And as said earlier, he's notorious for sandbagging low on weights, so that could be much closer.

--Steve Bowman

1:55 p.m.

Some might think that Kevin VanDam's competitive fires are a little cooler today after taking the 2012 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year award yesterday. I don't think so, though. He's geared different from most (maybe different from all) and can redirect that drive in a hurry.

With AOY out of the way, he'll focus on winning this tournament. He knows two things: (1) He's won at least one Elite event every year since 2007 and he doesn't want that streak to end, and (2) you don't get a lot of chances to win at this level -- not even KVD.

This close to the trophy and the big check, KVD will turn up the heat again and push hard for the win. Yes, he already has the career wins record with 20 (as compared to Roland Martin's 19), but in ping pong and maybe even bass fishing you have to win by two, so he's going for it.

--Ken Duke

1:52 p.m.

Then there's Bradley Roy, unofficially tied with KVD and three pounds off the pace. I was on Roy yesterday afternoon and saw him catch several of his better fish late in the day. If that pattern continues, he'll make a race of this thing yet.

Yesterday, Ish Monroe left the area (they're fishing close enough to hit each other with a short pitch) in the early afternoon, leaving it all to Roy. I'm sure Bradley won't have any issues with Ish if he wants to leave early again. The area fishes very small, and any edge like that will benefit the last angler on the spot.

--Ken Duke

1:50 p.m.

Just like that, Hackney's cameraman says the fish was closer to 4-pounds. That puts him around 13 or 14 pounds, which also puts him about 3 pounds off the lead with KVD, Roy and DeFoe. But the 4-pounder shows us that things may be picking up.

--Steve Bowman

1:43 p.m.

BASSTrakk has been hazy at best today. But it still provides us with some interesting items.

For instance (and we are in the middle of verifying) Greg Hackney just recorded a 6-pound, 15 ounce lunker. That would be the largest bass of the tournament thus far if it's really close to that.

Either way, until we verify, Hackney has just jumped into 2nd place, just ounces behind Walker with a  "reported" lunker.

We'll work on getting verification, but as we expected someone would get something firing and looks like Hackney is puting together one of his famous Hack Attacks.

--Steve Bowman

1:39 p.m.

BASSTrakk has David Walker with 14-2 today. I wasn't there for all his catches, but I was there for all of the early keepers and the first few culls. His fish weren't long, but they were stocky, and DW was assigned pretty hefty weights to them. I'm skeptical about that nearly three pound average.

I haven't seen any of Ott DeFoe's catches today, but BASSTrakk has him at 13-6 and more than two pounds off the lead.

KVD allegedly has 12-9, but he's notorious for estimating low. Currently, he's estimated at about three pounds off the pace, but if his estimated weight is low (and I assure it is by about two pounds) and Walker's weight is high, we could have a dead heat here.

That's not hype, either. That's what I'm betting to find at weigh-in time.

--Ken Duke

1:32 p.m.

More from Walker on the crankbait bite today.

"For whatever reason, the reaction strike is what they want today," Walker said. "That crankbait crashing around down there is what does it. I've tried some slow moving baits and they don't want anything to do with it."

This is a good lesson to people that fish the same lake frequently. It's important to change up your approach because sometimes the fish change for  no obvious reason.

Walker just boated another one in the 2-pound range, but the bigger bite is eluding him. Earlier this morning he had his chance, but lost it right at the boat. According to Walker and Wes, it jumped right at Wes' feet and the crankbait went flying. However this turns out, it should make for a pretty interesting show.

-Rob Russow

1:20 p.m.

It's that time of day when every thing seems to slow to halt. We've been it for some time, hoping for something big to happen in the standings. But since this tourney has started, every day about this time has been klller slow.

But it comes out of it fast. Every day in the last hour and a half, someone has turned things around when the schools of fish start firing.

We expect that to happen today. But it only has about 1 1/2 hours to get it done. With these  anglers at the top so close, it could happen to any of them and the tide would turn real fast. We are just sitting here twiddling our thumbs waiting for it to happen.

--Steve Bowman

1:11 p.m.

If he can win today, Bradley Roy will become the second youngest champion in B.A.S.S. history at 20 years, 7 months and 17 days. The youngest in history was David Dudley. He was 20 years, 1 month and 18 days old when he won the Virginia Bassmaster Top 100 on the James River in Virginia in 1995. Jonathon VanDam is currently the second youngest winner in B.A.S.S. history. He was 21 years and 28 days old when he won the Northern Open on Lake Erie in 2009. Casey Ashley is the youngest Elite champion ever at 23 years, 4 months and-9 days.

--Ken Duke

1:07 p.m.

I talked earlier with Walker about how ever-changing these fish are. Not only spot to spot, but also with the bait he's throwing. Before, he caught them on a crankbait, but after tossing that a few times with no success he picked up a different crankbait and right away put fish in the boat.

The magic crankbait today is a D20 in Chartreuse Shad. He did catch one today on the spoon, but not a single fish on the worm.

In practice, he was throwing a worm and a spoon.

"In practice I caught no fish on a crankbait," Walker said. "I kept throwing it because I knew they should bite it."

