LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- The Arkansas River playing field for the Diamond Drive Elite Series event is sliced into five segments (pool 4 through pool 8), which are divided by a series of locks and dams. As Day One played out on these individual bodies of water, it became apparent that some sections were better than others. The reason?
“It’s all about the flow,” native son Kevin Short proclaimed, talking about the amount of current generated by the release of water from a particular dam.
“The area I fished was flowing about 70,000 (cubic feet per second) during practice, and I couldn’t keep fish off my crankbait. Today, they dropped the flow to about 35,000 and I couldn’t hardly buy a bite.”
Short ended Day One with 6-14.
Alabama pro Randy Howell agreed.
“A super heavy flow positions the fish right against the bank, so you know exactly where the bass are gonna be. And even when they are hiding behind rocks and debris along the bank, they still have to swim to keep from getting washed down the river. This constant activity forces them to eat whatever comes their way, so the fish are easy to catch. That certainly wasn’t the case today where I was fishing!” Howell said, going into Day Two with 9-6.
“The inconsistency of the water levels really hurt, too,” added Greg Hackney.
“I fished a pool this morning that was 2 feet low, and I went back and fished it this afternoon and the water was up so high it was flooding the shoreline bushes. That really confuses the fish.”
Hackney managed to catch a limit, but they weighed only 8-6.
Conversely, Shaw Grigsby found himself in one of the segments that was flowing heavily and sacked 13 pounds, enough weight to put him in serious contention of winning this event.
“The current was crazy strong and it put those fish right were they needed to be,” grinned the Florida pro.
Perhaps what is most frustrating to the pros is the fact that there is no way to tell how the water will flow on Day Two.
“There’s really no rhyme or reason to how the water is managed down the river,” Short said. “They have a lot to consider with as much rain as we’ve had lately, so it’s not like you can look at a water release schedule and plan your fishing day around it. It’s just going to be a roll of the dice.”