Back in Michael Jordan's heyday with the Chicago Bulls, the team had a ritual before each game where they would gather outside the locker room, lean in close to each other, put their hands in the middle and someone would scream "What time is it?"
The team would respond collectively, in unison, "It's winning time."
We have reached winning time at the Forrest Wood Cup here at Lake Murray Brent Ehrler is leading Bryan Thrift by a tiny 3-ounce margin and three other pros are within 2-10 of the lead. I'll be on the water this morning trying to see whose time it is.
> 10:40 am: Ehrler still with a spinning rod in his hand. He's looking at his electronics so he must see something or know there's some brush there. Looks like it's shaping up to be a tough final day.
> 10:10 am: We are now watching Ehrler. He was fishing by an island but has since headed back toward Dreher Island. Looks like he's dropshotting. He's got one decent fish. He just broke off and is retying.
> 9:30 am: Thrift just put #2 in the box. It's a squeaker but it counts. Caught it off a retaining wall. Now he's off to his next spot.
> 9:15 am: Thrift has left Bear Creek and made a short run around the corner to a stretch of docks. He got hung up briefly on a rope tied to a giant inflatable float tube and is speed-trolling and casting around docks and pontoon boats.
> 9 am: Thrift is now working a topwater soft plastic toad, casting to shoreline grass and up, under and around docks. He made a comment a little bit ago that he may have fished this creek out. It's peaceful and calm back in here. Much different than the dam area. As I type this Thrift sets the hook on one near a small rocky point. Looks like a 2 1/2-pounder. "Finally caught one," he says to his crowd of about 15 boats.
> 8:30 am: We found Thrift fishing his way out of Bear Creek with a buzzbait. He's picking up speed looking for his first keeper.
> 8 AM: Gagliardi just caught a short fish but the local isn't giving ground. He continues to shadow Gagliardi's moves and they've been within a cast of each other more than once. Their dialogue has stopped. From what we understand it wasn't all cordial. We are fixing to leave to chase down Thrift.
> 7:20 am: First mental test of the day for Gagliardi. The local sitting on his first spot is inside of him and seems to be unwilling to cede the area to Anthony. We've heard them chatting but can't hear the context. Gagliardi missed a schooler. He fired back with a different bait but no dice. This will be interesting to watch as the local continues to zig-zag across the area in front of Gagliardi.
> 7:15 am: We managed to lose Thrift on the way out of the blast-off area so we followed Anthony Gagliardi to his first spot. This is where we watched him yesterday down by the north end of the dam. There's a local sitting on his spot.
> 7:01 am: It's time to fish. We are going to follow Bryan Thrift to start. The skies are clear and it's fixing to be a hot one.