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Sunday, February 20, 2011
2011 Bassmaster Classic live blog

Bassmaster.com

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5:19
PM ET
The anglers are in and the weigh-in is about to begin.

Were any questions answered today? Well, not really.

Lake Cat still produced for KVD and Venice was even hotter on Day Two, even with the shortened fishing time.

Some anglers faltered as expected on the Delta. Aaron Martens had a disappointing day, Mike McClelland broke down and Bobby Lane couldn't catch fish fast enough.

Some got even better. John Crews posted a big mark, Brent Chapman kept the pace and KVD seems unstoppable.

One more day of fishing left. Who will make the top-25 cut and who will lift the 2011 Bassmaster Classic trophy? Expect more of the same great live blog coverage on Sunday as the tournament concludes.

We are wrapping this blog up for the day, but make sure you follow the weigh-in here and the Real-time leaderboard here.

They're rolling.

-- Rob Russow




5:07
PM ET
We just crossed paths with Davy Hite, who has won on this pond, and he said he thinks records will be broken tomorrow on the Louisiana Delta.

Hite set the three-day Classic record with 55-10, flipping and pitching a creature bait in Bayou Boeuf. He thinks similar techniques this week can eclipse the 2006 mark of 56-2 set by Luke Clausen on the Kissimmee Chain in Florida.

"I think they'll come real close to breaking that record," said Hite, who's been busy providing analysis for Hooked Up! shows.

"Obviously, it's got fish to bust both records wide open," he said, adding Preston Clark's 11-10 lunker mark into the mix. "Fish should be moving more every day, with water temps and the full moon, it's setting up to be a 60-pound tournament."

Coming in to the Day Two weigh-in, Kevin VanDam was third with 19-3 but reports he has more than 20 pounds. Another similar bag Sunday and the record is done.

The record could be obliterated if VanDam gets one of the big fish that Hite expects. He says he'd be surprised if a 10-pounder wasn't caught on the Delta, and he thinks whoever catches it will do some damage.

"I think they're going to catch a 10," Hite said. "Somebody who does that is going to win."

With the class of fish KVD is on, he'd have a record-tying fourth Classic title and the all-time weight record to boot. Hite thinks fog is about the only thing that can stop KVD.

-- Mike Suchan


4:54
PM ET
More weigh estimates from the anglers

Skeet 14
Vinson 6
Alvarez 6
Scroggins 12
Rojas 17
Bobby Lane 9
Biffle 12
Kriet 8
McClelland 8
Elias 10
VanDam 20-plus "for sure" -- his words
Evers 6
Tharp 6
Lowen 8
Iaconlli -- the elusive Iaconelli -- 13.5

That's all we have. Bowman and I are heading to the weigh-in.

-- Kyle Carter


4:38
PM ET
More weight estimates from the anglers.

LaClair 5
Duckett 10
Grigsby 13
Rook 12
Remitz 17
Crain 13
(Rook says VanDam has more than 20)
Palaniuk 16.5
Browning 5
Wolak 8
McMurtury 9
Russ Lane 15
Reehm 8

That's most of the first flight. More weights coming soon.

-- Kyle Carter


4:24
PM ET
Here we go. Bowman is hounding the ramp for information. Here's what the anglers are saying they caught today:

Wirth 12
Klein 15
Butcher 9
Chapman 19
Hackney 12
Martens 11
Said 11
Pace 12
Williamson 9

More coming.

-- Kyle Carter


4:22
PM ET
We had a blog earlier on a college guy who did a little break-dancing for Mike Iaconelli.

Mike Iaconelli




4:15
PM ET
Last-minute reports: Palaniuk has supposedly added a 3-pounder to his stringer, which would add a pound or more to his weight and slide him into the top five.

I will get more. I'm headed to as many boats as I can to get their weights from the horses mouth.

Kyle Carter will send those updates.

-- Steve Bowman




4:15
PM ET

The thought just crossed our minds as we sit here thinking about tomorrow and how we can get better information.

Then the gorilla in the room woke up. That gorilla is basically the fact that the fog delay got longer from Day One to Day Two.

I am not a weatherman. Mom used to say I didn't have sense enough to get out of the rain. But others have said the fog will be worse.

So what happens there?

I haven't been able to get in touch with Trip, but if this were a regular event it's possible this tourney could be over today.

We could show up in the morning and at 11 a.m., still be fogged in, which was the approximate time the plug was going to be pulled today.

Putting it mildly, that would suck. We will check with Trip Weldon and see what that plan would be. Who knows it might be in the cards to fish on Monday?

Hopes are we can have a full day Sunday. But when you are bouncing off the walls of a little room in a travel trailer, your mind starts working on you over things like this.

-- Steve Bowman




3:54
PM ET
KVD still holds the unofficial lead, according to BASSTrakk.

Chapman is still in second but there are always those wild cards whose handhelds didn't work just quite right, so remember everything is unofficial til Trip Weldon puts them on the scale.

Pl.Angler NameTotal  Live Well Today Culled 
  CaughtWeightBackCaughtWeightCaughtWeightCountWeight
1KEVIN VANDAM *1036 lbs 7 oz--517 lbs 4 oz822 lbs 6 oz35 lbs 2 oz
2BRENT CHAPMAN *1035 lbs 8 oz0 lbs 15 oz517 lbs 8 oz517 lbs 8 oz00 lbs 0 oz
3JOHN CREWS *1034 lbs 10 oz1 lbs 13 oz520 lbs 12 oz926 lbs 11 oz45 lbs 15 oz
4SCOTT ROOK *1031 lbs 8 oz4 lbs 15 oz512 lbs 2 oz613 lbs 8 oz11 lbs 6 oz
5DEREK REMITZ *1030 lbs 7 oz6 lbs 0 oz517 lbs 8 oz517 lbs 8 oz00 lbs 0 oz
6BRANDON PALANIUK *1029 lbs 0 oz7 lbs 7 oz514 lbs 6 oz718 lbs 4 oz23 lbs 14 oz
7SKEET REESE *1028 lbs 2 oz8 lbs 5 oz513 lbs 1 oz2550 lbs 0 oz2036 lbs 15 oz
8AARON MARTENS *927 lbs 15 oz8 lbs 8 oz47 lbs 8 oz47 lbs 8 oz00 lbs 0 oz
9GARY KLEIN *1027 lbs 3 oz9 lbs 4 oz514 lbs 12 oz616 lbs 12 oz12 lbs 0 oz
10BOBBY LANE *1026 lbs 10 oz9 lbs 13 oz59 lbs 14 oz59 lbs 14 oz00 lbs 0 oz
Get complete standings


3:51
PM ET
I gained a lot of respect for the anglers running to Venice after witnessing the run they have to make to get there. Not only have they been running through patches of fog on the way down from Bayou Segnette State Park, but they also have to make a rough ride down the Mississippi River after they reach Venice.

A number of large, commercial vessels and some recreational fishing boats churn that water up into a bathtub. All that, today, for less than two hours of fishing. From the weights, it looks like it paid off.

-- Rob Russow


3:49
PM ET
A quick look at KVD's catches for the day:

Noon (EST): 1 pound, 8 ounce bass is caught
1:01 p.m.: 3-0 pounder
1:02 p.m.: 3-6 pounder
2:05 p.m.: 1-10 pounder
2:08 p.m.: 3-0 pounder
2:08 p.m.: 2-0 pounder
2:26 p.m.: 2-14 pounder
2:55 p.m.: 5-0 pounder

Total weight estimated at 17-4.

Chapman's weights don't have accurate times: But he has a 5, two 4s, a 2-8 and a 2-pounder.

Crews caught a small fish right off the bat. But at 12:28 he landed a 3-pounder; at 12:41 a 2-9; and then from 2:19 to 2:29, he caught a 4-pounder and two 5-pound class fish.

-- -Rob Russow


3:47
PM ET
The way I see it, radar has and could play a huge factor in this event. The fact that we didn't reach our destination but all the anglers did is a testament to that fact. Granted, not all the anglers were equipped with radar, but the ones that were definitely got to their fishing locations sooner.

On a day like today, where much of the morning was killed by the fog, every extra minute could have been huge. Guys like Bobby Lane and Kelly Jordon had to make the scary run across the Mississippi River at or just above idle speed.

When we saw Mike Iaconelli and Gary Klein, they were roaring by going to get gas, moving even faster than any boat without radar. The fog was socked in so badly that it was possible to follow a GPS track, but impossible to see anything in front of you going on plane.

While a radar is not failsafe, it provides an extra layer of safety as commercial and recreational vessels navigate the fog. If the winner comes from Venice, a radar could have helped give them just enough extra time to get the job done.

