bot- tom. “They must really be hitting the bank, because those were not here Wednesday. I’m gonna sit back for a while and try to catch a big one here.”
12:05 p.m. After working the Ugly Otter slowly through the beds results in no action, Lane picks up the lipless crank and continues his way down the bank.
12:10 p.m. Lane alternates flipping the hyacinth beds with the Otter and casting the lipless crank around the stumps but still has not had a bite in this area. Pressure might be a factor, as there are approximately six other competitors in here and probably 15 spectator boats.
12:20 p.m. After about 35 minutes in McDade, Chris has seen enough and lifts the trolling motor to leave. He travels about 200 yards before abruptly shutting it down next to a patch of standing timber, saying “I can’t pass up an isolated patch of stumps like these. I have to see if they have moved up in here.”
12:24 p.m. Lane is working the lipless crank through, over and around the timber but quickly hangs it in a piece of wood, then goes in to retrieve it.
12:30 p.m. Lane fires up the big motor and heads to an- other backwater.
12:40 p.m. After another 10 minute run, Chris sets down in the back of a bay, within sight of the lock to Pool 4. He idles to the back and tries to enter a small cut that is loaded with stumps.
12:43 p.m. After re-adjusting his approach angle, Lane is able to finally get the Legend into the small gut. He immedi- ately picks up the lipless bait and starts working to the sub- merged timber.
12:50 p.m. After switching back to the tube, Chris gets hung up on a stump and has to go in to remove it. While maneuver-
i n g closer, he mentions “I caught two real big ones in here in practice, and they were both on the lipless crank.”
1:05 p.m. Chris alternates between the lipless crank and the tube as he slowly works his way into the small pond. The water is deeper here than it was in his starting spot, six feet in the middle. Instead of pad stalks there are hyacinth mats along the edge.
1:10 p.m. Switching to a heavier weight on the tube, Lane begins to punch the bait through a large stretch of hyacinth. On his fifth flip, he snaps the rod back and flips a small keeper into the boat. Keeper number 21 won’t cull and is immediately released.
1:15 p.m. Working down the bank, he spots a large mat of hyacinth that has blown together underneath a deadfall. “This is a big fish spot,” Chris whispers as he drops the Power Poles.
1:19 p.m. After no takers on the tube, Lane picks back up the lipless crank and works it along the shallow side of the long and narrow pond.
1:30 p.m. Chris picks up the tube and begins to flip to isolated stumps in about 2 feet of water in front of a shallow hyacinth mat.
1:35 p.m. Water boils as Lane sets hard on a good fish. The stump was close to the boat, so it doesn’t take him long to land keeper number 22, a solid 3.5 lb. fish which culls one of the earlier 2.5 lb. fish. “That was a good cull, I just need a 7 or 8 now,” he says as he rigs a fresh tube. While he is culling the fish, it is apparent he has been sandbagging. Each fish he pulls out is greeted with a “that one’s better than I thought.” It looks like he has crossed the 16lb mark.
1:38 p.m. Keeper number 23 gets flipped into the boat after it eats the tube almost boatside. Lane’s livewell already has thick shoulders though, so it won’t cull.