-Rob Russow

12:50 p.m.

table.tableizer-table {border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;} .tableizer-table td {padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc;} .tableizer-table th {background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold;}
Place Angler Fish Day Four Total
1 David Walker 5 14-02 62-12
2 Kevin VanDam 5 12-09 59-11
2 Bradley Roy 5 9-06 59-11
4 Ott Defoe 5 12-00 59-02
5 Ish Monroe 5 11-00 56-01
6 Russ Lane 5 12-12 55-10
7 Greg Hackney 4 8-12 55-06
8 Kelly Jordon 4 10-01 53-11
9 Timmy Horton 5 11-05 52-12
10 Keith Poche 5 7-04 49-10
11 Takahiro Omori 5 8-08 48-08
12 Bernie Schultz 5 7-08 48-08

-- Hank Weldon


12:47 p.m.

Bradley didn't have much when we left him. Jordan packed it on that lower lake point after a few casts with a crankbait. On our way to the launch area we passed KVD, heading down the lake, maybe to the area we saw Jordon fishing. Even though he's already got the AOY trophy, KVD still wants the win here. He hasn't won an Elite tournament all season, and he'd love to change that.

--Ken Duke

12:41 p.m.

Just as we expected things are getting even tighter. Bradley Roy now has around 10 pounds, which puts him less than 3-pounds behind Walker and tied for second with KVD with 59-11 total. DeFoe is not too far behind in fourth. All four of them are desperate for one big bite.

If it comes, then things really start to shake up.

One thing to note on the BASSTrakk. Those are ran by the Marshals and they guess weights then key them in and that goes straight to the BASSTrakk page. The Marshal for Walker today is sitting in a camera boat and could be a distance away. So he's not only making a guess, but guessing from a distance.

-- Steve Bowman

12:39 p.m.

I told Walker about the gross over-estimate on his BASSTrakk device.

"You got that fixed didn't you?" Walker asked me. "I don't know if Lilly knows CPR."

His wife learned to keep an eye on this blog for more accurate updates.

Walker keeps boating fish pretty steadily from this spot, the only problem is that they are not bigger than his smallest, which is just under 3 pounds.

He caught two in about 5 minutes on the deep crankbait off the hump. The depth rises up to 18 to 20 feet on top. It's 26 feet under the boat, where Walker has dropped a marker buoy to keep his boat in the same spot.

"With that wind at my back I can actually throw far enough that I'm able to hit it for a bit," Walker said. "There's a bunch of suspended fish marked all over the graph. As soon as I start feeling the bottom, there aren't many times when I don't get a bite."

-Rob Russow

12:26 p.m.

VanDam just caught a 3-pound class fish that shoots him up to about 12 1/2 pounds and puts him in second place in our standings. That should be about 3-pounds from Walker, who is still in first with his 14-pound sack.

Ott DeFoe is in third with 12 pounds on the day and about 3 1/2 pounds back. Bradley Roy is fourth with 7-pounds (we expect he has more) and that puts him at the most 5-pounds back from Walker.

This is a whole lot tigheter than it first appeared when I started getting caught up. Walker should be in the lead, but anyone in that four is just one bite away from each other to being in the lead. Hackney even has a shot, he's about 7 pounds back. Lot of things could still happen.

-- Steve Bowman

12:18 p.m.

As I was shooting a video for BASSCam, Walker hooked up with another chunky largemouth on the crankbait. His problem is that he is catching a lot of fish about the same size.

The other interesting thing is that the majority of his fish were caught out from the area where Skeet Reese fished most of the week. Until today, the shallow point was the better spot. Reese even lamented yesterday not being able to get on it because of Walker. If not for the disqualification, today might have turned out differently.

Really though it should be no surprise that the fish are changing every day. Yesterday it was the worm on the ledge, today it is the crankbait on the hump.

"That's how fish are," Walker said. "They live in a fluid environment. They follow the bait around even though they stay in the same general area. I'm sure it is mostly to do with the big schools of baitfish."

-Rob Russow

12:09 p.m.

Maybe Chapman shouldn't  breathe too easy just yet. I've been following BASSTrakk, just getting out of the helicopter and made my own assumptions. Rob Russow just tore those down. with the blog below. He just caught up with him and is getting the real skinny. Still if he has 14, then he keeps a 3-pound lead on DeFoe. Roy could still add another 6 pounds to his total with a couple of key bites. And Poche would need a 20-pound sack to threaten Hite.

--Steve Bowman


If you have been following BASSTrakk you might think David Walker has this event locked up. That would be great for Walker, but if you ask him, he thinks he's nowhere near the lead. Walker says he has 13, his cameraman Wes says at least 14, although it could be more like 15. Bottom line is this game is still wide open and if Roy's afternoon bite turns on, that could be the end of any Walker comeback.

-Rob Russow

12:03 p.m.

Two anglers not mentioned today who are likely breathing a sigh of relief are Davy Hite and Brent Chapman.

Hite could have falled out of the All Star Week if Poche were to win today. That doesn't appear to be possible. He would have to have around 25 or more pounds for that to happen and it doesn't seem real likely.

Chapman, though, is the first guy out of the Classic at the moment. But if Walker, VanDam or DeFoe wins, he gets in. Walker is bringing home the goods today for his own benefit, Chapman is loving every second of it.

We have Walker down for about 19 pounds and he's still catching them. Bradley Roy would have to get up around the 18 to 19 pound mark, which is likely. But for the moment, Walker is making it easy on a couple of guys sitting at the house today.

-- Steve Bowman


11:52 a.m.