-- -Rob Russow


3:27
PM ET
Just when you thought it couldn't get any more compelling, Skeet Reese jumps into the mix with a 13-plus stringer that puts him in sixth place, just ahead of Klein.

Skeet has 28-2 total and he's one of those Venice guys, making four of the top seven coming from Venice.

Paul Elias just jumped into 10th with a 10-pound limit. He always under guesses.

This is the way we see the Lake Cat versus Venice battle going

1 KVD -- Lake Cat
2. Brent Chapman -- Venice
3. John Crews -- Venice
4. Rook -- Lake Cat
5. Remitz -- Lake Cat
6. Skeet -- Venice
7. Gary Klein -- Venice
8. Palaniuk -- Lake Cat
9. Bobby Lane -- Venice
10. Paul Elias -- Venice

-- Steve Bowman


3:24
PM ET

Kevin VanDam is again leading.

It's been back and forth on BASSTrakk. It's certain to be an entertaining weigh-in on Day Two of the 2011 Bassmaster Classic.

Pl.Angler NameTotal  Live Well Today Culled 
  CaughtWeightBackCaughtWeightCaughtWeightCountWeight
1KEVIN VANDAM *1036 lbs 7 oz--517 lbs 4 oz822 lbs 6 oz35 lbs 2 oz
2BRENT CHAPMAN *1035 lbs 8 oz0 lbs 15 oz517 lbs 8 oz517 lbs 8 oz00 lbs 0 oz
3JOHN CREWS *1034 lbs 10 oz1 lbs 13 oz520 lbs 12 oz926 lbs 11 oz45 lbs 15 oz
4SCOTT ROOK *1031 lbs 8 oz4 lbs 15 oz512 lbs 2 oz613 lbs 8 oz11 lbs 6 oz
5DEREK REMITZ *1030 lbs 7 oz6 lbs 0 oz517 lbs 8 oz517 lbs 8 oz00 lbs 0 oz
6SKEET REESE *1028 lbs 2 oz8 lbs 5 oz513 lbs 1 oz2550 lbs 0 oz2036 lbs 15 oz
7GARY KLEIN *1027 lbs 3 oz9 lbs 4 oz514 lbs 12 oz616 lbs 12 oz12 lbs 0 oz
8BRANDON PALANIUK *1026 lbs 12 oz9 lbs 11 oz512 lbs 2 oz512 lbs 2 oz00 lbs 0 oz
9BOBBY LANE *1026 lbs 10 oz9 lbs 13 oz59 lbs 14 oz59 lbs 14 oz00 lbs 0 oz
10TOMMY BIFFLE *925 lbs 5 oz11 lbs 2 oz412 lbs 0 oz412 lbs 0 oz00 lbs 0 oz

Get complete standings


3:11
PM ET
Some of you guys have been asking about Iaconelli. Well, not surprisingly, he's gone dark. We actual had this situation in our prop bet story we ran before the Classic, except we thought it would be on Sunday.

We're not sure what happens to Ike's BASSTrakk phone between the takeoff and the check-in, but we always seem to lose him. Unless we catch him at the dock on his way in, we'll probably have to wait until weigh-in to know how he did today.

-- Kyle Carter


3:09
PM ET
John Crews is making a case for the Venice run as well. He's just reported in with 20-12 for the day, giving 34-10 total and placing him in third.

He braved the run and is currently headed back.

That puts three Venice guys in the top six and three of the top six from Lake Cat.

KVD leads with 36-7
Chapman is second with 35-8
Crews is third with 34-10
Rook is fourth with 31-8
Remitz is fifth with 30-7
Klein is sixth with 27-3

Still a lot of time left.

-- Steve Bowman


3:02
PM ET
One thing to note. These weights are completely unofficial. Many of them are the best guesses of the Marshal. Often it's the pro telling the Marshal, "that's a 2-pounder, when actually it was a 3-pounder."

They aren't lying, they just don't want to big eye them. Some feel like it's a jinx.

Sometimes the end results are accurate, sometimes they are way off.

It's the nature of the game. We went into yesterday's weigh-in with both Rook and KVD swearing they had 16 to 17 pounds. I questioned them both, virtually calling them sandbaggers. They insisted. The jinx thing you know. Not to mention no one wants to ever say they have more than they really do, unless it's a fish story that can't be verified.

Both of those guys had 19 pounds and small change. KVD and Rook are now in second and third place, with 14 and 12, respectively, today. But I will bet a box of Sexy Shads that each of them has at least a little more than that.

Chapman on the other hand is the most honest guy out there. I doubt he can lie, even about fishing or deer hunting. He may actually have 17 to 18 pounds, or he could be just plain wrong and have more than that.

Same with Remitz, same with Klein.

These guys are mental giants when it comes to reading water and making casts, get them to start guessing weights and the inherent qualities of just telling a fish story (which they've been doing all their life) measured against the professionalism of not being an over-exaggerator in the professional realm of bass angling and you get a mix of guesses that looks something like Chinese arithmetic.

Either way, none of it matters until green flesh hits the scales. It just gives us an idea of who to look for during that time.

At the moment, that is Chapman, KVD, Rook, Remitz and Klein.

And during that diatribe, KVD busts out with 17-4 and re-takes the lead with 36-7.

See what I mean?

-- Steve Bowman


2:55
PM ET

We have a new leader!

Our latest BASSTrakk unofficial updates shows that Brent Chapman has taken over the lead.

When the anglers returning from Venice came into range, Chapman took over and Klein made a big jump.

Pl.Angler NameTotal  Live Well Today Culled 
  CaughtWeightBackCaughtWeightCaughtWeightCountWeight
1BRENT CHAPMAN *1035 lbs 8 oz--517 lbs 8 oz517 lbs 8 oz00 lbs 0 oz
2KEVIN VANDAM *1033 lbs 7 oz2 lbs 1 oz514 lbs 4 oz717 lbs 6 oz23 lbs 2 oz
3SCOTT ROOK *1031 lbs 8 oz4 lbs 0 oz512 lbs 2 oz613 lbs 8 oz11 lbs 6 oz
4DEREK REMITZ *1030 lbs 7 oz5 lbs 1 oz517 lbs 8 oz517 lbs 8 oz00 lbs 0 oz
5GARY KLEIN *1027 lbs 3 oz8 lbs 5 oz514 lbs 12 oz616 lbs 12 oz12 lbs 0 oz
6BRANDON PALANIUK *1026 lbs 12 oz8 lbs 12 oz512 lbs 2 oz512 lbs 2 oz00 lbs 0 oz
7BOBBY LANE *1026 lbs 10 oz8 lbs 14 oz59 lbs 14 oz59 lbs 14 oz00 lbs 0 oz
8AARON MARTENS *824 lbs 15 oz10 lbs 9 oz34 lbs 8 oz34 lbs 8 oz00 lbs 0 oz
9KEVIN WIRTH *822 lbs 13 oz12 lbs 11 oz38 lbs 11 oz38 lbs 11 oz00 lbs 0 oz
10MORIZO SHIMIZU *1022 lbs 2 oz13 lbs 6 oz512 lbs 2 oz1320 lbs 9 oz88 lbs 7 oz

Get complete standings


2:43
PM ET
The run down south is starting to pay off for those who braved the fog.

Brent Chapman just reported in with a limit that weighs in around 18 pounds. That puts him in the lead with 35-8, more than 2 pounds ahead of KVD.

He's fueled up and headed back. These little nuggets from the Venice Crew will just keeping adding spice to already interesting bowl of gumbo.

Lot of folks were doubting the wisdom of this run a couple of hours ago, now we see why these guys made the gamble.

More to come I'm sure.

-- Steve Bowman


2:40
PM ET
We're off the water and headed back to new orleans. The anglers down here are starting to make their way back. There should be clear running once they clear the mississippi river, which still has a curtain of fog this afternoon.

-- Trey Reid


2:27
PM ET

Our latest BASSTrakk unofficial updates have KVD in the lead. Go figure.

Derek Remitz has made a big move and stands in second with Scott Rook third. Aaron Martens should climb if he finishes his limit, possibly ahead of the Fed Nation's Brandon Palaniuk, who's currently in fourth.

