This story will be updated throughout the day with more from the final day of the T-H Marine BFL All-American on Pickwick Lake.
1:34 p.m. – Signing off
That's it for the All-American updates. To find out how it all shakes out, watch on FLW Live at 3 p.m., or come on down to McFarland Park in Florence.
1:03 p.m. – Brueggen has double-digits
Brueggen's limit weight is now up to about 10 or 11 pounds. Our blog will be active until about 1:45 p.m. today. Then we'll break until weigh-in begins at 3 p.m. The contestants in the TBF/FLW High School Fishing National Championshp will weigh in first, followed by the Kansas State national champs who are competing in the Fish-Off for a Forrest Wood Cup berth. The All-American field will finish up the weigh-in. It all airs on FLW Live.
12:54 p.m. – Pickett pushing forward
Lloyd Pickett Jr. started the day in 10th place, and he's having one of the better final days. His limit will go about 13 pounds. Pickett is down around State Line Island.
Reports from the crew on the water are that the pleasure boat traffic is pretty intense. Running around is a little rough now, and in some areas the resulting boat wakes are making it a bit difficult to fish.
12:50 p.m. – Atkins limits
No. 5 is a dink, but that still makes a limit for Atkins.
12:24 p.m. – Hank Parker or Marshall Deakins?
Marshall Deakins is fishing like Hank Parker, but they don't really look all that alike, do they? Sure, they both have mustaches, but … apparently a couple of high school anglers were fishing nearby, and they mistook him for Parker. Come on, kids. Learn your bass fishing legends.
As for Deakins' competition, Atkins has four now for 9 pounds. He's settled on a spot in Indian Creek and is going to work with a spinning rod. He's on a big school and was able to get one to bite on the first cast, but the rest are stubbornly resisting his presentations. Brueggen added a couple more keepers recently, too. Brueggen's co-angler, Jacob Harris, has a 12-pound limit.
12:17 p.m. – Merrick update
Merrick just checked in with a limit for about 10 pounds. That's probably not enough to make a big improvement in the standings, but he has time to upgrade.
12:13 p.m. – Brueggen checks in
Mike Brueggen, the Great Lakes Division stud from Wisconsin, made his third BFL top 10 of the season this week, and it's his seventh in the last two years. He just checked in with two small keepers and a 3 1/2-pounder.
12:10 p.m. – Deakins feeling good about his chances
A 10-10 lead backed up by a 13-pound limit is enough to relax any tournament fisherman. That's the situation for Deakins right now. He was nervous yesterday, particularly when the cameras were on and FLW's TV crew was interviewing him. Here lately, he's opened up more and is chatting with his cameraman. He can probably sense that the title is as good as his. But then again, Pickwick is one of the lakes on the Tennessee River chain that can easily churn out a mid-20s bag. So someone still has a chance to catch him, even if that chance is slim.
11:56 a.m. – Atkins with No. 3
No word on size yet, but Atkins has his third keeper in the boat.
11:36 a.m. – A little current?
We have a report that the current is moving. It's noticeable in some areas upstream. This might change things for the afternoon bite. Nutter certainly thinks so. He's on some fish and believes they'll turn on once the flows reach him.
Knight is still sitting with no keepers. He's back in the mouth of Yellow Creek, trying to scratch something together.
11:24 a.m. – Atkins is on the hunt
Atkins ran by Nutter awhile back. He's way down by the Pickwick Dam now, idling, looking, trying to find a school.
11:13 a.m. – Deakins, Nutter cull up
With drop-shot still in hand, Deakins managed to cull up for a small improvement. Nutter is culling now, too. He has released some 15-inchers that didn't help him but is now at about 15 pounds.
The temp has finally climbed back up to "Alabama in June" levels. It's hot, but the fish seem to be biting pretty well now, so maybe the anglers haven't noticed.
11:05 a.m. – Tough morning for Knight
Knight just had a keeper come unbuttoned right at the boat. It's been a pretty rough morning for him. He's fishing a bluff bank now, pitching into laydowns.
10:54 a.m. – Gray gets No. 2; Deakins up to 9 pounds (Update: 11 1/4 pounds)
Gray's second is a 2-pounder. He has about 5 pounds total.
Deakins had to put up his go-to jig and pull out a drop-shot. It worked, though. He's up to four fish for about 9 pounds. (Update) Shortly after that last post, Deakins landed another keeper – his fifth – and let out a yell. He has 11 1/4, or thereabouts.
10:43 a.m. – Nutter with a limit
Ohio's Ron Nutter checks in with a limit for about 11 pounds. He's all the way down at Pickwick Dam. He says it's been fast and furious, but no big ones yet. Obviously, he's hoping the big ones turn on soon. He's on a ledge near some barge tie-offs, working in and out off the break. "You have to hit 'em on the nose," Nutter says. He plans to move to some docks once the sun gets higher and positions the fish where he wants them.
10:38 a.m. – Atkins and Gray updates
Fifth-place boater Brandon Gray checks in with his first keeper, a 3-pounder.
Atkins has two now. His second puts him at about 5 pounds total.
10:26 a.m. – Anderson is looking for an opening
Anderson hasn't been hunting fish; he's been hunting a place to fish. In other words, it's crowded on Pickwick, and he tried to get on four places but couldn't because they were occupied. He went all the way to Yellow Creek with no luck but has finally settled into a spot on the main channel.
10:09 a.m. – Atkins with one
Just Atkins, the Tour rookie who began the day in fourth place, has just one keeper for about 3 1/2 pounds.