Jordan's in an interesting position here in the final round. Coming in he was seventh in the event and 36th in AOY standings. Both are looking pretty good, but he can't afford to.slip more than a place or two here if he's going go make the 2012 Classic.

--Ken Duke

11:50 a.m.

Also on the lower end, across the lake from Roy and Monroe, is Kelly Jordon. He's tossing a Carolina rig to a main lake point leading into a small pocket. Things are slow today, he tells us.

-- Ken Duke

11:39 a.m.

Kelly Jordon has felt like a character in the 1993 movie "Groundhog Day" this week.
"I woke up three days in a row going, 'Uh, you've got to be kidding me. I still didn't make up any ground?' (Sunday) is the worst Groundhog Day of all. You make the top 12 and you've still got to catch 'em."
Jordon came into the Dixie Duel trying to rise from 45th place in the Toyota Tundra Angler of the Year standings into a qualifying spot for the Bassmaster Classic. He got off on the right track, finishing 12th in the Thursday standings at Wheeler Lake. Friday he moved up one spot to 11th. At the conclusion of Saturdays weigh-in, Jordon was 7th with 43 pounds, 10 ounces.
"I wish I hadn't looked (at the AOY standings)," Jordon said. "But, at the same time, I knew I had to smash 'em in this tournament or I wouldn't make the Classic. I've got to catch 'em again today. If I fall two places to ninth, I'll fall out."
It appears Jordon's math is correct. First of all, I owe the readers of this blog an apology. I've been writing all week that the cutoff point for Classic qualifiers was 37th place. But that changed on Friday, when Shaw Grigsby dropped from 34th place in AOY standings to a point past the cutline with his 86th place finish here. Grigsby has 1,445 AOY points, which should leave him somewhere in the range of 48th place after the AOY standings become official with the results of the final 12 anglers today. Grigsby had been a double-qualifier, since he won at Florida's Harris Chain in March. But once Grigsby dropped past the cutline in the AOY standings, he became a single qualifier for the Classic.
That's the point where it can be confusing. Since every tournament winner this year is automatically qualified for the Classic, the cutoff point for Classic qualification can fluctuate in the AOY standings. That cutoff point starts the season at 28 - the top 28 in the AOY standings at the end of the regular season qualify for the Classic. (There are some other automatic qualifiers, but let's keep it as simple as possible for now.) As anglers win tournaments and stay above the cutoff point, they become double qualified. Their first-place finish in a tournament becomes their qualifying standard, so the cutoff point drops down one place for each angler that wins a tournament and remains above that AOY mark.
For example, if David Walker wins today, the cutoff point will drop back down to 37th place because Walker would be a double qualifier. He would have moved past the qualifying standart in AOY points, after starting the week in 45th place, and he would automatically qualify for the Classic based on winning the tournament. However, if Bradley Roy wins, the cutoff point would remain at 36, since even with a win, Roy has no chance to double qualify because he entered the event 83rd in AOY points.
So, as well as we can figure it, Jordon needs to catch 'em again today, and we'll leave it at that. If he holds onto at least 7th place, he will have 1,555 AOY points, and tie him with Marty Robinson for 35th place in the AOY standings.
But with nothing official until the end of the tournament, I'm not certain I'd want to put any money on my ciphering.
- Steve Wright

11:36 a.m.

Roy's got another one, and that should be five. It can't weigh much more than a pound, but every ounce counts toward his total. Ish Monroe is here, too. They're sharing this water, and fishing close enough that they have an occasional conversation. Ish is throwing a crankbait, but not having David Walker's success ... so far, anyway.

--Ken Duke

11:35 a.m.

Bradley Roy's personal agent, J,D. Blackburn, is out on the water with some friends watching his young client and hoping this tournament ends Ina win and a Classic berth. J.D. looks pretty comfortable in the other bass boats, but these are not luxury boxes in a billion dollar stadium. Bass pros are athletes, and some have agents now.

-- Ken Duke

11:25 a.m.

table.tableizer-table {border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;} .tableizer-table td {padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc;} .tableizer-table th {background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold;}
Place Angler Fish Day Four Total
1 David Walker 5 19-00 67-10
2 Ott Defoe 5 12-00 59-02
3 Kevin VanDam 5 11-14 59-00
4 Bradley Roy 3 5-04 55-09
5 Ish Monroe 5 9-08 54-09
7 Russ Lane 5 11-00 53-14
6 Timmy Horton 5 11-05 52-12
8 Kelly Jordon 4 7-07 51-01
9 Greg Hackney 2 3-12 50-06
10 Keith Poche 5 7-04 49-10
11 Takahiro Omori 5 8-00 48-00
12 Bernie Schultz 3 5-00 46-07

-- Hank Weldon


11:12 a.m.

Here they are, the aerial photos.

10:59 a.m.

Watch Dave Mercer's live update now. He's got former wrestler turned bass angler Pat Rose.

10:55 a.m.

Bradley Roy actually has four fish in his well. We're with him now and he has about 8 1/2 to 9 pounds.

Ironically, even though he doesn't have a limit, he may have as good a chance to catch Walker as anyone. The next fish that goes in his livewell will be a total net gain. The rest of the guys are culling up ounces at a time.

-- Ken Duke

10:51 a.m.

Right next to us, Ish Monroe swings a 2-pounder into the boat. As soon as he gets it in, the lure pops out and the bass falls to the bottom of the boat.

"One freaking hook, every single one," Monroe said. "I've had a couple smoke it and not get it. Stupid bass."

