Photo: B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito - What's the surest way to maintain a big day-1 lead? Catching the biggest bag in the field again on day 2 will do it.

Ish Monroe busted a 24-15 sack today at the Okeechobee Bassmaster Elite Series in Florida, giving him a 59-04 total at the midway point. He said a B.A.S.S. official informed him that his 13-11 advantage is the largest day-2 margin in the history of the Elite Series, which was launched in 2006.

Reigning Bassmaster Classic champion Chris Lane had another solid day (23-10) and climbed 2 places in the standings, but lost more than a pound worth of ground to Monroe and sits in a distant 2nd with 45-09. Everybody else is the equivalent of a quality bag behind the Californian. Read More

Photo - James Overstreet - OKEECHOBEE, Fla. — Nothing short of a heroic effort Saturday could have knocked Ish Monroe of Hughson, Calif., off his lead of 13 pounds, 11 ounces in the Bassmaster Elite Series Power-Pole Slam on Lake Okeechobee.

Meet Chris Lane, almost-hero. He brought 31 pounds, 3 ounces, to the scales Saturday and put it up against Monroe’s 18 pounds, 2 ounces. The result was Monroe, 77-6, Lane 76-12. Suddenly, after trailing Monroe from afar after two days, Lane was only 10 ounces behind.

That sets up Sunday’s finale to be the Ish vs. Chris showdown for $100,000 and an instant qualification for the 2013 Bassmaster Classic. Read More

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. — Smashing a six-year-old Bassmaster Elite Series record and threatening others, Ish Monroe increased his lead Friday to 13 pounds, 11 ounces, in the Power-Pole Slam over his nearest challenger, 2012 Bassmaster Classic champion Chris Lane.

Monroe of Hughson, Calif., weighed in 24-15 Friday to add to his gigantic first-day sack of 34-5 for a two-day total of 59-4 on Lake Okeechobee. Lane, who won Bassmaster events on Okeechobee in 2006 and 2010, had 45-9 for second place, moving up from fourth.

Monroe isn’t claiming anything, even with 13-plus pounds as a cushion.

“I want a 40-pound lead to be comfortable. Anything can happen tomorrow,” he said. Read More

Ish Monroe didn't weigh the biggest fish on day 1 of the Okeechobee Bassmaster Elite Series in Florida – that honor went to Kevin Short. But the smallest specimen on Monroe's five-fish stringer was in the same class as the largest, and his 34-05 haul staked him to a big early lead.

The Californian has an advantage of nearly 9 pounds over 2nd-place Davy Hite, who weighed 25-09. Then there was a drop of more than 3 pounds down to 3rd, where Nate Wellman resides with 22-03. More

Photo - James Overstreet - OKEECHOBEE, Fla. — Ish Monroe of Hughson, Calif., had one of those magical days all pros dream about: hauling aboard lunker after lunker after lunker. The five best ones added up to 34 pounds, 5 ounces, and the first-day lead in the Power-Pole Slam on Lake Okeechobee by 8 pounds, 12 ounces, over Davy Hite.

So good was his day, Monroe was able to cull a 6-plus-pounder, trading it in for what turned out to be his largest of the day, a 7-11.

He said he caught every fish flipping a creature bait called the D-Bomb — made by Missile Baits, a company owned by one of his fellow Bassmaster Elite Series pros, John Crews. Monroe rigged it for a large profile, “and those big ones just seemed to hit it,” he said. Read More