Day 2 Midday Update From Bassmaster Classic Bracket On Niagra River – Excitement Abounds!

Dean Rojas mounts a late comeback. Super cool photo by Steve Bowman/B.A.S.S.

Ten minutes left to go in this morning’s action. Dean Rojas was 5 pounds behind Jordan Lee; 5 pounds out of tomorrow’s semifinal round. He connected with 3 pound, 3 ounce smallmouth. On the next cast his rod bent, he set the hook and nursed another into the boat. Tripp Weldon said the fish needed to weigh at a pound, 13 ounces then read the in-boat digital scale and declared that it weighed 2 pounds, 13 ounces.

And those tuned-in to WatchESPN saw it all happen. Live.

“This format’s the best,” said Rojas. “There’s nothing like it!”

Rojas jumped up and down on the deck of his boat as Weldon counted down the seconds and made the official announcement, “Tomorrow we have a West Coast shootout – you versus Brett Hite.”

Hite bested Keith Combs

So my prediction, made yesterday, that Kevin VanDam could lay off of his best stuff due to his lead over Drew Benton seems less plausible now because VanDam’s best stuff may be the best stuff on the river – a single seawall that forms a current break around Strawberry Island. So good is the spot that Koby Kreiger caught a pair of fish off of it on Tuesday, Combs caught nearly 8 pounds from it and when Combs returned to start today’s round of fishing he found Lee perched on it also.

“We’ll work it out,” grimaced Combs, who said he had found the spot in practice and hooked 2 fish on his first 2 casts there. He said Lee did not fish there the first day so Combs was disappointed to see him. Furthermore, judging from the photo gallery – which the pros are allowed to look at – Combs could see that his best spot (which turned to be VanDam’s and Kreiger’s best spot) had been beaten hard during the morning round while Combs was on the sideline waiting to fish the afternoon round.

That’s when VanDam was working the spot over.

Can VanDam make the area pay off again today? Will he give it a rest? Niagra River bass will replenish on a good spot so if KVD doesn’t need that area today it could come into play tomorrow, especially with Lee and Combs out of the race now.

That brings up the subject of Hite who caught all of his fish from a single bridge and who appears to have that area to himself. Can he outlast the guys who are splitting up the Strawberry Island pie?

Seeing the way he whacked them again this morning, Hite is a threat this week. He laid off his best spot after catching a quality limit. “I never hit one piling more than once.”

Final scores so far: Hite beat Combs 21-14 to 14-11 while Rojas came from behind to top Lee by exactly a pound 13-9 to 12-9.

Let’s see what the guys can do this afternoon.

The video coverage of the Classic Bracket is outstanding. It was fun to watch Dean Rojas pitch a lure to visible cruising smallmouth in a clear  water creek; disheartening to see them reject his offerings. We were right there in the boat with him!

Combine that excitement with the aerial views, maps and expert commentary by Sanders and Zona – great job B.A.S.S.!