Still, he just culled the barely keeper he caught early this morning and should have close to 10 or 11 pounds. He started the day 5 pounds back, so still has some work to do to catch up.

Roy on the other hand has struggled mostly this morning. He has three good keepers and seems pretty collected, proabably because yesterday hisbetter bite was in the afternoon.

For Roy, all his better fish came after 12, so he's actually a little better off today.

--Rob Russow

10:40 a.m.

Ott Defoe has made a bold move. Limiting and culling in this back water area and still getting regular bites, he suddenly puts down his rod and announces that he's moving to a spot 40 miles away.

As we follow him out we see Hackney coming in so we stop and watch him flip for a while. Slow day for him with two keepers.

-- Tommy Sanders

10:35 a.m.

Here's the latest BASSTrakk standings. table.tableizer-table {border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;} .tableizer-table td {padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc;} .tableizer-table th {background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold;}

Place Angler Fish Day Four Total
1 David Walker 5 17-12 66-06
2 Ott Defoe 5 12-00 59-02
3 Kevin VanDam 5 11-09 58-11
4 Bradley Roy 3 5-04 55-09
5 Ish Monroe 5 9-08 54-09
6 Timmy Horton 5 11-05 52-12
7 Russ Lane 5 9-12 52-10
8 Kelly Jordon 4 7-07 51-01
9 Greg Hackney 2 3-12 50-06
10 Keith Poche 5 7-04 49-10
11 Takahiro Omori 5 8-00 48-00
12 Bernie Schultz 3 5-00 46-07

-- Hank Weldon

10:33 a.m.

Another good fish and Walker upgrades one more time. It looks like this patterns and spot could hold up for quite a while.

We can't tell how high the top of the hump or ridge that he's fishing is, but it runs for a hundred yards or more. Every so often he runs back to the upwind edge in the mouth of First Creek to make another run down it. The wind continues to blow straight into the creek, which has to be be helping his bite.

-- Ken Duke

10:27 a.m.

I know I keep harping on the fan vote for the Toyota Trucks All-Star Week, but it’s so dang interesting.

Did you all see on BASSCam yesterday who Kevin VanDam said should be voted in?

There’s a lot of opinions out there and I’m glad you are sharing yours in the comments section below. Again, rather interesting thought processes.

I think I know one of the four who will get voted in – Mike Iaconelli. I watched him stand out in the Arkansas heat for at least an hour last Sunday as he signed autographs and posed for pictures with folks. He had a line, people. A real fan favorite.

I have some other inklings, but not any certainty as to the other three who will actually be voted in.

Somebody brought up an interesting notion that the Japanese fan base might stuff the ballot for Takahiro Omori. With five B.A.S.S. wins, including the 2004 Classic, to his credit, he’d be a good representative.

Not to rally against him or anything, but he hasn’t won since 2005, though he's in the top 12 right now.

Send out the word, get everybody in your bass club, all your friends and family to vote. They could be the lucky one to get picked and end up winning a boat.

-- Mike Suchan

10:21 a.m.

Roy hangs a piece of brush and fights it for a minute like it might be a fish.

"They hit so soft you don't want to start pulling on it," Roy said. "I don't know if they are just in that summertime pattern where they are not aggressive. I haven't had one jerk my rod out of my hands yet."

We saw the same thing with Russ Lane on Day Two, so there must be something to that.

On the next cast Roy finds the rest of the brushpile and hangs it up solidly.

"That brushpile has four of my crankbaits in it right now."

-Rob Russow

10:19 a.m.

Walker gulls again! Our unofficial leader has another nice keeper and gets to discard a smaller fish. And now he's done it again! He must be up around 15 pounds now.

Fortunately for most of the other anglers, their bite has been coming later or they've steadily upgraded through the day.

-- Ken Duke

10:15 a.m.

Ott begins to frog his way down the bank a little faster, catches two shorts then gets a three-pounder to jump on right off an undercut bank.

He should have more than 12 easily now. Defoe is fishing a completely different body of water from the main lakers -- quiet, still, no traffic with cool clear water.

-- Tommy Sanders

10:13 a.m.

Roy has moved the pedestal seat that his cameraman and I were balancing on up to the front deck. Ah, well, it was nice while it lasted.

He's back to tossing the spoon after breaking the crankbait off. The waves are picking up as the wind turns slightly and comes up the lake from the dam.

That hasn't stopped Roy from casting his spoon into the wind. Like Walker yesterday, Roy goes spoon into the wind and crankbait with the wind. That gives them more distance, which they need for the crankbait.

Distance isn't as important with the spoon. I saw David Walker catch a fish almost at the boat yesterday.

--Rob Russow

10:10 a.m.

Word of Walker's success must be getting around. He has several boats watching him fish.

Things has slowed considerably since the flurry when we arrived. We thought our boat was good luck for him, but maybe it's drying up.

He continues to make long casts with the wind -- lofting the bait high and letting the wind do much of the work-- then slowly grinding the lure down to the hump ... and the bass. In fact, he just lost one.

-- Ken Duke

10:03 a.m.

Here's where the anglers are fishing, as seen from the latest BASSTrakk positioning.

Decatur Flat

Elk River area

Lake Wheeler

Upper end of Wheeler.

-- Hank Weldon

10:00 a.m.

Watch Dave Mercer with his live update. Here's got Dean Rojas ont he stage.

9:52 a.m.

