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2:30 p.m. – Final Update
With weigh-in only an hour away, that’s going to do it for live blog and leaderboard updates.
As it stands right now, Capt. Blake Smith is bringing a leading bag with him back to weigh-in, though there’s still a few hours to fish for the last flight of anglers and also a good chance someone who didn’t report their weight today caught ‘em.
Regardless, Smith is in good shape with over 13 pounds, joined by the likes of Ryan Chandler, David Walker and Derrick Snavely. Behind them, 14 more pros (including AOY leader Ron Nelson) have at least 11 pounds.
Thanks for following along with our live coverage today, and be sure to tune in for the live weigh-in at flwfishing.com at 3:30 CT.
2:00 p.m. – FLW Live shutting down
FLW Live’s on-the-water coverage is done for the day. You can watch the live feed of weigh-in starting at 3:30 CT. In the meantime, we’ll update the live blog and leaderboard for another half hour.
The top of the leaderboard hasn’t changed much since our last update – or in the last couple hours, for that matter. It’s hard to find those kicker fish to really cull up by a large margin. Most pros are just culling ounces at this point, but the pros who do run into kickers between now and weigh-in are going to really shake things up.
The large tournament field really helps out the anglers with late draws, who don’t have to check in until 5 o’clock or later. The way today has gone, especially with the fog delay to start the day, those pros have a lot more lottery tickets in the hunt for big kickers.
We’ve finally managed to track down an update for AOY leader Ron Nelson. He has just under 13 pounds, which moves him well into the top 10. Nelson is sometimes pigeonholed as a smallmouth specialist, but he flat-out catches fish everywhere he goes. Today has been no exception.
1:15 p.m. – Time to lock
There’s still some time left to fish, but plenty of pros are making the smart play and locking back into Pool 8 well ahead of time to beat the crowd and avoid any issues that may prevent them from getting back to weigh-in on time. On this stretch of the Mississippi, one barge can be the difference between a nice bag and a zero.
While it might not come into play as much this afternoon, the river current seems to be picking up a bit. If it stays fairly steady into tomorrow, that could certainly come into play, especially for pros looking to catch a quick limit before going hunting for big green ones.
We’re working on getting an update for AOY points leader Ron Nelson, who’s been somewhat covert today. He’s locking back down into Pool 8 to beat the rush and give himself some time to finish fishing before weigh-in. Nelson, with Lake Erie next on the schedule, just needs to avoid a bomb in this event to really put himself in prime position to cruise to an AOY title.
1:06 p.m. – 13-plus pounds still good enough for the lead
There’s a 16- or 17-pound bag swimming around out there, but we haven’t seen it yet. With reports coming in from about half the field, 13 or 14 pounds is still good enough to take a lead into day two. Fortunately for a handful of pros at the top of the leaderboard, that’s about where they’re at.
It’s not as if the fishing is particularly slow at the moment – several pros have culled multiple times in pretty short order. They may not be having 50-fish days, but the Mississippi River bass are biting – smallmouth and largemouth both.
David Dudley, for instance, was fishing for smallmouth earlier on FLW Live and is now working frogs across the tops of pads in search of big green fish. We also just learned that Dudley loves sushi, so there’s that.
One angler to watch this week is Laramy Strickland, who currently (and unofficially) sits in fourth place. He’s also fourth in Polaris Rookie of the Year points and is in the midst of a great rookie season with one win already (Harris Chain).
12:27 p.m. – Afternoon updates
We’re still tracking down updates for some of the anglers who haven’t reported a fish catch yet. For those we do have, it’s looking pretty tight.
Capt. Blake Smith’s 13 1/2-pound limit is still leading the pack, but behind him, 13 other anglers are within 3 pounds. Jason Reyes, Laramy Strickland, Lendell Martin Jr., AJ Slegona, David Walker, Tyler Stewart, Timmy Horton, Jacob Wheeler, Jon Englund and Derrick Snavely are all over 11 pounds.
While frogs are the primary weapon of choice for a lot of pros today, more than a few are also finessing Ned rigs and the like. With the weather heating up, anglers are slowing down to get the more sluggish fish to chew.
For pros still searching for a limit, things are getting a little more serious. There’s still time, of course, but we’re on the other side of midday and the pressure is starting to mount.
11:40 a.m. – Limits aplenty
We have reports of 16 limits and counting, including ones from Jacob Wheeler (11 1/2), Derrick Snavely (11 1/4) and Lendell Martin Jr. (11 pounds). The kickers haven’t been aplenty, but the quantity is certainly out there. For as much as is usually expected from the Mississippi, she’s holding up pretty well at the moment.
There are some oddball patterns to be had today, but for the most part, it’s been pretty status quo in terms of baits and techniques. You can’t go far on any of the three pools without seeing someone working a frog over mats or around some grass.
As cool and pleasant as the morning has been to this point, it’s really starting to heat up. The rain gear and hoodie weather is long gone. We’ll see if that has any impact at all on the fish, though conditions have been pretty stable otherwise – blue skies and very little wind to speak of.
11:04 a.m. – Updates for the wives
Pros always have plenty to think about, but they still save a little brain power to think about their significant others while out on the water. Blake Smith wants his wife to know he’s drinking plenty of water, and Darrell Davis would like to put his wife’s mind at ease by reporting a limit for about 10 1/2 pounds. Awful thoughtful of both of them.
Davis joins Smith and Tyler Stewart, as well as Alton Jones Jr. and Jon Englund, with limits. Smith’s unofficial 13 1/2-pound limit has him in the lead. I guess there’s something to be said for staying hydrated.
Elsewhere, Jacob Wheeler has some quality fish in the box and now has four keepers for about 10 pounds. Don’t look now, but a fifth quality keeper is going to move the world’s No. 1-ranked bass angler close to the lead.
