Anglers said Thursday that current didn’t matter during the first round of the Toyota Series Plains Division opener presented by Fish-Intel at Lake Dardanelle, but apparently it matters more than they thought.
With no current, anglers struggled to get bites in the morning, even in the upper part of the lake where many anglers went for numbers.
One exception was Brian Vaughn of Hollister, Mo., who got three big bites before 8 a.m., in the Okane backwater. Unfortunately, he didn’t boat any of those fish. He hooked and lost a 5-pounder on the first cast using a square-bill crankbait. He next hooked and lost a 3-pounder and then a 2-pounder.
“That’s 10 pounds right there,” says an anguished Vaughn.
“I know there’s a 20-pound bag in here,” Vaughn says. “They replenish in here pretty quick. I can catch one and go back over the same cover and catch another one.”
Vaughn alternated the square-bill with a jig and a blue YUM craw trailer.
Fishing near Vaughn, Billy Doak of Centerview, Mo., caught 9 pounds, 12 ounces on Thursday, but he struggled for bites on Friday.
One major change was a dramatic drop in the water level, about 18 inches, that left much of Thursday’s cover high and dry. Anglers scrambled looking for new cover. A high percentage of them defaulted to fishing jetties and bank cover on the main river.
Among them was Andre Dickneite of Freeburg, Mo., who won a Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event last week on Lake of the Ozarks. He caught three largemouth bass off jetties by 8:50 a.m. on a Missile D Bomb.
Travis Harriman of Huntsville, Ark., had one fish by 9 a.m. He says his co-angler outfished him Thursday using shaky heads, so Harriman resorted to shaky heads on Friday.
Kevin Rogers of Pleasant Hill, Mo., used vibrating jigs and topwaters to boat two keepers by 9:20 a.m.
“I haven’t changed what I was doing, but I probably should,” Rogers says. “They’re here. I’ve just got to figure them out. I’ve missed a bunch. I caught one that I had to throw at four times.”
Drew Sagely of Rogers, Ark., expected Friday’s bite to be slow, and it was. He caught one bass, a 2-pounder, before 10 a.m.
Fishing in Little Spadra Creek, Brandon Lee of Ratcliff, Ark., caught three keepers by 10 a.m. Austin Brown of Benton, Ky., had one keeper by 10 a.m.
“I lost a couple,” Brown says. “It’s a little slower than yesterday, and it wasn’t great yesterday. I went to a different creek hoping to catch better quality and they have been better quality, but I’ve only caught one. When you have to make 200 flips to get a bite, I’m not expecting to get bit. And when they do bite, they bite when I’m pulling out and not expecting it.”