Spoons are a great offshore tool, especially on the Tennessee River, where bass are schooled up tight.

Roy fishes his on short casts, letting it fall a ways and then jerking twice before pausing again. Roy has gone through another little dry spell, boating only one white bass. He continues his little rotation though.

Roy starts with five rods on one side of his deck. Then he fishes one rod for some time, puts it on the other side of the deck and picks up the next one. When he has gone through the five rods he starts again working back from the other side of the deck.

A very precise system that keeps a fresh bait in the water. He's using two different crankbaits, two different spoons and one Carolina rig with a green pumpkin creature bait.

The crankbait is back in his hand now and he hooks up with what seems like a keeper. Roy finally gets it up alongside the boat in the big waves and when it jumps, we can see it is barely hooked. Playing it around the other side of the boat, Roy gets a hand on it and brings in a 2-pounder. His fourth keeper gives him 9 pounds on the day.

"Have you seen anyone shake like that over a 2-pounder?" Roy said. "I don't know if they have seen the bait so many times, they are just barely getting it."

--Rob Russow

9:53 a.m.

Ott is slowly working this scenic little spot that is completely off the GPS map. Throwing a frog, flipping, throwing a buzzbait.

All of sudden he catches two on the frog -- one will cull. He says his limit is around 11 pounds.

-- Tommy Sanders

9:48 a.m.

The wind's blowing straight into First Creek, stirring up the plankton and the rest of the food chain, and David Walker's reaping the benefits.

When we got to him, he didn't have a fish. Now he's culling and has about 13 pounds. He's alternating between a deep-diving crankbait and a jigging spoon, but most of his fish have come on the crankbait today.

Walker's put himself back in the Classic with this strong performance. It'll be his first championship since 2006.

-- Ken Duke

9:43 a.m.

Wow, we have an interesting straw poll going on in the comments section below. I just found particulars on the Toyota Trucks All-Star Week and want to relay them to you all. Voting won't start until June 21, this Tuesday, but 12 of you are going to be awfully pleased.

In the Toyota Trucks All-Star Week Fan Favorite Angler Sweepstakes, of the Bassmaster fans who voted, 12 will be randomly selected and paired to virtually compete with the 12 Elite Series anglers. The "virtual competitors" will follow their angler daily on Bassmaster.com, and the fan paired with the eventual winner will win a fully rigged Triton 18XS boat with a Mercury 150 Optimax engine.

All 12 fan finalists will win a prize pack from Berkley and Havoc worth about $80, so there's some incentive to vote. (I think you're allowed to vote once a day from June 21 to July 10.)

The four Toyota Trucks All-Star Fan Favorite Anglers and the 12 fan finalists will be announced live on Bassmaster.com July 13.

The 12 anglers will compete July 23-24 at Lake Jordan, Wetumpka, Ala., with the bottom four to be eliminated. The eight advancing finalists will be seeded in a bracket-style head-to-head tournament July 29-31 on the Alabama River out of Montgomery, Ala., with the winner taking the $100,000 purse.

-- Mike Suchan

9:28 a.m.

Walker's spot appears to be just fine, though the camera boat continues to push in every time he hooks up. Now the cameraman is is getting back in Walker's boat, but not before they run over his buoy one more time. Walker culls again, this time with a 2 3/4 pound chunky largemouth. These fish are not long, but they are stout.

-- Ken Duke

9:28 a.m.

We are on the trail of Ott Defoe -- we weren't sure of his exact location but we knew that he was far into a backwater with spring fed water. We have crept shallow for a long while with no sign, but the water temp ha dropped 9 degrees. And there he is.

-- Tommy Sanders

9:28 a.m.

Here's the latest from BASSTrakk, our unofficial on the water scoreboard. table.tableizer-table {border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;} .tableizer-table td {padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc;} .tableizer-table th {background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold;}

Place Angler Fish Day Four Total
1 David Walker 5 10-12 61-06
2 Kevin VanDam 5 10-01 57-03
3 Bradley Roy 2 3-12 54-04
4 Timmy Horton 4 10-03 51-10
5 Russ Lane 5 8-04 51-02
6 Kelly Jordon 3 6-07 50-01
7 Keith Poche 5 7-04 49-10
8 Greg Hackney 1 2-08 49-02
9 Ott Defoe 0 0-00 47-02
10 Takahiro Omori 4 7-00 47-00
11 Ish Monroe 0 0-00 45-01
12 Bernie Schultz 2 3-08 44-15

-- Hank Weldon

9:26 a.m.

And he's culling again! David Walker has struck gold here with his deep-diving crankbait -- it's shad patterned with perhaps some chartreuse in it. He's making long casts with the wind and bringing the bait back slowly.

Now he's picked up the spoon again -- probably hoping to pick up a kicker or two. Just missed one on the spoon -- his primary bait this week.

Walker gets another fish and he culls again, giving him about 13 pounds. This one hit the spoon.

In the process of landing the fish, the television camera boat ran over the buoy marking his spot. Lets hope that doesn't screw up his fishing.

-- Ken Duke

9:16 a.m.

Twenty-year-old Bradley Roy might be concerned about his lack of an early limit today, if not for what happened to him Saturday.

He has been in the same spot all week, "milking it for all it has got," he said. It's a deep drop where the current hits the ledge.

"The fish get in there and feed like crazy," Roy said. "I got lucky and found one of the best spots."