Pl.Angler NameTotal  Live Well Today Culled 
  CaughtWeightBackCaughtWeightCaughtWeightCountWeight
1KEVIN VANDAM *1031 lbs 11 oz--512 lbs 8 oz512 lbs 8 oz00 lbs 0 oz
2DEREK REMITZ *1030 lbs 7 oz1 lbs 4 oz517 lbs 8 oz517 lbs 8 oz00 lbs 0 oz
3SCOTT ROOK *1029 lbs 6 oz2 lbs 5 oz510 lbs 0 oz510 lbs 0 oz00 lbs 0 oz
4BRANDON PALANIUK *1026 lbs 12 oz4 lbs 15 oz512 lbs 2 oz512 lbs 2 oz00 lbs 0 oz
5BOBBY LANE *1026 lbs 10 oz5 lbs 1 oz59 lbs 14 oz59 lbs 14 oz00 lbs 0 oz
6AARON MARTENS *824 lbs 15 oz6 lbs 12 oz34 lbs 8 oz34 lbs 8 oz00 lbs 0 oz
7MORIZO SHIMIZU *1021 lbs 10 oz10 lbs 1 oz511 lbs 10 oz1117 lbs 10 oz66 lbs 0 oz
8BOYD DUCKETT *821 lbs 0 oz10 lbs 11 oz37 lbs 4 oz37 lbs 4 oz00 lbs 0 oz
9TOMMY BIFFLE *720 lbs 5 oz11 lbs 6 oz27 lbs 0 oz27 lbs 0 oz00 lbs 0 oz
10BRIAN SNOWDEN *1020 lbs 0 oz11 lbs 11 oz59 lbs 8 oz711 lbs 14 oz22 lbs 6 oz
Get complete standings.


2:25
PM ET
Another good bass for KVD. He is legitimately on fire. Rook and Remitz are in close proximity to him.

-- Pete Robbins


2:22
PM ET
Gary Klein and Bobby Lane are making a case that those who said it couldn't be done aren't prophets after all.

Even though it doesn't seem that way, there's only a few hours left in this. Tracking indicates Klein is on his way back, which is probably why he's just busted on the scene.

We may start to see even more of those moves as we go along. One thing's for certain, it's getting more interesting by the moment. Our Day One leader, Aaron Martens, is still struggling a bit. He has three that are in the 4-8 range. We think that is a light estimate. But regardless he can still make a move and he has at least two hours to do it.

Bobby Lane, Pace, and Klein are probably starting to head home, with their day basically done, or getting close to done in fishing time terms.

-- Steve Bowman


2:20
PM ET

Another fish for KVD. He is dialed in. Unfortunately it didn't help him.

Wait. Yet another. Unfortunately it was a crappie -- or sac au lait.

Right afterward Scott Rook landed a quality bass within spitting distance of Kevin. Turnabout is fair play.

-- Pete Robbins


2:18
PM ET
More reports coming in from Venice. Bobby Lane has a limit at about 10 pounds, moving him into the top five with 26-10.

Martens is stuck on three. And as soon as that's written, KVD jumps into the lead with his limit of 13 pounds.

That gives him 32-3. Remitz is second, Rook is third, Palaniuk is fourth and Lane is fifth.

And before I could get that done, Gary Klein jumped into the mix. Knock those last two down a notch.

Klein has 14-12 for 27-3 and has moved to fourth place.

Holy Cow, things are changing rapidly. Wish we had a couple more hours for all of this to develop.

-- Steve Bowman


2:12
PM ET
Mini-flurry from KVD. They must be slapping his bait because he missed a couple before putting a good one in the boat. Perhaps not so coincidentally, we've got some overcast conditions now.

-- Pete Robbins


2:09
PM ET
We don't know the weight yet, but Cliff Pace has captured a limit.

That comes from Chaise Livingston, our Marshal with Dave Wolak.

Wolak currently has three that weigh in around 4-12, and he's climbing the ranks with 17 and change.

But part of the report includes some Pace information. BASSTrakk isn't registering for Pace, but he has been "catching them pretty good," according to Livingston.

That could mean anywhere from 10 to the 15-7 he had yesterday, or even more. BASSTrakk will update and we'll get a clearer picture.

But if Pace has 10 pounds, that would put him in at least fifth place at the moment. Depending on how much weight he has, then he could be even higher.

-- Steve Bowman


2:05
PM ET

KVD just caught what appeard to be a fairly small keeper. He put a float on it but did not cull. This is the first fish catch we've seen in a while. -- Pete Robbins


1:58
PM ET

Shaking it up. Don't expect these unofficial standings to look this way after the weigh-in.

They are unofficial, but with a limit Scott Rook has taken the lead for the time being. KVD hasn't filled his out.

It appears Derek Remitz is the big charger of the day so far.

Pl.Angler NameTotal  Live Well Today Culled 
  CaughtWeightBackCaughtWeightCaughtWeightCountWeight
1SCOTT ROOK *1029 lbs 6 oz--510 lbs 0 oz510 lbs 0 oz00 lbs 0 oz
2KEVIN VANDAM *827 lbs 1 oz2 lbs 5 oz37 lbs 14 oz37 lbs 14 oz00 lbs 0 oz
3DEREK REMITZ *924 lbs 7 oz4 lbs 15 oz411 lbs 8 oz411 lbs 8 oz00 lbs 0 oz
4AARON MARTENS *722 lbs 15 oz6 lbs 7 oz22 lbs 8 oz22 lbs 8 oz00 lbs 0 oz
5BRANDON PALANIUK *821 lbs 12 oz7 lbs 10 oz37 lbs 2 oz37 lbs 2 oz00 lbs 0 oz
Get complete standings.


1:54
PM ET

Brandon Palaniuk has unseated Aaron from the top four at the moment.

He has a 12-pound limit that gives him 26-12. Again the Fed guys are making a showing.

One thing to note about Remitz. He caught a 5-pounder earlier and followed that up with a 6-pounder. Two fish for 11 pounds s impressive. But if you are a weight counter, then that leaves three 2-pound class fish. Another good 4- to 5-pound fish or three 3-pound bites and he really starts building, and he has almost three hours to fish.

-- Steve Bowman


1:46
PM ET

Those giants we just talked about have bit the big four. Remitz just landed a 6-pounder that gives him 17-8 for the day and 30-7 overall.

That is in the lead. Rook is now second with 29-6; KVD in third with 27-1 and Aaron is fourth with 24-15 (he just added his third).

Those guys are starting to pull away from the pack.

-- Steve Bowman


1:44
PM ET

Here is an example of just how quickly things can change.

Russ Lane zeroed yesterday, crazy I know. But it happens.

Today, though, he's boated four keepers already. One of those in the 8-pound range and he has about 14 pounds.

That currently puts him in the top 25. Don't know if he can stay there. But two things to note.

He's fishing in Lake Cat, so there is obviously some giants swimming around in there. One bite like that with any of our top four anglers and it could be lights out.

It also shows us that there could still be some big moves from anglers who we previously thought were out of the game.

-- Steve Bowman


1:42
PM ET

Apparently the boat traffic doesn't completely shut down the fish. Martens has a bunch of spectators around him and he hooked and landed a bass that ate right at the boat. He has worked away from his primary stretches from yesterday.

-- Pete Robbins


1:35
PM ET

A guy we know only as "Richard" is our Marshal with Kelly Jordon. They just now got to their spot, through all the "bad" fog and have started fishing.

Jordon said they will only have an hour and a half to catch what they can and then head back.

-- Steve Bowman


1:31
PM ET

There was either a glitch in BASSTrakk or a glitch in my brain. I'm not as young as I once was, and since I can do it, I'm blaming BASSTrakk, but Aaron Martens stringer isn't quite as big as I said earlier.

He only has two; they weigh around 2-8 for about 22-15 overall.

I had him higher than that for some reason. But the main thing is he's building a limit and obviously refuses to go down without a fight. The three giants I've been referring to all morning should probably be four giants, including Remitz.

Those four sit atop the leaderboard and all are within a few casts of other.

Meanwhile, Mark Davis has built a limit around 8 pounds, but it's probably too little too late unless he sacks some really big heads. Same for Brian Snowden who has a 10-pound limit and sits in 10th place at the moment.

The Venice guys, for lack of a better expression, are lost in the fog.

Those still in the top 10 without a catch are Brent Chapman and Bobby Lane. Several others are showing zeroes that will certainly move into place if they actually get much fishing in and get back with a good catch.

Right now, though, it's all Lake Cat.

-- Steve Bowman


1:25
PM ET

We just added another photo gallery from this morning's launch here.

-- Nathan Benson


1:22
PM ET

There's a spectator fishing around 20 yards from Martens, throwing a chrome/blue lipless crank. Aaron said something to him but we couldn't make out exactly what. There's a constant stream of patter from him aimed at his cameraman or just to himself.

— Pete Robbins


1:19
PM ET

The fog is very thick out toward the Mississippi River. So much so that Rob Russow and Doug Cox aren't even going to try and find anyone because it would be a futile effort. Russow said the anglers haven't been able to go faster than idle and can barely get on plane.

Even with the delay, a lot of guys decided to make the trip, but they are going slow. There are almost no camera boats and no spectator boats following them. Russow said the camera boats are sitting back at the marina. He also said it's probably not clearing up by the end of the day, which means these guys have to navigate in, catch their limit, and navigate out in an hour and a half.

