Short holds slim lead on Day 1 at Lake Dardanelle - Major League Fishing

Short holds slim lead on Day 1 at Lake Dardanelle

Image for Short holds slim lead on Day 1 at Lake Dardanelle
Kevin Short has a 1-ounce lead over the second-place angler after Day 1 at Lake Dardanelle. Photo by Matt Brown. Angler: Kevin Short.
April 4, 2023 • Erik Gaffron • Toyota Series

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – Day 1  got off to a gloomy start for the 161 pros and Strike King co-anglers at Lake Dardanelle for the Toyota Series Southwestern Division’s second event. Overcast skies and a light (but building) wind made conditions challenging for anglers hoping to sight fish spawning bass shallow.

Anglers were forced to either slow down and work over areas methodically or junk fish their way to a limit to have a shot to make the cut. Kevin Short did both, weighing in 18 pounds 10 ounces on his way to a 1-ounce lead over Zach King and a 7-ounce lead over Cole Breeden.

“Better than expected, man,” Short said of his day. “I was hoping for 13 or 14 pounds. I just got lucky and caught a couple bigger than average. I caught quite a few fish, more than I thought I would. So, it was an awesome day.”

Short described his first couple of hours of the morning as “busy” before a lull slowed him down for a couple of hours. 

“For some reason, they were really aggressive this morning,” Short said. “I don’t know why that was, but I think it made it a better day.”

Later in the day, Short’s bite picked up as he utilized his full toolbox to cull his way up to Day 1’s top bag. Short’s fish are spawning, and although he can’t see them to sight fish for them, he’s slowing down and thoroughly milking all his areas to maximize his chances.

“Man, I’m doing everything,” he said. “I’m winding, I’m flipping, I’m pitching; I’m crawling stuff on the bottom slowly, I’m dead sticking, you know? Just whatever it takes.”

Day 2 will certainly be interesting for Short and the field, with intense, severe storms predicted to hit the region overnight. Short’s not so sure how it will affect his fish, but he knows it could be a totally different Dardanelle tomorrow.

“I’ve got three or four more areas that are just like the one I fished today that the fish are spawning in,” Short said. “I don’t know that they’re going to leave, I mean, they might. I’m just going to go to a different area tomorrow and see what happens.”

King hot on the trail

Clarksville, Arkansas, pro Zach King is just a hair off the leader’s pace, trailing a mere ounce behind Short. Knowing he was on the right fish, King was happy with how his first day went as he got after the bed-fishing game that dominated the action on Day 1.

“I live here, so the knowledge is key of course,” King said. “I’m bed fishing, it’s no secret. Everybody knows that about me out here. I’m just looking for them. I found a couple of good ones in practice and after I went looking and found the rest of them today.”

King’s bite was steady all day on Tuesday as he mulled over fresh areas looking for new spawners moving to the bank. He’s unsure how the overnight weather is going to affect the fishing, but he intends to lean on his knowledge of Dardanelle to help him stay in contention on Day 2. While fish were moving to him on Day 1, he knows they could easily pull off the bank tomorrow and do something different.

“They were coming today,” Short said. “Tomorrow’s a different day. It’s going to cool off. But they’ve been coming to me pretty hard. The fish that were coming up will probably stay up, they’ll just be harder to catch. It just depends on how much the temperature drops overnight.”

Top 10 Pros

1. Kevin Short – 18-10 (5)
2. Zach King – 18-9 (5)
3. Cole Breeden – 18-3 (5)
4. Matt Baker – 17-2 (5)
5. Kirk Smith – 16-10 (5)
6. Travis Mosley – 16-9 (5)
7. Mat Higby – 16-7 (5)
8. Derick Maschmeier – 16-4 (5)
9. Travis Harriman – 15-13 (5)
10. Ethan Legare – 15-6 (5)


Chavers takes Strike King co-angler lead

Robert Chavers worked his way to the top spot at the end of Day 1 for the Strike King co-angler division. His limit of 16 pounds, 10 ounces gives him a 5-ounce lead over his nearest pursuer in Mike Jones.

“It’s typical Dardanelle,” said Chavers, a Knoxville, Arkansas, resident. “It helps having grown up on this lake and tournament-fished here since I was 18. It gives you an idea of where to fish and how to fish. Pretty simple, ‘April on Dardanelle’ fishing. Just got to slow down and soak a bait.”

Chavers is working behind his boaters with a self-described “power finesse” tactic with finesse lures on beefed-up baitcasting equipment. He has a positive outlook on Day 2 and hopes that the inclement weather brings a major feed for the bass on Dardanelle.

“If it rains tomorrow the bite will get better,” he said. “Now the cold weather that comes with it, I don’t know (if that will affect anything). But if it rains, the bite will get better. This place is notorious for that. If it’s going to storm, they’re going to eat.”