But those bass don't feed there constantly.

"The problem is getting them to bite," Roy said. "I caught them real quick the first two days, then yesterday I had two at 12 o'clock. Then at 12:30 I was done."

The Lancaster, Ken., angler is using three lures this week -- a deep-diving crankbait, a Carolina-rigged Berkley Power Hawg and a five-inch spoon.

"The first day it was the Carolina rig, the second day it was the crankbait, yesterday it was the spoon," Roy said.

Roy explained the attraction of the big spoon, saying, "The shad are really big. I've seen a couple of them in my livewell. They were five- or six-inch gizzard shad."

Although it can help you match the bait the bass are feeding on, no tournament angler enjoys seeing several large shad in his livewell, after they've been spit up by the fish he's caught.

"That was a quarter-pound right there," Roy said.

And it could end up being the difference in a tournament where Roy went into the final day with an 11-ounce lead over David Walker.

-- Steve Wright

9:12 a.m.

And one more -- about 2 1/2 pounds -- makes a limit for David Walker in First Creek. We got another yell from him, but this was a happy one. His five keepers weigh about 12 pounds. They're not giants, but, as he described them, they're "footballs." I think he's going to be fishing here for a while.

-- Ken Duke

9:08 a.m.

Both Monroe and Roy have worked their way out from where they were just a short time ago. I asked Roy about the constant white bass and he said it's been the same every day, but they seem to be more active in the morning.

As the day progresses, he seems to catch more largemouth. As for the specifics of the spot Roy is fishing, everything is centered around the point.

"It's the up current side of this point," Roy said. "I'm just pretty much working back and forth. There's some shells as well as some rocks and old logs and stuff that the current had washed up there."

--Rob Russow

9:04 a.m.

David Walker is catching a mixed bag here at the mouth of First Creek.

He just threw back a small striped, lost a nice largemouth and put his fourth keeper in the well. I know the one he lost was a good one by the way he yelled when it came off.

He's whacking them with that crankbait, but it's hard to say if they've got the quality he needs to catch Roy. Yesterday at the weigh-in, Roy and Ish Monroe both seemed confident they could put together good bags early today.

-- Ken Duke

8:59 a.m.

Skeet Reese lost potential to earn some more money, maybe even a Classic berth, but earned plenty of respect when he disqualified himself at Wheeler Lake's Ingalls Harbor weigh-in site Saturday afternoon.

That's where Reese realized he had an extra bass in his livewell -- sixth fish. Reese came into the Dixie Duel in an uncharacteristic 60th place in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaser Angler of the Year standings. He knew he had to win this tournament to qualify for his 13th Bassmaster Classic and extend his streak to 10 straight Classics.

Reese won the Classic in 2009 on Louisiana's Red River. But by reporting his mistake, Reese abruptly ended his latest Classic quest. He had entered the day in third place in the Dixie Duel standings, only 2 pounds, 1 ounce behind Day Two leader David Walker.

His two-day weight left him in 33rd place in the standings for this event. But the DQ cost him the chance to earn a bit more cash and the win.

"He did the right thing," said Kelly Jordon, as he prepared to take off with the other top 12 anglers in Sunday's finale. "I'm sure he wanted to kick himself. Hats off to him. It would have been real easy for nobody else to have known. But that's the type of behavior we expect out here.

"I hate it for him. That was the final nail in his coffin for making the Classic."

I'm not telling anybody how to vote for those final four anglers selected to the Toyota Tucks All-Star week field. But Reese's previous list of accomplishments and his disqualifying himself Saturday might be something you want to consider.

-- Steve Wright

8:52 a.m.

As you wait for the next fish catch, take a look at the comment section below.

Readers are giving us the anglers they want to vote in to compete with top 8 in Toyota Trucks All-Star Week. The real voting will be available after this event, but we just wanted to take a straw poll to see what you all are thinking.

There are a variety of votes and reasons, including a big nod to Skeet who, despite having a subpar season, won one reader's admiration when he turned himself in yesterday and was disqualified. This after having enough fish to make the top 12.

-- Mike Suchan

8:49 a.m.

Since my last entry just minutes ago, Walker has lost one at the boat and landed another keeper. Either the crankbait bite is on or we're very good luck for the Tennessee pro.

-- Ken Duke

8:46 a.m.

We asked Walker how things were going for him this morning, and he set down his rod and made a big zero with both arms over his head. Luckily for David, that just changed. He switched to a crankbait and just picked up one that will weigh about 2 1/2 pounds. Now he's got another that's not quite as big. It appears they don't want to be spoon-fed today.

-- Ken Duke

8:42 a.m.

Walker is jigging a spoon on top of a hump in the mouth of First Creek. For two days we've headed back in here looking for him, and both days we caught him on the way out, stopping to spoon this hump. We've yet to see him catch anything doing it.

-- Ken Duke

8:38 a.m.

Just finished a long run to the lower end in search David Walker in First Creek, it was a pounding ride with me in the middle "seat" between our driver, Tyler Weeks, and BASS phographer Seigo Saito. After serious neck surgery a few years back, I don't even want to think about the ride back. Suffice to say that today will be my blogging swan song.

-- Ken Duke

8:32 a.m.

Both Monroe and Roy are now throwing deep-diving crankbaits and moving around a bit in this little area.

After a pretty long lull where I didn't even see them catch a white bass, they both boated decent keepers. Roy's was probably 3 pounds, while Monroe's was a 2- or 2.5-pounder, giving them 7 and 5 pounds respectively and three keepers apiece.

