It’s a big, big bass. Everything that makes bass fishing premium fishing is at Lake Dardanelle. The weights from day 1 have been sizable. The lake was over pressured and it’s made a comeback, the fish are getting bigger and the grass is coming back, conservation matters.
The Illinois Bayou
Greg Hackney is taking the lead in AOY. Fluctuation in the water due to the rain had kept the fish on the banks. It’s a huge spawning area right now.
Timing and consistency, punching grassmats
How to approach it? Maybe the bass are looking for bait food but they will snuggle up with a topwater coming through the grassmats. It seemed the fishing on the lake may not go as well as planned, but the Pros knew how to make their bites count. Break down all the grass you can find thoroughly and come back again. If you don’t find them some other Pro will.
Chris Lanes boat was on fire, literally.
The final cast
Starting the competition out with 150 Pros, then 50 and the final days it’s down to 12. The fifth Bassmaster Elite winner of the year. Greg Hackney led for three days.
10-Paul Elias started today with 48 pounds and 9 ounces, for 16 pound and four ounces and his stringer for the tournament was 64-12 all caught on a crankbait for four days. $12, 000.
6TH-Mike Iaconelli was in the eleventh place on Saturday 48. and on Sunday 18-pounds and 67.2. “Fish the moment. Everything I fished was submerging grass with a vibrating jig, Rapala DT6.” $13, 500.
12-2009 Bassmaster Classic Champion, Skeet Reese went into Sunday with 48-12, 11-1 on Sunday 59-13 still finished in the top twelve. It’s like the old question, what do you call the doctor who got a C+, you still call him doctor. Reese is still a Pro with a great finish on Dardanelle, and got some valuable angler of the year points and $10, 500.
8-Chris “The California Kid” Zaldain 49-4, 17-6, 66-10 nine ounces short of the lead. “I like working on Sundays. I had a lot of fun. From one to 2pm I was running it and gunning it on the points. Mentally, when something is going wrong you have to do something to get that positive momentum going. 2 weeks ago I caught that big fish and it woke me up. I was fishing offshore, started the morning doing that and it worked the rest of the day for me.” $12, 5000.
11-Five time Bassmaster winner, 2004 Bassmaster Classic winner, Takahiro Omori, 49-9 on Saturday, 13-13, 63-6. An awesome finish from a great pro. $11,000.
9-Leading from Day 1, John Crews is a bad, bad, dude. 51-pounds even going into the final day, 14-14. He cut some incredible grass 65-14. Bait a whole laundry list, everything I threw had a missile bait bomb-on the back of a chatter bait, buzzbait, added to it the spro frog during this shallow tournament. I didn’t feel particularly good about one area or one bait. They have fins and they do swim and they will change on you.” $12, 000.
2ND-Warrior, AL Gerald Swindle, left the dock “big and loud” Sunday with 51-14, add 20-1, 71-15. “There ain’t no fish left out there, I flipped every twig and mat of grass. Son I have left it out there. I have mowed it down. Just go somewhere where you know they live. The bass sit out in front of the grassmat and then the big ones started climbin’ on it.”
I didn’t have a great pre-fish
Chief Eatin’ Grass. Shoal Creek. “Black and blue chatterbait and tipped it with a Zoom Junior hog. Big and loud is what you need out there with the water the way it is right now. Booyah spinner bait tipped with a Zoom Big Salty Chunk. You want the fish to see the bait. I had the greatest 40-minutes of my life in all my years of fishing. I don’t know where my marshal is but he’s somewhere freaking out. When it goes you way it goes your way. The man upstairs, I owe ya.”
“I have a superstition you don’t catch a fish on the first cast. I caught a bass a 4-pounder on the first cast. So there went the superstition. Arkansas has always been good to me and shined the light on me.” $25, 000.
7TH-The pride of Louisiana, Cliff “Cajun Baby” Croche, 52-5 off the dock Sunday morning take-off, 14-9, 66-14. “Day 1 I was in 69th place, and Friday I had a big one come off. And fishing on Sunday on the Elite Series it doesn’t get any better. $13, 000.
Jason Christie 53-1, big, big bass. Come here fishy fishy. 19-2 gets it done to the tune of 72-3. “It’s a competitive sport. I felt like I had a great week. I thought I lost the tournament on Saturday. Jig swimming is what did it for me all week. “
5TH-Won last week on Lake Falcon, Keith Combs, woke up this morning to 54-3 and 14-even bring it 68-3. “Today was a good fishing day but I just couldn’t get the big ones, little rip rap stretches, just plain old river fishing. Swimming a jig, a 2.5 crankbait, String King Hack Attack Jig and picked one area, I didn’t bounce around all over the place. I don’t know that’s how I got here.” $14, 000.
4TH-Rick Clunn, he’s qualified for 32 Bassmaster Classics, four of those he’s won, he’s legendary. 14-time Bassmaster winner. If he won here he would automatically get Bassmaster Classic berth. 55-11 got him out of bed this morning. 15-4, 70-15. “It was executed perfectly, clean and fun. As a Pro angler you know when you need one more. Casting and landing the fish, RC4 Squarebill with those big eagle claw one slash alt hooks on it. During practice I used a Lucky Strike spinnerbait, all my big fish were out in front of the weeds.” $15,000.
“Godzilla ain’t got nothing on me”
3RD-Greg “The hack Attack” Hackney, 56-8, 15-, 71.11. Jason Christie won it $101,000. The Pros make it look easy but there’s a lot more work that goes into getting this far. “I would not be here without Team Christie, my girls and my wife. The fish weren’t eating my jog because they were hungry, it was a reaction bite.” $20,000.
The next Bassmaster Elite Series is in Dayton, Tennessee, Lake Chickamauga June 11-15, 2014.
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