Lake Dardanelle is a renowned junk-fishing lake that rewards multiple tactics and techniques. For champion Quincy Houchin, that meant flipping wood and rocks in an isolated pocket on the north side of the lake.
Here's a look at what the top pros used to catch finicky largemouths in the first stop of the Costa FLW Series Central Division presented by T-H Marine.
1. Despite diminishing weights, champion Quincy Houchin resisted the temptation to relocate. He caught almost all of his fish flipping a green pumpkin/red flake Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver to submerged wood in depths of 2 to 3 feet and 8 to 9 feet.
2. Tom Silber climbed from 26th place to third to second by junk-fishing with a variety of baits, including a chartreuse/black SPRO Little John MD crankbait, a chartreuse/white 3/4-ounce Mann's Classic Spinnerbait with No. 7 and No. 3 Indiana blades and a 6-inch white Mister Twister trailer, and a black/blue 1/2-ounce Lunker Lure Rattleback Jig.
3. Joey Cifuentes relied on a finesse pattern in heavily fished areas during the first two days with a 1/8-ounce War Eagle Shakey Head Jig and a 7-inch green pumpkin Zoom Trick Worm. He caught his entire limit in the third round amid a shad spawn with a citrus shad Strike King 1.5 square-bill crankbait.
4. Josh Ray caught almost all of his fish on a natural green SPRO Bronzeye Frog with a G. Loomis GLX rod and Vicious No-Fade Braid. He also caught a few fish on a black/blue homemade swim jig with an electric blue Zoom Z-Craw.
5. Zach King caught all of his fish in heavily pressured areas by dead-sticking a 5-inch watermelon/red YUM Dinger on a 5/0 Gamakatsu hook.
6. Evan Barnes relied on a junk-fishing package that included a River2Sea spinnerbait in lemonade twist color with tandem Colorado blades, including a red “kicker” blade. He also used a River2Sea Biggie square-bill crankbait in the “I Know It” color and a 3/8-ounce Jig-Sooie finesse jig in Arkansas craw color with a NetBait Tiny Paca Craw trailer.
10. Brandon Lee probed thick cover off the main river with a 5-inch watermelon/red Yamamoto Senko with a 5/16-ounce tungsten weight and a 6-inch junebug Zoom Lizard with a 1/4-ounce tungsten weight. He also threw a green pumpkin Missile Baits D Bomb. He used 4/0 worm hooks.