10:07 a.m. – Tough break for Knight
Pardon the pun in the update headline, but Knight just broke off a nice fish. Too bad. He's sitting on zero.
Merrick, meanwhile, has three fish for about 8 pounds.
9:59 a.m. – Anderson gets after it
Brent Anderson is on a tear. He finished his limit with a 2-pounder and then culled with a 4-pounder. We figure he has about 15 pounds now. He needs a bunch more to catch Deakins, though. Deakins led by 10-10 coming into today.
9:44 a.m. – More for Anderson and Deakins
Anderson's fourth is a 4-pounder. His school is still rocking. He has about 12 pounds.
Deakins has added a second as well. He could nail this coffin shut with just a couple more good bites.
9:39 a.m. – Anderson has them fired up
A 2-pounder followed by a 2-pounder … looks like Anderson has his school fired up. Those are his second and third keepers of the day.
The rain has stopped falling on him, by the way.
9:34 a.m. – Merrick quickly lands two
William Merrick of Tennessee just pulled up a few hundred yards above Knight and promptly caught two decent keepers. Knight's boat still doesn't have a fish in the livewell.
There's a bit of wind-driven current around State Line Island but still not much flowing through the dam.
9:32 a.m. – Anderson with a near miss; co-angler Hester with a giant
Anderson lost a good one that bit right at the boat. That hurts. He's chucking a Scrounger now.
On a happier note, Alex Hester, the co-angler leader, might have just put this one away. He just landed a whopper … a 9-pounder!! … from the back of Deakins' boat. He has two fish for 15 pounds … sheesh.
9:16 a.m. – Anderson reaches his spot; Deakins is on the board
Brent Anderson has reached his deep stuff down the lake now. He's in prime waters to start putting together his limit. A little rain has started to fall in this area.
Meanwhile, Deakins is on a new spot that we haven't seen him fish yet this week, and he's finally on the board with a fish that'll go for about 4 pounds. He's still throwing the football jig that has carried him all week.
9:08 a.m. – Anderson's co scores big
Randy Westerfield, the co-angler from Michigan who's paired with Brent Anderson today, just hauled in a 6-pounder on a tube and spinning rod. Anderson says that's the biggest fish he's seen all week.
So far, the co-anglers are putting it on the top pros. Deakins' co-angler, Alex Hester, landed a 5-pounder earlier.
8:48 a.m. – Anderson on the move; none yet for Deakins
Anderson was heading down the lake to some of his other stuff but stopped short on a shallow ledge near Waterloo. He's still on one. Deakins hasn't landed a keeper yet. The lack of current really seems to have slowed the bite.
The weather is downright beautiful. It's cool and cloudy, which is a nice change from the heat and humidity of the last two days. Of course, it's going to heat up eventually today.
8:42 a.m. – Knight can't get on his mega-school
Jeff Knight swung by his "mega-school spot" only to find a boat already on it. He turned around, ran about a half a mile away and is fishing another stretch of ledge. Neither he nor his co-angler partner has a keeper.
8:25 a.m. – Anderson gets on the board
Tennessee fishing guide Brent Anderson is catching short fish after short fish, but he finally scratched up his first keeper at his second spot this morning.
8 a.m. – None yet for Anderson or Knight
Brent Anderson checks in with zero a full hour after takeoff. He's got company on his spot – an angler going cast-for-cast with him.
Jeff Knight is in similar shape. He's got zero and says this is the worst morning yet for current. He jumped one off a bit ago that might have been a keeper.
The map above shows the locations of the top 10. They're spread out pretty well, with one little cluster mid-lake in the bottom of the image.
7:40 a.m. – Deakins has some company
Deakins rolled into his first two spots only to find other boats already on them. It is Saturday on Pickwick, after all, so boat traffic is expected. Also, we know of at least one local tournament that put in on the same end of the lake as the All-American. He's moved to the back of Kroger Island now. It might be a big-fish hole, if the one that Deakins' co-angler partner Alex Hester just caught is any indication of the quality here. It's a 5-plus-pounder. Hester is leading the co-angler division.
7:00 – Takeoff report
Marshall Deakins had never qualified for the T-H Marine BFL All-American before this year. The veteran angler has been fishing BFL events since 2000 and has accumulated 35 top-10 finishes with FLW – today he has the chance to write his name in the history books as an All-American champion.
Deakins has dominated the competition on Pickwick all week and now leads by more than 10 pounds. Per FLW Tour pro Alex Davis, Deakins hasn’t caught less than 20 pounds any day he’s been on Pickwick this year – in practice or the tournament. It all looks right for the Tennessee angler to claim the crown, but Pickwick can still surprise. Last year in the FLW Tour event, Buddy Gross nearly gave it away with only two bass on the final day, and the Tennessee River impoundment has some true giants – big comebacks aren’t impossible.
Nevertheless, as the pros roll out for another day of ledge fishing in excellent June weather, most of them are fishing for second place. On that side of things, the battle is as tight as can be – Brant Anderson, Jeff Knight and Justin Atkins are just ounces apart in second, third and fourth. Anyone who catches a big bag today will move a lot, but it’ll probably take something truly special to takeover the lead.
Dates: June 1-3, 2017
Format: All boaters and co-boaters will compete for two days. The top 10 boaters and co-anglers based on cumulative weight after two days of competition will advance to the third and final round, with the winner in each category determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.
Takeoff Time: 7 a.m. CT
Takeoff Location: McFarland Park, 200 Jim Spain Drive, Florence AL 35630
Weigh-In Time: 3:30 p.m. CT
Weigh-In Location: McFarland Park