This goes back to what we've been talking about all week. Once you make a decision on this body of water, you're pretty much locked into it — even if that decision led you to a thick patch of fog. These guys basically have the choice to idle through the fog to their spot or go hang out at the marina with the cameramen.

But that's the risk everyone knew they were taking when they locked into Venice. This fog didn't show up out of the blue. It was something everyone knew could happen, and they made a decision weighing risk and reward.

Still, even with all this, if Bobby Lane or Brent Chapman can boat a decent limit and stay within sight of the leaders, then get a clear day tomorrow — Venice might still be a factor in this tournament.

But that's a lot of ifs and maybes.

— Kyle Carter


1:14
PM ET

The reason there are so many anglers stacked into Lake Cat is so many of the anglers, like KVD, were adamant that you could not make it three days straight to Venice.

There are too many things that can go wrong. Their predictions might be proven correct in just the second day of this event.

While the fog has certainly cleared in the Segnette area, it's remains thick in the Venice area. McClelland has gone down with a lower unit, which normally means something was hit.

Bobby Lane and Brent Chapman are no doubt battling the same mental toughness games we talked about earlier with the three giants in Lake Cat. But their battle is with their wits and courage in a foggy situation. And they only have a little more than an hour to sack what they need then get back through that.

I'm sure they are thinking it will clear by then. But if it doesn't, then the Lake Cat boys will certainly look like prophets.

We're crossing our fingers that these guys get there and get back with little issues.

-- Steve Bowman


1:14
PM ET

The reason there are so many anglers stacked into Lake Cat is so many of the anglers, like KVD, were adamant that you could not make it three days straight to Venice.

There are too many things that can go wrong. Their predictions might be proven correct in just the second day of this event.

While the fog has certainly cleared in the Segnette area, it's remains thick in the Venice area. McClelland has gone down with a lower unit, which normally means something was hit.

Bobby Lane and Brent Chapman are no doubt battling the same mental toughness games we talked about earlier with the three giants in Lake Cat. But their battle is with their wits and courage in a foggy situation. And they only have a little more than an hour to sack what they need then get back through that.

I'm sure they are thinking it will clear by then. But if it doesn't, then the Lake Cat boys will certainly look like prophets.

We're crossing our fingers that these guys get there and get back with little issues.

-- Steve Bowman


1:12
PM ET

On the way back to Venice Marina, Mike McClelland limped past us with a busted lower unit. McClelland said he hit something on the way to his fishing spot.

Unlike many of the anglers, who raced straight into the foggy Mississippi River, McClelland headed the other direction from the gas dock, presumably to fish an area closer to the marina.

-- Trey Reid


1:09
PM ET

Rook has finished his limit, the first of the three giants circling each other. But Martens and KVD are adding fish as well.

Rook has 10 pounds for 29-6 total

KVD's three are around 7 pounds, which puts him at 26 and change. Martens has four that are 6-14 which seems light, but that gives him 27-5.

Things are happening in Lake Cat.

Meanwhile in Venice the fog is terribly thick, so much so that keeping up with anyone can't happen at the moment. You can see some of Trey Reid's video reports. They will be up soon.

We do know that Mike McClelland has suffered lower unit damage. How it happened we don't know yet, but he is limping into Venice Marina. We'll have a report soon.

-- Steve Bowman


1:06
PM ET

Per Robbie Floyd
KVD 3 for 9
Rook 5 for 10
Remitz 5 fish
Martens 2 for 3

-- Pete Robbins


1:03
PM ET

Here is the first set of BASSTrakk standings. Remember that they are unofficial.

Pl.Angler NameTotal  Live Well Today Culled 
  CaughtWeightBackCaughtWeightCaughtWeightCountWeight
1SCOTT ROOK *1029 lbs 6 oz--510 lbs 0 oz510 lbs 0 oz00 lbs 0 oz
2DEREK REMITZ *924 lbs 7 oz4 lbs 15 oz411 lbs 8 oz411 lbs 8 oz00 lbs 0 oz
3BOYD DUCKETT *821 lbs 0 oz8 lbs 6 oz37 lbs 4 oz37 lbs 4 oz00 lbs 0 oz
4MORIZO SHIMIZU *1020 lbs 12 oz8 lbs 10 oz510 lbs 12 oz612 lbs 3 oz11 lbs 7 oz
5KEVIN VANDAM *620 lbs 11 oz8 lbs 11 oz11 lbs 8 oz11 lbs 8 oz00 lbs 0 oz

View complete list


12:53
PM ET

The fog is gone. Turns out Gerald Swindle was fishing the periphery of this pond, but just as soon as we could see him he strapped his gear down and left.

-- Pete Robbins


12:48
PM ET

KVD is working with his cull floats in the distance, so we can't tell quite what's going on. Overstreet said, "Apparently the sun and the fog clearing has really improved the fishing — or maybe it's just that we can see them catching them now."

-- Pete Robbins


12:45
PM ET

Typically the idea in these tournaments where we get a constant flow of information from the water, you should beware the early limit that weighs 10 pounds — like the one Shimizu has now, putting him unofficially in fourth place.

But on this significantly shortened day, where half the field is running hundreds of miles to a dark, foggy place to fish for maybe an hour and then try to run back — a 10-pound limit in the boat is a big deal.

There's zero time to make a mistake in Venice, and precious little time everywhere else.

-- Kyle Carter


12:45
PM ET

Every once in a while the boredom is punctuated with brief periods of excitement. Aaron just hauled a 2+ into the boat, certainly didn't baby it like Remitz did his. No sooner did it go in the box than Rook caught one that appeared (from a distance) to be its twin.

-- Pete Robbins


12:39
PM ET

It's interesting to note that the two limits that have been boated thus far are nowhere near Lake Cat.

Grigsby's limit is from Salvador Wildlife Management area, just west of Lake Salvador. Morizo's is just east of there in some small, almost indistinguishable canals.

They've obviously figured out something. It might be too little, too late. But with the pressure in Lake Cat, you never know.

-- Steve Bowman


12:34
PM ET

Remitz's grass-covered bass gives him three in the boat for a total of 8-8 on the day and 21-7 overall.

That puts him in second. Rook's still in first with 25-10. Morizo is third, KVD is fourth and Aaron is still fishless but in fifth.

Federation Nation champion Brandon Palaniuk has two for 5-3 and sits in sixth place, yet another Fed guy making a showing in this event.

Venice guys are gassing up or are gassed up and they could start making some moves of their own.

Evers' Marshall, Tim DeRoche, reports that Evers is getting some bites but is having trouble hooking up. Those guys in Lake Cat are still fogged in. Once the sun burns through, those bites might start to be more aggressive.

-- Steve Bowman


12:29
PM ET

Bassmaster photographer James Overstreet sets the scene at the spot that produced first, second and third place on Friday.

-- Kyle Carter


12:29
PM ET

Remitz just caught another good one, although it was hard to tell just how good from a respectful distance, especially because it came into the boat wadded up in a bunch of grass.

-- Pete Robbins


12:26
PM ET

Shaw Grigsby goes into the "limit" folder. He's just checked in with five that total 6-9, giving him 15-12 overall and an 11th-place standing.

Grigsby will be one of those fighting to stay in the top 25 and fish on Sunday. One, he loves to fish; two, he wants to walk across that stage and promote his sponsors. As long as he's been in the game, he understands how to keep the names on his shirt happy.

Trey Reid and Rob Russow are reporting that the Venice crew has arrived. They will soon add some insight on how Bobby Lane and Brent Chapman, as well as others, are doing.

-- Steve Bowman


12:20
PM ET

The spectators complied with the anglers' request and have pushed back away — all except for one guy who has complied with the letter but not the spirit of the request. He's not on top of the pros but he's casting out of the back of the boat. The sun is getting strong, but it has yet to have a meaningful impact on the fog.

-- Pete Robbins


12:18
PM ET

It would be interesting to get a glimpse into the mind of Aaron Martens right now.

Anytime would be good. The guy is a fishing genius.

But it would be really cool to know what he is thinking and saying to himself right now. Rook has a good start on him. VanDam has a keeper. Others are around him and catching fish and there are several spectator boats close by.

Some folks would call it gut check time, but it's not quite to that point yet. But the mental focus of dealing with that has to be compelling to watch.

-- Steve Bowman


12:14
PM ET

Rook and VanDam have requested that the numerous spectators move off the sweet spot and back toward the bulkheads. It's tougher to get a sense of where you are, due to the fog, but that doesn't necessarily justify drifting in on top of the prime areas.

-- Pete Robbins


12:14
PM ET

Two photo galleries are up from this morning's launch here.

