Jeff Kriet, Kevin VanDam and Todd Faircloth are sharing water in the same creek, but it was Kriet who got the upper hand today with a 15-pound, 10-ounce limit to push his total to a Bassmaster Classic-leading 31-1.
“It was a grind today,” Kriet admitted. “But you know what? It’s about time for me to win one of these things, isn’t it?”
However, VanDam is nipping at his heels, a mere 2ounces back.
“It got a lot tougher out there,” VanDam said. “The water dropped today, and it changed the area I’m fishing tremendously.”
Faircloth finishes up the top-three with a two-day total of 31-14, but he agreed that it wasn’t as easy as he hoped.
“I was kind of disappointed in the number of bites today,” the Texas pro said. “I only got seven or eight bites.”
Kriet said he wasn’t sure what would happen during tomorrow’s Classic finale.
“That’s the $500,000 question,” he said. “It’s cold and there’s a lot of pressure in there, a lot of traffic.
“I know if any one of us had it to ourselves to would be a blow-out, but that’s not the way it is.”
VanDam, who led the event going into today’s competition, said the quality of the fish seemed to play out in his area.
“Now I had quite a few bites today, and I didn’t cull very many. The bass I was catching just got really small. My best fish (was) about 3-pound largemouth. I didn’t catch any spotted bass today,” VanDam said.
The final day should be a real test for the top three anglers, he said.
“Tomorrow … will be a real shoot-out between about three of us,” he said. “Winning this Classic is going to go right down to the wire But I’m going to give winning the Bassmaster Classic my best shot tomorrow.”
Here’s what other Classic competitors said.
James Niggemeyer (10th, 20-7)
“I caught them on the same baits I caught bass yesterday in roughly the same spots where I caught bass yesterday. I feel about the same as I did yesterday – but perhaps a little better after being down with walking pneumonia. I’ve certainly got more energy than I had yesterday. The bass fishing was tough, and I struggled. However, I’m lucky to have five fish. Of course I’d love to have more pounds of bass. But I feel very fortunate as tough as the fishing has been for everyone today that I still could come in with a limit. I don’t know whether I’ll return to the same place tomorrow to fish or if I’ll try something different. But for today, I feel blessed to have caught a limit.”
Cliff Pace (15th, 18-9)
“I caught all my bass on a V&M Football Head Jig, and all the bass were spotted bass. But I didn’t do as well today – only catching one bass that weighed about 2 pounds. I don’t know what happened to the bass. Today, I basically drug that football head jig around like I did yesterday when the spots ate it up. However, the bass wouldn’t bite that jig today. The bass didn’t set up today like they did yesterday. When I did get bites today, the bass didn’t inhale the baits but instead just pecked at the lures. Of course, spotted bass are very temperamental anyway. However, I … don’t think I’ll do anything differently (tomorrow). I’ve got a lot of confidence in the area I’m fishing, although everything just didn’t work out for me today. Hopefully it will tomorrow.”
Shaw Grigsby (19th, 17-6)
“I caught six keepers today … and I caught them all on a Red Eye Shad in a specific color. Tomorrow, I’m planning to fish the same way and fish around and around in circles. I’m so far out of the competition that I’m fishing for pride and maybe to make a little more money in my paycheck. I actually blew this tournament yesterday. If I’d only caught 10 or 15 pounds of bass yesterday and 10 pounds today, I ‘d be in the hunt for the championship. However, I just didn’t do it.
Mark Menendez (38th, 8-7)
“All I caught today was one 12 incher. The water level here at Lay Lake fell – about 1 foot on the lower end and about 4 feet on the upper end of the lake. And, the water temperature went up. I gambled today by going downstream and fishing a jerkbait early. But I couldn’t catch a fish there. So, I began running and gunning and throwing a Red Eye Shad the rest of the day. I only wrestled one bass in on a Strike King finesse worm.”
Denny Brauer (50th, 0)
“Evidently I didn’t have a real good game plan coming into this 2010 Bassmaster Classic. I didn’t catch any fish yesterday. The only way I knew to pop a big bag of bass in this tournament was to flip grass. One day in practice I had five big bites while flipping grass. One of the fish I jerked on during practice weighed more than 5 pounds. So, I committed to go for the win and fish for the really-big bass. I knew if the bass turned-on and moved-up in the water column that I’d have a very-good chance to win. Yesterday nothing happened – I didn’t get a single bite.”