To give everyone an idea of what these guys are fishing, they are right about where the lake makes a big bend down by the dam. There is a little point that sticks out and that is what Roy and Monroe are moving around on. By the way, the white bass have started biting again.

--Rob Russow

8:18 a.m.

If you've been checking it out to no avail, BASSTrakk is now up and running.

Remember the weights are estimates from Marshals and not official. Please no wagering.

What is amazing is that it shows KVD with 15 catches today, a night after winning his seventh Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year. Anybody who has heard KVD talk about competing knows there will be no resting on his laurels for that dude.

Hey, anybody else want to tell us who they are going to vote in for All-Star Week?

Got one vote for Keith Poche, one for Alton Jones and one for Ike.

C'mon. Comment below.

-- Mike Suchan

8:14 a.m.

Monroe just landed his second keeper, a small fish in the 1.5-pound range. The big fish just have not made an appearance yet.

After both these guys were looking at a 3.5- to 4-pound average yesterday, the quality has disappeared, at least early on this morning.

I don't know if these guys were getting this kind of white bass action the past few days, but that could be contributing to their problems. Is a 4-pounder really going to compete with a scrappy white bass for food?

I've seen it happen some times. But just as many times, the white bass run solo. It will be an interesting scenario to watch as the day unfolds.

--Rob Russow

8:09 a.m.

If Bradley Roy can hold on here, he will be the youngest angler ever to win an Elite event -- surpassing Casey Ashley, who was 23 when he won on Smith Mountain Lake.

Roy may even be the youngest ever to win a BASS event. I'll have to do the math. David Dudley was also 20 when he won one in the 1990s.

-- Ken Duke

8:07 a.m.

This has not been a good morning for Bradley Roy. After a white bass frenzy, Roy finally hooked up with another keeper largemouth.

With two foot waves breaking around his boat, Roy went to swing it in, but in the air, the bait came flying out and the bass tumbled free.

Just as the cameraman was getting into the camera boat, Roy hooked up again on the crankbait. This time, he moved back to the seat and sat down to land it.

In two or three foot waves, your skill at landing fish without a net is severely tested. Bottom line, it isn't easy, but Roy was able to get this one in the boat. The largemouth was close to 2.5 pounds and gives him two fish for around 4 pounds. Monroe still has only one.

-Rob Russow

8:02 a.m.

Bernie Schultz is cranking a shallow flat in Mallard Creek. This is Bernie's first final round in 2011, and he's glad to be here at the end of what's been a very frustrating year.

He has one fish so far this morning and is hoping to move up from a tie for 10th place. Every little bit helps on the tournament trail.

For those who don't know him well, Bernie is the sport's Renaissance man -- artist, writer, tackle collector, professional angler and definitely one of the most interesting and enjoyable people in the sport.

-- Ken Duke

7:59 a.m.

From Zona -- more than once KVD has made a cast and said "that's the cast." Meaning that yes, the fish are here but that only very specific setups with boat position and cast will trigger the bite.

Amazing -- the amount of knowledge, skill, experience, timing and execution you have to bring to the table to get lucky.

-- Tommy Sanders

7:56 a.m.

Reader James Thomas votes for the next four anglers in the AOY points to be selected for All-Star Week. That would be Alton Jones, Keith Poche, Greg Vinson and Chris Lane. "The Best against the Best." Who are you going to vote for and why? Tell us in  the comment section below.

--Mike Suchan

7:53 a.m.

Tim Horton is cranking a ledge near some barge ties. He says he has nothing so far, but some of these anglers are on a late bite. A little sunscreen and he's off. So are we.

-- Ken Duke

7:48 a.m.

VanDam hooks another fish after it punches his crankbait two times. This fish is a solid three and will cull. He is putting together something that looks pretty formidable this early on. Between 13 and 14 pounds. Zona says he has the whole school fired up.

-- Tommy Sanders

7:46 a.m.

Interesting mix of anglers in the final group -- we've got guys gunning for the win, guys trying to stay/ et in the Classic mix (Jordon, Lane) and guys playing out the string and trying to get a better check. With so many different goals and situations out here, it should be an interesting finale.

-- Ken Duke

7:44 a.m.

This is turning into a white bass fest. Bradley Roy turned around, picked up a crankbait and started firing it across behind his boat.

Almost every cast, he would sling a white bass into the boat. In the middle of it, he finally hooked a largemouth, but it jumped next to the boat and came off.

Roy was visibly upset by that, but seemed to quickly shake it off. A few white bass later, Roy was able to boat his first keeper. It wasn't very big, probably between 1.5 and 2 pounds.

In the background, Monroe caught his first keeper, but it was small, not much over a pound.

--Rob Russow

7:39 a.m.

Two more fish quickly for VanDam and they both will cull. Now he is over 12 pounds.

See Mark Zona's video of the action on BASSCam.

-- Tommy Sanders

7:37 a.m.

Fishing out here is definitely a bit more work than yesterday -- wind is blowing a steady 10 mph plus. Doubt if KVD notices -- Zona from his boat says he's definitely going for the win -- shocker. Also from Zona -- that last keeper came on a 1/2 ounce hair jig.

-- Tommy Sanders

7:34 a.m.

