And if you think the 2009 leaders have been turned upside down, take a look at the anglers who are doing well on Dardanelle this year. John Crews (currently 2nd) finished 61st in 2009). Zell Rowland (currently 3rd) finished 89th. Rick Clunn (currently 5th) was 76th. Only Greg Hackney (the leader after two days) made a check here in 2009; he was 49th — just barely inside the cut. Keith Combs (currently 4th) and Keith Poche (currently 6th) were not in the Elite Series in 2009.
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.
Photo by Bassmaster Marshal Mark Williams
The Top 12 this year will look a lot different than it did in 2009. Mark Menendez, the winner that year, and Cliff Pace (7th) are sitting out this season. Jim Murray (4th), Denny Brauer (5th) and Bradley Hallman (12th) are no longer competing in the Elite Series. KVD (2nd), Chris Lane (3rd), Fred Roumbanis (8th), Matt Herren (9th), Alton Jones (10th) and Greg Vinson (11th) have all been eliminated in 71st place or worse. That leaves Skeet Reese, who was 6th in 2009 and is currently 23rd, as the only angler with a chance to repeat as a finalist on Dardanelle.
After a slow morning, Combs still doesn't have a limit. He's decided to make the big move to his other area.
Greg Hackney was surprised by his fifth keeper of the day. It was a spotted bass caught deep in this pocket where he's caught all his fish this morning. A breeze is now blowing directly in here, making this an unseasonably cold mid-May day. The birds seem happy. They're chirping away. But photographer James Overstreet and I aren't happy. We're short on winter clothes.
War Room checks in with the leaders of Day 3 of the Bassmaster Elite on Lake Dardanelle.
Jake Jacobs (left) and Nathan Cathcart are out here watching John Crews fish. They're his only spectators at the moment. Both fished on the college fishing team at Arkansas Tech University located in Russellville. And, by the way, the school nickname is "The Wonder Boys." Apparently a football player picked up that name many years ago and it stuck. Jake has completed his degree in ag business. And Nathan is a senior in business.