-- Nathan Benson


12:14
PM ET

Rook has added a fourth keeper. BASSTrakk says they are about 6-4, which seems light for the type fish those guys were catching yesterday.

We're guessing a little sandbagging. But that gives him 25-10. Meanwhile, Boyd Duckett has another. Two keepers at 4-14, gives him 18-10 total and puts him in sixth place.

-- Steve Bowman


12:11
PM ET

Derek Remitz has added a 2 1/2-pounder to his total, slipping him into a virtual tie with Martens in fourth place with 20-7 overall.

Rook is still at the top of the heap with his three keepers for the day and 23-8 overall.

Morizo is a few pounds back with a limit and 20-12, while VanDam is in third with 20-11.

Not a lot of movement in the top of the standings. Obvious that the Lake Cat boys are getting a head start.

-- Steve Bowman


12:06
PM ET

Sitting here and watching this unfold, the amazing thing is the size of this fishery. Something like 3,700 miles of fishable water.

A man could get lost out there and never be found. It takes hours to cross at 60 to 70 miles an hour, and 15 of the competitors seem to be all sitting in each other's laps in Lake Cat.

-- Steve Bowman


12:02
PM ET

Chaise Livingston just reported in. He's the Marshal with Dave Wolak. Earlier they were leading the flotilla headed to Venice.

Wolak is currently at the lock at Empire that will put him into the Mississippi River. We have no idea where he's going. Delecroix seems out of reach today. The Mississippi River with it's cooler water temps is likely still blanketed in fog.

As long as our Marshal has service, we should be able to keep an eye on that.

-- Steve Bowman


12:00
PM ET

Anglers found interesting ways to pass the time until the fog lifted this morning. Mike Iaconelli was seen teaching the LSU fishing team how to break dance after hauling in a big fish. "There's an 8-pounder!" Ike hollered, as the Fishing Tigers akwardly flopped around on the ground. Each shout of a big bass brought more broken breakdances. One angler's shades even flipped into the water until a teammate rescued them mid-headspin before being claimed by Segnette's murky water. Be sure to get to the New Orleans Arena early tomorrow, when the Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide weigh their catches on the Bassmaster Classic stage at 3:30 CT.

-- David Hunter Jones


11:58
AM ET

Pete Robbins says that Lake Cat is as calm as glass.

At present he can't see Aaron, although he's close. But KVD, Rook, Combs and Remitz are all right there in sight along with 19 spectator boats.

-- Steve Bowman


11:56
AM ET

Morizo came to play today. He has the first limit of the day at 10-12 and is in second with 20-12.

Morizo is not in Lake Cat. He's to the south of it in some of the short canals we've been hearing about all week.

-- Steve Bowman


11:53
AM ET

Well, we are headed out into the fog to intercept the anglers as they are fueling up. We hope to see Bobby Lane and stick with him, while Trey Reid and Jerry Cunningham will follow Brent Chapman. It's so foggy and the marsh is such a maze that it would be impossible to see anything if we were blindly searching.

There is still a little time before the anglers reach the gas stop, but you can bet they don't have patience for much wasted time. On a shortened day, the importance of every cast, every decision and every mistake is amplified.

We hope to catch every moment today.

-- Rob Russow


11:53
AM ET

Some of the anglers should be arriving in Venice soon, but it doesn't look like it's going to get any easier in terms of fog.

Check out this photo of Venice taken by Doug Cox at 11:30 ET, and the video below, which was shot a little before that. (See more videos on BASSCam).

-- Kyle Carter


11:53
AM ET

Ike is all in.

"This is the Classic. You've got to take some chances. On paper it might not be the best idea for me to make a long run again (with the delay), and it may not be the smartest thing to do, but I'd rather go fish for 20 pounds and the win than an easy 13," he said.

-- David Hunter Jones


11:53
AM ET

Scott Rook reported that fishing so close to KVD and Aaron Martens on Day 1 made for a tense day on the water.

"You can get shook up pretty easily out there," he said. "We were all in the same area, and Aaron had four in the boat before I even had a bite. It's frustrating watching others catching fish; you've got to block it out.

"But, I think there are more coming in because the area is a giant spawning flat, and they're fixing to start spawning soon," he said.

-- David Hunter Jones


11:53
AM ET

After running 250 miles on Day 1 and zeroing, Clark Reehm has adjusted his gameplan. He can't justify the gas expense of running back to his spot and risking another blank. He reasons that if he stays close, he'll save money and be able to keep more of his $10,000 prize (the lowest Classic payout).

"I figure I'm going to kick around here and stay out of everyone's way. I'll need 24 or 25 pounds to compete, which is doable, but not likely," he said. "I need all the money I can get to pay for diapers and entry fees. I'm going to Lewisville next week (for the first Central Open)."

-- David Hunter Jones


11:53
AM ET

Each year the Classic draws numerous celebrities. Notable for this year is New Orleans Saints placekicker Garrett Hartley, who helped the Saints to their first-ever Super Bowl win in 2010. However, among the 50 world-class anglers at launch this morning was a world-record class angler: Manabu Kurita.

In 2009, Kurita wrangled a 22-4 largemouth from Japan's Lake Biwa. His catch has drawn more attention to him than he ever imagined. It has earned him a sponsorship with Skeeter and Yamaha, and Yamaha has brought him and the mount of his bass to the Expo. Kurita was found milling about the crowd this morning at Bayou Segnette.

"This is a wonderful event," he said about the launch. "Something like this could never happen in Japan because bass are an invasive species and not well-liked. Japanese bass anglers would love this."

Stop by the Yamaha booth today and check out him and his fish.

"My hand was hurting after yesterday because I signed so many autographs," he said.

-- David Hunter Jones


11:52
AM ET

Derek Remitz's fish actually shows up as 5-pounder on BASSTrakk. That gives him 17-15 and puts him in fifth place. Those are the kind of fish that can really make the difference for anyone in this event. No doubt Remitz is feeling pretty good at the moment. A solid limit to go with that and he makes a big move. A couple like that and he's in a position to run at the title.

Morizo has added a fourth. He has 7 pounds and 17-4 overall. Duckett has added a 2-pounder and moved up, which is surprising. He actually caught a lot of his fish south of Venice. A quick check and we see he is in Lake Cataouatche (Since I always misspell that, it will forever be called Lake Cat in my blogs).

No other movement from the three giants circling each other. No reports if the late start has added any new anglers in their area or around the edges. Boat traffic, even if they aren't fishing, in such a shallow environment can cause all kinds of problems. But there were a lot of boats in there yesterday.

-- Steve Bowman


11:42
AM ET

Evers has his first keeper, a 2-pounder that eases him up the standings. He is in Lake Cataouatche as well, where we watched him in practice.

Soon as that comes across, Morizo Shimizu boats three keepers real quick. He has about 5-2 for the day and 15 overall. But that quickly vaults him into the unofficial top 10. And Brandon Palaniuk boated a 2-8 that gives him 17-2 and slides him in the 10.

Once again, the initial hour is slow. Those who stayed close are trying to settle in, the others are running. No other catches to report at the moment.

-- Steve Bowman


11:38
AM ET

Just watched through the fog as Remitz landed what we guessed to be a 4-pounder.

-- Pete Robbins


11:34
AM ET

Rook keeps adding to his total. He now has three fish that weigh in around 4 pounds. KVD has added his first, just a keeper. But it puts him ahead of Martens by a few ounces.

That's not good for Martens. He got off to a fast start yesterday. If Rook and KVD start ganging up on the fish and he doesn't, Martens could start talking to himself. Of those in this pack, he has probably put the most pressure on himself, along with some other things flowing around his life at the moment.

-- Steve Bowman


11:29
AM ET

We can see 20+ boats in here — competitors, media and spectators. No telling how many are here hiding in the midst. We just saw KVD boat one. Scuttlebutt is that Rook has three.

-- Pete Robbins


11:29
AM ET

Chaise Livingston, Dave Wolak's Marshal, must have amazingly nimble fingers. He's texting while they are running from Segenette to Venice.

Livingston simply states: "We are leading the pack. Wolak thinks he will have one hour to fish once he gets there."

-- Steve Bowman


11:24
AM ET

Rook got there first and already has his first keeper, a 2-12 solid fish. That puts him in the lead of this event by more than a pound. And may be a valuable catch in more ways than one.

-- Steve Bowman


11:23
AM ET

This game has started. Again, a big portion of the field is running. Another part of the field is poking around. They are virtually out of this contest and are trying to stay out of the way.

The big difference today will be played out in two ways:

The first — how quickly the Venice contingent can get south and actually catch the fish they have found. Time is their biggest enemy all of the sudden.

