Photo by BassMaster Elite series marshal Mark Williams
We've had an eye on John Crews for a few hours now, with breaks to report on Zell Rowland and David Walker. John filled his livewell early and since then has struggled to find fish. With the water level changing and the weather fluctuating many of these guys are having trouble finding a consistent pattern. We've watched John fish the banks of a small bay. Then fish a dock. Then fish off shore. He just made a long run and is fishing around tall grass now. I think he's throwing a swim jig. Before the long run we asked where he was headed next.
"I don't really know," he said. The thing I see from these top anglers is when something is not working they move on and try something else. Versatility may be the name of the game this week.
David Walker has got it going now with his 4th keeper a 4 pounder.
Greg Hackney has reluctantly released a 3-pound bass, which he could have used to cull his total up a half-pound or so. But after a careful examination, Hackney felt like he couldn't afford to keep it. The fish inhaled the bait so deep that it was hooked in the gills. Rather than keep it and take a chance on the fish going belly-up before the day is over, Hackney released it.
On another subject, Hackney said he's seeing water surface temperature readings around 61 degrees today, a slight drop from yesterday when he was seeing 62 most often in here. But that's nothing like the drop he's witnessed this week. The water temperature was 75 degrees here during practice.
"It just doesn't do that in May around here," Hackney said.
But it has this week. The air temperature right now is 56 degrees. Feels like 39 to the no-long-johns-wearing James Overstreet and me.
Another indication of the knuckleball that Lake Dardanelle often pitches to bass fishermen can be found in the two-day standings. The formula for estimating the Top 50 cut weight after Day 1 is to double the weight of 50th place and add or subtract two pounds. When the Elite Series began, it was usually subtract two pounds. But lately it's been add two pounds.
As Kevin VanDam noted earlier this season, "These guys are getting better at getting dialed-in after the first day."
Lake Dardanelle took us back to the old formula and beyond. Fifth place on Day 1 was 14-14, which doubled equals 29-12. Casey Ashley took 50th place with a total of 26-2, minus 3-10, which is an unusual occurrence on the Elite Series.
Photo taken by Bassmaster Elite Series Marshal Jason Deblock