Omori took one weighing about 1 1/2 on his topwater before we pulled away. He'll need more if he wants to move up. We're on KVD now. He's got the usual KVD navy with him -- 20 other boats, all keeping their distance. VanDam's throwing a crankbait out here on the flats, not very far from Omori. We haven't seen him catch anything yet, but with him, inevitable. Wait ... he's got one -- about 2 pounds -- and he's culling with it! This guy's good! He might have a future in this sport! -- Ken Duke

7:33 a.m.

We are having issues with BASSTrakk. Hopefully we will be up and running on this soon. Here is a table with where the anglers stand going into Day Four of the Dixie Duel: table.tableizer-table {border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;} .tableizer-table td {padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc;} .tableizer-table th {background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold;}





1 Bradley Roy 0 0-00 50-05
2 David Walker 0 0-00 48-10
3 Kevin VanDam 0 0-00 47-02
4 Ott Defoe 0 0-00 47-02
4 Greg Hackney 0 0-00 46-10
6 Ish Monroe 0 0-00 45-01
7 Kelly Jordon 0 0-00 43-10
8 Russ Lane 0 0-00 42-14
9 Keith Poche 0 0-00 42-06
10 Timmy Horton 0 0-00 41-07
11 Bernie Schultz 0 0-00 41-07
12 Takahiro Omori 0 0-00 40-00

-- Hank Weldon

7:29 a.m.

After a windy day yesterday, it looks like we are going to have even worse here on the final day. The wind was howling from take-off and it could get nasty out here.

It's blowing straight into where Bradley Roy and Ish Monroe are fishing down on the lower end of the lake. They are a cast apart and throwing to roughly the same spot with the same bait.

The spoon seems to be the bait of choice this week, firing up these schools because it imitates a wounded shad so well. Right now the only thing they have fired up are the white bass.

Roy caught one on two straight casts, while Monroe just landed a nice one. We haven't seen either catch a largemouth, although Roy was on the spot before we arrived.

-Rob Russow

7:26 a.m.

Now KVD has 9 pounds -- 5 fish plus he's had a good one come off. All on a Strike King series 5 crankbait. Now comes another keeper that should cull him up to 10 pounds.

Check out the KVD video on BASSCam.

-- Tommy Sanders

7:21 a.m.

We just got buzzed by the BASS helicopter, getting some of the great footage for "The Bassmasters."

Helicopter comes from the Latin -- heli means flying low and copter means spraying water all over this blogger.

By the way, the photo Steve Bowman just took of me getting soaked better not wind up on the site or there will be "heli" to pay!

-- Ken Duke

7:17 a.m.

We are going to head straight to KVD. OK, we are here now as he is boating his second fish -- a 3 plus. First keeper was small. And now the third -- it's a small one too. Maybe six pounds total --wait -- one more now-also small. Four fish in about 18 minutes. Much more hectic out here today -- more spectator boats hanging a lot closer. The wind is blowing all boats right toward the ledge so he's spending a little time directing traffic.

-- Tommy Sanders


7:17 a.m.

Now Omori is throwing a topwater stick bait with some sort of Front Runner ahead of it. We've got a pretty stiff breeze blowing out here and a pretty good chop on the water. I can't see any surface activity right now, but Tak obviously hopes to draw up some better fish. Yesterday there was a false BASSTrakk report that Tak had 29 pounds. Today he needs that to be accurate, if he hopes to win at Wheeler.

-- Ken Duke

7:16 a.m.

Oh yeah. Happy Father's Day. Hope all you dads get to spend some quality time with you kids, after checking out our coverage, of course.

7:15 a.m.

Takahiro Omori is out on Decatur Flats, casting a jig or worm to a ledge. Tak is back in the Classic but a full 10-5 off the lead here. In 12th position, the 2004 Classic champ has no where to go but up today!

-- Ken Duke

6:59 a.m.

The anglers are launched and heading to their spots and we have our eyes on the water following them.

Besides winning the Dixie Duel, there's some big implications to watch for today. It would be huge for Keith Poche to rally from eighth place to win as it would make him the eighth angler taken into All-Star Week on points.

However, he has more than 8 pounds to make up. That would knock out Davy Hite.

As of now, the eight anglers who will fish the postseason event are KVD, Edwin Evers, Ott DeFoe, Gerald Swindle, Steve Kennedy, Terry Scroggins, Casey Ashley and Hite.

The fans will get to vote in the other four of the 12-man field. We have been wondering who you will select, and why. Let's have a straw poll in the comments section below, making your best case why an angler should get to Montgomery. Go.

--Mike Suchan

6:45 a.m.


Can't help but feel for Edwin Evers, who again finished as AOY runner-up. It's got to be pretty trying to fish so well all season, have your sights set on the title and fall short. You have to wonder if he's left thinking about a particular move he made or didn't make, or a miss on a fish that could have made a difference, not that EE misses much. It's easy to see why second is hard to swallow. Maybe he can get some consolation next month at Toyota Trucks All-Star Week. --Mike Suchan

6:30 a.m.

The final 12 anglers are at the docks, preparing for Day Four of the Dixie Duel. We are too.

Good morning. We last left you to go witness KVD's latest TTBAOY, young Bradley Roy with the lead and the integrity of Skeet Reese.

There is a lot at stake today and there will be some rather interested anglers not on the water watching.

Steve Bowman is up in the helicopter so I'll be your early morning driver.  Stay tuned, we'll be bringing fish catches shortly,

--Mike Suchan