And secondly — how will the triumvirate of Aaron, KVD and Rook fare? KVD assured me yesterday that the Classic would be won in their spot. Who would win it, he didn't know. But he said one of them would. Obviously there are fish in there. And it just takes time to catch them. Aaron got their first yesterday and had the biggest sack. Rook didn't start catching his until later. He gets there first today. Chances are no other angler would ever dare go near the three as they circle each other all day.

That has been their big concern: others moving in on them. But really their biggest battles will all be upstairs in their heads. While fish will be caught and weights calculated and stringers laid on the scale just like every Classic. The biggest thing that will be really evident in this one like no other is the mental aspect of this game.

KVD plays it so well. So do Rook and Aaron. It must be tough to stay focused while one of them is stroking them, and the others have to watch and grind out their own bites.

As today progresses, remember the when a bite was made and not the how it was caught. That could play a big role in a shortened day that has these three breathing down each other's necks.

-- Steve Bowman


11:21
AM ET

We just arrived at the Tank Pond after a hairy ride through some heavy fog. There are a bunch of spectators here — using that term loosely because you can't see much.

Our driver, James Kennedy, believes that some of the guys going to Venice either won't make it there or won't make it back.

-- Pete Robbins


11:18
AM ET

"It's Day 2 of the Bassmaster Classic, and I like my chances even though I'm sitting in third," says Kevin VanDam in his Classic blog for today. Check it out.

-- Nathan Benson


11:06
AM ET

Despite worrying about some added traffic around his area, Aaron Martens won't change much. He has the lead at the 2011 Classic after all.

"Same as yesterday. Not much changed," he said at the dock before launching. He hopes local anglers haven't beat up the area too badly, but he said that was considered.

"It's all a factor. It's all going to play into how we catch them. I expected it. Fishing there, knowing the weekend was coming, I knew it was a gamble. It's paid off so far."

He said the Venice brigade has to be concerned about their fishing time, but he's concerned some won't make the run and crowd the community hole in the Tank Pond he's sharing with second-place Scott Rook and third-place KVD.

"Me and Kevin, we were swapping baits all day yesterday. Kevin was like, they won't eat this," Martens said. "The average fish is nice. Kevin caught a 9 in there in practice. That's where they're at. All the big ones that you hear about caught in this place, I think come out of that lake. I caught a 5-9 yesterday, but one of us could stick a 10."

That would prove to be a difference-maker. Martens caught a 5-9 Friday he had to work off a stump, another one of his concerns as they are loaded with line-cutting barnacles.

"The stumps are tall, too," he said. "The 5-9, I hooked it, it pulled really hard and ran me right into a stump. It just let off a little bit and I lifted it off the stump."

He said Rook was fortunate that he was able to move over a stump to get a fish unhung from a stump.

With three runner-up finishes in Classic, Martens was asked if he could hold on to this one.

"I don't know. I'm staying mellow. Mellow yellow," he said. " This fog delay puts a little anxiety into everybody."

-- Mike Suchan


10:55
AM ET

The last angler just pulled away!!

The average run down to Venice is two hours. If you're pushing it, like Ike, it can be done in less, but if you're running all the way out to the Gulf like a few of these guys, it can be as much as 2.5 hours.

We think a lot of anglers are still going to go. At this point, if you're not established in the KVD/Rook/Martens hole, Venice may be the only option. Even if that means only fishing for an hour. It will take some guts to adjust in the middle of this thing try something completely new, and most of these guys making the run have been locked into Venice for a week (maybe months).

There were some decent bags pulled out of Venice yesterday, but with all the elements affecting the run coupled with the bigger bags caught close to the ramp, it's looking like a lot of guys are going to get stuck in the Venice fog trap.

-- Kyle Carter


10:49
AM ET

THE ANGLERS ARE IDLING AWAY FROM BAYOU SEGNETTE!!!

Repeat. We have liftoff.

With the shortened day, Aaron Martens is concerned that some anglers who might otherwise have gone to Venice will come in and crowd the leaders. He said that even if they're 300 yards away it'll still negatively impact the fishing.

Brent Chapman had set 9:45 as the drop dead time for going to Venice. He said he had an area closer, but didn't seem thrilled about it. First boat went out precisely at the witching hour -- the local gas stations should be pleased.

Skeet Reese believes that Venice has 20-pound potential but that 25 would be a big stretch. "I'm surprised there weren't more 15- to 18-pounds bags from down there," he said as he threw creature baits to the crowd.

-- Pete Robbins


10:46
AM ET

Bobby Lane's cameraman Brian Mason said Lane's run to Venice would made if they launched before 10 a.m. The Venice convey will happen. If they didn't launch before 10, Lane said he wouldn't have minded the entire day being cancelled.

-- Mike Suchan


10:45
AM ET

About 30 minutes ago, the fog looked like it was clearing up. The sun was shining and we could actually see the marina, which is about 100 yards away. Then, another bank of fog blew through and conditions look just as bad as it was earlier. We are sitting tight for now, but even if they launch, it will be poor navigation this side of the Delta.

-- Rob Russow


10:42
AM ET

It was just announced that there will be a launch. The boats are to leave at 10:45 ET.

The singing of the nation anthem just finished.

-- Mike Suchan


10:15
AM ET

Can't imagine what is going through the anglers' mind at this time. Dave Mercer just got back on the PA system to try to entertain the fans, but Swindle just performed a comedy routine.

The angst of all those who hope to win this Classic has got to have them frazzled.

We're kind of getting that way, too. We'd sure like to bring you fishing today, but there has been no sign of the sun burning through this fog. Yesterday a hazy globe appeared over the water and not long after you could see some blue coming through directly above.

That's not happening yet today. This fog hasn't started breaking at all. It's closer to an hour and half before this thing would be called, and everyone here is rather antsey.

Rob just wrote how he's itching to blog. Yes, it's that sad.

We sure hope to give you some fishing today, but in the meantime you could go over yesterday's competition through our photo galleries and stories. We've got some video going on as well.


-- Mike Suchan


10:06
AM ET

Just like these anglers are ready to start fishing, I'm ready to start blogging. This fog has got me all antsy.

My fingers keep twitching and I frequently pull out my Blackberry and start typing an e-mail only to realize I'm still stuck on shore. All you can do at this point, angler or blogger, is visualize your day: every letter pushed firmly, each word spelled correctly and punctuation (the hardest part of Blackberry blogging).

It's a waiting game, but in my mind, I'm starting to question my decision to make the run to Venice. Maybe good news is just around the corner.

-- Rob Russow


9:58
AM ET

Although it's all speculation at this point, it probably bears saying that in the case of a cancelled day, this Classic will go in the books as a two-day event.

Sunday, instead of cutting to the final 25, all the anglers would fish and the guy at the top of the heap at the end of the day would walk away with the trophy.

That is not the preferred path for anyone. It might be one of those "if only" things if we fish today and the leader doesn't win on Sunday, which happens.

But that won't come into consideration. As Trip said earlier, the only consideration at the moment is the safety of the anglers.

-- Steve Bowman


9:55
AM ET

OK guys, by now you know the results from yesterday, the first day of competition. I had about as good a day as a guy can ask for in this business except that I didn't catch big enough bass. It's a killer disappointment. More
-- Mike Iaconelli


9:53
AM ET

Check out Hooked Up! Live from the Toyota booth at the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo presented by Dick's Sporting Goods. Hooked Up!


9:46
AM ET

Steve Kennedy has reassessed his plan to go to Venice. He'll fish near where he was yesterday, in the same lake as the leaders but an ample distance away.

While he might soak a Kinami Flash, he also has a bunch of swimbaits tied on -- both soft plastic hollow bellies and some of the big old California hard baits.

-- Pete Robbins

9:46
AM ET

The fog is obviously much thicker today than yesterday. We were under way by this time. But today we are still sitting and waiting for an oppressive fog to start to lift. No positive signs yet.

Already more than an hour and a half past take off time, you have to start thinking about the implications if it goes much longer.

According to Trip Weldon, if it's still too unsafe to run at 11 a.m., chances are the day will be cancelled. I have no idea if that will move everything over to a Monday final or if everything will be on the line Sunday.

Right now, we don't have to know those things. We have a couple hours to see what will happen. We're crossing our fingers that this blanket will soon burn off.

-- Steve Bowman


9:44
AM ET

If he can't fish, Edwin Evers will admire fish that others are catching. Friends down at Falcon Lake are texting him pictures of multiple 7 and 8 pounders they've already caught today. They had a 10-plus yesterday. Either there's no fog in south Texas or else they're very brave.

-- Pete Robbins


9:41
AM ET

Chris Bonner and Justin Simmons waited anxiously to launch their boat at Bayou Segnette.

Who are they? Just a couple B.A.S.S. fans who wanted to get on the water to watch whoever.

