A graph showing the water level of Lake Dardanelle looks like an EKG (electrocardiogram). It's constant ups-and-downs are the main reason why consistency is so difficult for bass anglers here. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette prints the state's lake and river levels in a chart each day. It lists the change recorded from the previous 24-hour period.
Here's what the readings have been this week at Dardanelle:
Monday - minus 5.48 feet
Tuesday - plus 0.75
Wednesday - minus 1.27
Thursday - minus 2.74
Friday - plus 2.36
Saturday - plus 0.51
Combined with a weather pattern that has been similarly unstable, it created a puzzle that some accomplished Elite Series anglers couldn't solve. The Toyota Angler of the Year standings will dramatically change as a result: 10 of the top 15 in the point standings didn't make the Top 50 cut, and they weren't even close. Kevin VanDam's 71st place finish - the worst in his Elite Series career - was tops among the 10 missing the cut.
That's created a great opportunity for Greg Hackney, Aaron Martens, Chad Morgenthaler, Keith Combs and Gerald Swindle - the five in the AOY top 15 who are still alive and kicking this weekend.