We haven’t seen a ton of bigs yet, but there have been plenty of fish in the 2- to 4-pound range grab a ticket for a free ride to weigh-in. The way weights are stacked, it’s going to take a couple in the 4-pound range to take the lead when the dust settles today.
10:25 a.m. – Some early limits to report
Coming into this event, most anglers and analysts expected a 15-pound average to be good enough to contend for a win. So far, that’s looking like a pretty good estimate based on early limits.
Tyler Stewart is still in the unofficial lead with 11 1/2 pounds and Blake Smith has 11. Kyle Hall isn’t far behind with 10. It’s also important to keep in mind that not every angler has a marshal and even some of the ones who do are in areas with bad service. We have three reported limits but there’s sure to be a couple more out there.
If the likes of Stewart, Smith and Hall keep doing what they’re doing, they’re going to be in great shape this afternoon. Anything over 15 pounds is basically icing on the cake, though it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see someone come in with a bag pushing the 17- or 18-pound mark.
9:50 a.m. – Stewart out to early lead
Tyler Stewart has a limit for 11 1/2 pounds and is in the unofficial (and very early) lead. Still, 11 1/2 would be a decent number to bring to weigh-in and he still has all day to fish. Stewart has to be feeling pretty good right now.
Brent Ehrler and Jason Reyes both have three keepers for 6 pounds. That’s about the average you’d expect from the Mississippi River. Finding those 4-pound class fish is what’s going to separate anglers from the rest of the pack by the end of the day.
Jon Canada, who entered this tournament second in AOY points is doing exactly what got him to this point via a strong 10th-place finish at Rayburn to start the year. He was flipping isolated wood in that tournament, and he made an incredibly long run up a back channel this morning to do the same thing.
Chickamauga Super Tournament winner Jacob Wheeler is on the board now with a 1 1/2-pounder in the box. It’s a safe bet he’ll be adding to his total before too long.
9:27 a.m. – Frogs, frogs and more frogs
The fish catch reports are coming in at a furious pace right now. No one is catching numbers yet, but a huge portion of the field already has a keeper or two in the livewell. As expected, there’s a lot of frogging going on.
While most anglers have two or fewer in the box, Zack Birge does not – he has five, the first limit of the day. His first five will go for 7 3/4 or 8 pounds, which isn’t a bad start at all. He’s got all day to upgrade, and anything north of 12 pounds a day should put just about anyone within striking distance of making the day three cut.
9:03 a.m. – Lock to Pool 9 is packed to the gills
Despite the fog delay-shortened day, FLW on-the-water media crews count 36 boats queued up to go through the lock to Pool 9. With barge traffic always a huge factor on Mississippi River tournaments, it’s definitely a gamble to jump around through the locks too much.
A few anglers who decided to stay put in Pool 8 are already on the board. Josh Bertrand and Jeremy Lawyer each have a small keeper in the box, as does Chris Whitson. The day’s just getting started, though, and the trickle of fish catch updates should turn into a full-on deluge sooner than later.
One thing to watch today is how anglers adapt to losing precious early morning fishing time due to the delay. Anyone who was banking on a pattern to catch an early limit or some big kickers as the sun was still rising could be forced to turn to a secondary game plan right from the jump.
8:30 a.m. – We're underway on the Mississippi
The fog has lifted enough to get underway and anglers are lining up to take off. It's go time.
In the first-ever Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament back in June, Jacob Wheeler torched the competition on his adopted home waters of Lake Chickamauga. He’s always a strong bet to win any tournament he enters, but there are plenty of other pros with a ton more experience on the Mighty Mississippi that could show out in a big way this week.
It’s summertime northern fishing, but it’s going to be all about largemouth this week. While there are smallmouth to be had from the Mississippi’s current, most of the action is going to take place around grass and up shallow as pros chase down big green fish with typical summertime favorites like frogs and flipping baits.
Stick around here for all the live coverage throughout the day and be sure to tune in to FLW Live until 2 p.m. CT. The Live cameras will be on the water to cover all the action all four days of the Super Tournament.
8:05 a.m. – Fog is starting to lift
The fog is starting to lift around Pools 7, 8 and 9 and it’s nearly time to get going.
Anglers making runs to Pools 7 and 9 might run into some issues, though, mostly because lockmasters have been holding some barges back due to the fog. Anyone locking through this morning might have a longer-than-anticipated wait, further cutting down an already shortened day of fishing.
7:10 a.m. – Fog delay to start the day
Everyone's ready to go at the second Super Tournament of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit season, but everyone will have to wait just a little while. We're under a fog delay at takeoff. We're not quite sure how long the delay will last, and we'll keep everyone posted accordingly.
And remember: FLW Live will be on the air in less than an hour to cover all the action when anglers are finally able to make their way to their first spots of the day.
In the meantime, pull up another tab and head back over to flwfishing.com to read up on how practice went for Grae Buck and Jake Ormond or to brush up on what to expect this week with Senior Editor Kyle Wood's tournament preview.
Temperature at takeoff: 66 degrees
Forecast high: 83 degrees
Sky: Ample fog giving way to partly cloudy skies
Precipitation: 0 percent chance
Wind: N 5 mph
Hosted by Explore La Crosse
Takeoff: 7 a.m. CT at Stoddard Park, 502 Forest Lane, Stoddard, Wisc.
Weigh-in Days 1 & 2: 3:30 p.m. CT at Stoddard Park
Weigh-in Days 3 & 4: 4 p.m. CT at Stoddard Park
FLW Live studio and on-the-water show: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. CT all four days
FLW Live weigh-in show: 3:30 p.m. CT to end of weigh-in