"I like watching them all. Everybody does something different," said Bonner, who towed his boat from Milton, Fla. The two skipped muzzleloader deer season to take in the Classic to "say we did it."

The 20-somethings left Florida at 3 a.m. to come see the pros, cruise the Expo and watch the weigh-ins.

-- Mike Suchan


9:33
AM ET

Sitting alongside Klein at the dock was Brent Chapman, who sits in fourth place. Klein leaned over and said, "You broke Cliff's heart yesterday."

Chapman pulled into a cut around 11, he said, and caught some of his 18-0 that has him in contention. Pace was hoping to save the spot and was heartbroken when he arrived at noon to find Brent.

Klein said it might have been Pace's mistake  you work where you have fish.

With the delay at an hour and a half and talk of cancelling the day, Chapman said he has one little area "up here. My buddy told they gets tons of pressure."

The decisions that wins, or loses, the Classic might be made shortly. Those fishing close, like the leaders who are only 12 minutes away, like the delay to shorten the fishing times, but they don't want it lasting so long that the run to Venice is out and that group is forced to join them.

-- Mike Suchan


9:21
AM ET

Gerald Swindle, perhaps borrowing a page from KVD, is spending the fog delay munching on cookies. They were the gift of the fiancee of a New Orleans firefighter who befriended Swindle through Facebook. Will they help? "I don't know," Swindle said. "I may be consuming them at a faster pace than you're supposed to."

-- Pete Robbins


9:19
AM ET

As we officially pass yesterday's delay, some anglers could have gone off safely.

Gary Klein is among those who are loving their new Lowrance radar. Klein had hoped the fog wasn't going to be such an issue for he and his fellow runners to Venice, and it only is because the take-offs have been delayed. He showed on Day One that he was able to navigate better than others.

When he got in the Mississippi River, there was a whole flotilla of hopeful spectators waiting in thick fog for the Classic competitors to show. He ran right past them.

"It's more open on the river, and I hit it and went wide open," he said. "Figured nobody would follow me."

The radar works so well that birds show up as little dots on the screen and he can easily see both sides of the bank in the canals, even in the thickest fog.

"I'm able to run wide open. I have that much confidence in it," he said. "Big ships, they'll be a big ole blob."

Klein, in 24th with a disappointing 12-7, said he's banking on 17-18 pounds today and getting back in the mix in his 29th Classic. And that's in Venice, no matter how long the delay.

"I am here to win. Got to get in water you feel you can win."

-- Mike Suchan


9:13
AM ET

To address a few of the comments about the anglers who zeroed yesterday, both Russ Lane and Clark Reehm didn't catch fish. In Reehm's case, he took a risk and ran to the Delacroix area, which he estimated was a 250-mile round-trip run. The fish weren't where he thought and he only had 2 hours to fish. Read more about it here.

As for "Bouhkris," I don't know if I can take it either. This fog has us walled in at Venice, too, and we are just waiting to hear the anglers are on their way. I'm sure it's driving the anglers crazy, but as long as they can still get 45 minutes here, you can bet they will be coming.

-- Rob Russow


9:11
AM ET

Randall Tharp was surprised by how much conditions had changed in just two days in his canal in the Bayou Black area. Water temperature there rose from the high 40s on Wednesday, the official practice day, to 70 on the first competition day on Friday.

The sudden warming drove fish from the middle of the canal, where he had been catching bass, to the banks, where local anglers had them cornered. He managed 11-12 Friday, far short of where he expected to be. He's planning to head back there today but his confidence level is lower.

"One of the locals told me there's a tournament going out of Bayou Black today, and they're probably sitting right where I was right now."

-- Dave Precht


9:09
AM ET

Tommy Biffle, one of the pre-tournament favorites, will have less time to fish today. His strategy? Slow down.

"The water dingied up down there and I may have fished too fast," he said. "It's hard. There are lots of fish down there and lots of places to catch them."

-- Pete Robbins


8:57
AM ET

Brian LaClair sits in 31st with 10-3, and his day will be all about making the cut.

"I'm going to be fishing hard for that," the Federation Nation qualifier said. "I left some decent fish at some spots, and I'm hoping more fish are moving in."

He's got his eyes on 16 to 17 pounds to make the cut, his earlier stated goal to have a chance on the final day. He's fishing not far from the leaders near the Tank Pond, and knows the fish are around.

"I can probably shoot an arrow to them," he said, noting it took him longer than Martens, Rook and KVD to find where they moved Friday. He's hopeful to be on a different pattern. "There's not a lot of people around doing what I'm doing."

-- Mike Suchan


8:51
AM ET

Steve Bowman interviewed Trip Weldon this morning about how long we might be delayed. You can see that video here.

-- Kyle Carter


8:49
AM ET

Lesley Martens, wife of the tournament leader, said that husband Aaron was calm last night. "That's typical," she said. "If he has a big bag today he might be a little more nervous."

What would a Classic title mean to her? "I really want it for him," she explained. "It's not the money, it's the title. I think in his mind it would make his career."

-- Pete Robbins


8:13
AM ET

Mike Iaconelli, who coined the phrase "fishing in the moment," believes he's in the right area to win. Unfortunately the water color changed yesterday and that repositioned the bigger fish.

He suspects they'll adjust again today and he'll need every available minute to find out if that means tighter to cover, out in the open, or to the clear water. "If we get out by 9 that should be plenty of time to figure them out," he said. "Even an hour should be enough."

-- Pete Robbins


8:26
AM ET

There is nothing nice about a fog delay. Foggy days are the bane of bass anglers everywhere. You are chomping at the bit to get there and all this moisture is like an iron curtain. If the area was small enough you could just impose an idle rule. But no such luck in the Classic, ever.

Then they get going and there will likely be a fog bank here or there, especially on the much cooler Mississippi River. Your can never be more scared than running in a bass boat in a thick bank of fog.

For that reason, most of these guys aren't putting the pressure on Trip Weldon to get things started. They trust him implicitly. So we're sitting around and waiting.

If there is one nice thing about a fog delay, it's unprecedented access to the anglers by the throng of fans who showed up for the take-off. Competitors are posing for photos with them, signing autographs and visiting in ways that most Classic fans never get an opportunity.

It's kind of like a meet and greet, until Trip says "Let's Go."

-- Steve Bowman


8:13
AM ET

>Federation angler Dale Hightower admitted he's getting a bit antsy. "Every minute that ticks off the clock kills me," he said.

He's catching "15 to 20 fish a day" -- although his definition of a day is a bit atypical. It means about an hour and a half or two hours.

-- Pete Robbins


8:17
AM ET

Among anglers waiting for the flog to clear this morning was the most seasoned of Elite Anglers -- Rick Clunn of Ava, Mo., who has competed in 32 of the 41 Classics, winning four of them. Although he isn't fishing this event, he is in New Orleans to take part in Classic Week and represent his sponsors at the Classic Expo and other venues.

This morning he was headed out for a photo shoot with his sponsor, Wright McGill. Asked about the fog delay, he noted that in the early days, at least through the mid-1980s, competition days were never canceled nor delayed. But he wouldn't have relished running through the soup. "I'd rather fight 7 foot waves than face fog," he said. Classics at the time were always held in mid-fall, when weather was rarely extreme.

Having fished the world championship for so many years, beginning in 1974, Rick Clunn has a unique perspective on how the event has changed. "The biggest change occurred when the Classic was changed from a 'secret Classic' to more of a media and fan oriented event. Ironically, I quit my job with an oil company because I was tired of fighting traffic in Houston," he said. "When the Classic went mainstream, I found myself again sitting in traffic, headed to weigh-ins in big cities."

"When we fished the Guntersville Classic (1976), we all walked down the hill and got into our boats and went out on a pristine lake. Now, look at what it has become," he said, pointing to the crowd of fishing fans gathered at the launch at Bayou Segnette State Park. He added that spectator galleries can change the anglers' strategies, and must be accounted for. Clunn won two Classics for which destinations weren't disclosed until the contenders were on a plane, headed to the mystery site. A third victory came on the James River where he fished a backwater obscured from view by spectator boats.

Another remarkable evolution has been in the profession itself. "When I started, everyone had to have another job," he recalled. "If you told someone you were a professional angler, they thought you worked on a shrimp boat."

-- Dave Precht


8:07
AM ET

Obviously, we have not launched and it's 7 minutes past time, so there is a delay of some length. We're going to talk to B.A.S.S. tournament director Trip Weldon to try and get an update on when he thinks they might be able to take off.

-- Kyle Carter


7:53
AM ET

It was clear running for Venice-bound boaters once the fog delay was lifted Friday, until they hit a wall of thick fog at the Mississippi. Kelly Jordon said the river temperature was 41 degrees yesterday, about 20 degrees cooler than the lakes and marsh.

Fog hung on through mid-morning over the channel. "I just shut down and listened," he said. Once his ears told him the coast was clear, he crept across the river toward the east bank, where the water is too shallow for oceangoing ships to run.

"The guys with radar flew by me," he added.

-- Dave Precht


7:50
AM ET

We just came through a spot 3.5 miles from Venice, and the fog was so thick we couldn't see a car length in front of us. Cunningham dropped the speed down to 20 mph.

"I don't know that I've ever seen fog this thick," he said. "We may need to swipe the radar unit off one of those boats and put it on this truck."


7:48
AM ET

Spectator traffic isn't thick in the Venice area, but it's impactful, according to Kelly Jordon. Yesterday's fog delayed him by more than 1 1/2 hours, including slower run times across the Mississippi River, but when he got to his slough, the fish were waiting. He quickly caught a 2 1/2 pounder, followed by a 3 1/4 and a 3 1/2.

"I thought I was on pace to weigh 18 pounds," he said. "Then a spectator came up to me and shut down and hollered, 'Is that Iaconelli up there? ' I just shrugged my shoulders and he went on. I didn't get another bite for at least an hour. That boat shut my fish down."

Jordon managed 14-3 for five fish by the end of the shortened day, tied with Greg Vinson for 12th.

-- Dave Precht


7:35
AM ET

It's getting worse. We just crossed the Empire bridge, and visibility is down to about 50 feet. Photographer Jerry Cunningham is driving and just noted that he can see only two or three of the white lane markers at a time before they disappear in the fog.

Official sunrise is in just about six minutes away, so there's plenty of light, but we can't see anything. We are averaging about 40 mph on a four-lane divided highway with a posted speed limit of 65 mph.

-- Trey Reid


7:33
AM ET

Like an old western, Kevin VanDam says he, Aaron Martens and Scott Rook would do well to circle the wagons today. With a mess of local anglers expected to infringe upon their area that has them atop the leaderboard after Day One, their grouping might actually keep folks from running through them.

"The thing that helps is there's a group of us," KVD said. Otherwise, "there's really nothing I can do. To begin with, we all will probably have to expand out a bit."

Martens lead with 20 pounds, 7 ounces, only 1-1 ahead of Rook and VanDam is third with19-3 as he shoots for his record-tying fourth Classic title.

"It obviously shows the three of us knew what the program was," KVD said.

With increased traffic, questions have arisen about if that area can hold up through three days.

"They can think that," KVD said, "but I am telling you there's not a place here that comes close to it here. It may not hold up, but I can promise you they're there."

-- Mike Suchan


7:24
AM ET

You might think that Aaron Martens would be pleased with the fog delay, which will likely hurt competitors like Brent Chapman who have to make a long run.

You'd be wrong -- "They're catching them out there right now," Martens said, referring to his key area. Who is? "I don't know," he responded. "But the bite in the first hour is 10 times better than it is the rest of the day."

-- Pete Robbins


7:21
AM ET

We had a little excitement on the road to Venice as a big white crane swooped out of the fog and barely missed becoming bug splatter across the windshield.

The fog is still thick and the crane was a white ghost screaming toward us. It woke us up anyway. Driving through the fog, you never know what might appear from the surrounding marsh. I can't imagine what might attack were we on foot.

Our route down to the Venice Marina hugs close to the Mississippi River, a major source of this fog. Anybody running through it will find navigation tough going.

-- Rob Russow


7:15
AM ET

John Crews has what he hopes is a totally foolproof plan to generate bigger bites today. "I'm going to tie my boat up to this end of the dock this morning instead of down there," he said, pointing to the far end of the boat ramp.

Morizo Shimizu's crew is out in full force again today, although they are a bit more subdued. I asked them who is the most popular non-Japanese pro in their country and they unanimously answered "Skeet."

-- Pete Robbins


7:14
AM ET

At 39th with 8 pounds, Sean Alvarez said he's not changing a thing. The Fed Nation angler from Vermont lost a 9-pound class fish yesterday and knows he's going to need one of those in the boat to climb up to make the Top 25 cut.

"Oh, it's possible. Temperature is up, the water is up and so are the fish," he said.

Alvarez said he's seen males on beds and has had big fish following his big bait. So he's staying the course.

"The fish are flooding up" into his area, and after his limit he's targeting a lunker or two.

"I should have had it yesterday," he said. "It just about shook the rod out of my hands, came up and shake, shake, shake. We kind of stood there wondering what just happened."

Culling a 12-incher with a 9-pounder would given him around 17 pounds and put him in the top 5. Those are the type of what-if stories the Classic always creates.

-- Mike Suchan


7:13
AM ET

Aaron Martens, known for breaking out "old school, new school" tricks like the horsey head and a hair jig in Classic competition, said yesterday's tackle was remarkably conventional. That couuld change today. "I'm saving some tricks," he said.

-- Pete Robbins


7:05
AM ET

Looking up into the sky between the fog, the full moon reminds me that these fish have got spawning on their minds. That's a drastic change from official practice, when the fish were hunkered down tight in their igloos.

I may be crazy, but the tournaments where the fish are cruising just prior to spawning can be tough events. The anglers will set records when the fish are pre-spawn and when the fish move onto their beds, but for that brief window in between, things are hurting.

That's not the only factor in play this weekend. Rising, muddy water and bright, sunny skies are changing the way fish relate to cover. But I can't help wondering if all this talk of bass just moving up is part of the reason the weights were a little lighter than expected.

-- Rob Russow


7:03
AM ET

Clark Reehm, who zeroed yesterday: "Wouldn't it be something if I made like Roy from Tin Cup and made a run at it again?"

Brent Chapman confessed to having mixed emotions. He's making a long run so another fog delay will once again limit his time on the water, but he's buoyed by the fact that he's the only angler in the top four not fishing in one small area near the launch. He's hoping they divide up the fish and fall back.

-- Pete Robbins


7:01
AM ET

We are driving south to Venice again today, and it's slower than yesterday because of more fog. Visibility is about 50 yards. It's thick, and there seem to be fewer open patches than what we saw yesterday.

-- Trey Reid


6:45
AM ET

The group of us driving out to Venice are on our way down. We will have two boats there today, trying to bring a clearer picture from that group of anglers chasing the leaders.

Right now, the big question is how much of a delay will the fog cause today. It seemed clearer than yesterday, but the fog is still fairly thick on the drive down to Venice, which has paralleled water thus far.

If there is a delay, it shouldn't be as long.

-- Rob Russow


6:30
AM ET

Dave Wolak gets the energizer bunny award for Day One. After making a very long run he hit 5 areas in two and a half hours. He feels he'll be dialed in better today.

It's just a matter of catching as many fish as possible, he said, and culling up a bit at a time. He caught around 15 keepers yesterday.

-- Pete Robbins


6:20
AM ET

Day Two is not looking good right now for an on-time departure. We got to the ramp at 5:30 a.m. (CT) and the fog was thicker than yesterday.

Trip Weldon's initial thoughts were that it doesn't look good, but he did look up out of the trailer and say, "Well, I can see the moon."

Regardless, we blog on...welcome to Day Two. We'll start the launch stream here shortly so you can get a better idea of how the ramp looks.

We have two teams heading to Venice today and of course, one team (Pete Robbins and James Overstreet) will be at Lake Cataouatche where the top three are heading and not leaving.

Thanks for following the blog.

-- Kyle Carter


Day One, February 18

5:30
PM ET

A point of clarification to follow up on an earlier blog entry: I wrote that KVD "yelled at one (spectator) to put his power poles down and sit in one spot."

We've since been contacted by Kevin himself, and it appears we may have misunderstood the entire situation. Apparently, the boat he spoke to was a camera boat and Kevin was trying to get him into position for his next pass through his key area.

"Yelling" may have been an overstatement, too -- they were at enough of a distance apart (as were we) that a raised voice might have been necessary to clearly communicate his thoughts. Kevin reiterated that he appreciates the fans' interest in the sport and in his performance. -- Pete Robbins


5:15
PM ET

Anglers are arriving at the arena and the Day One weigh-in is less than 20 minutes away. All the speculation about who, what and where will soon end and one angler will be a step closer to winning the 2011 Bassmaster Classic.

From the looks of things, the long run to Venice paid off even with the fog delay, but the anglers that kept close to the launch stole the show. Aaron Martens, Kevin VanDam and Scott Rook positioned themselves as contenders, but the real question remains: Can the small area the majority of these anglers are fishing hold up for three days?

In Venice, the anglers found the fish biting and no major incidents were reported. The fishing should remain good, but will the trip there and back continue to be flawless?

Can't wait to get some of these questions answered.

-- Rob Russow


• Blog Archive: Day One l  Media Day and practice