The sense of optimism among the anglers fishing the Bassmaster Legends on the Arkansas River is bleak. While being barraged by questions before the 6:50 a.m. takeoff, one Elite angler had an inquiry of his own:
With two Bassmaster Classic titles and more than $2 million in winnings in BASS events, it's obvious Kevin VanDam doesn't make many mistakes once he gets a fish hooked. But he made one Thursday on the Arkansas River during the CITGO Bassmaster Legends Tournament presented by Goodyear.
The Arkansas River and its 15-inch slot limit severely limited the Bassmaster Elite Series anglers on the first day of the Bassmaster Legends, a local angler said.
The Arkansas River will always be a special place to Mike McClelland, except for when it is fishing this hard.
Eleven goose eggs. An average weight of 4 pounds, 7 ounces per angler. An average fish catch of 1.8 bass per angler. These aren't typical numbers for 55 of the world's best bass fishermen on the Arkansas River.
By just about all accounts, the first day of the Bassmaster Legends presented by Goodyear was a frustrating experience for the 55 anglers competing in the final Major of the 2006 season.
Rick Clunn believes no one will ever win another Bassmaster Classic like he did in 1984 on the Arkansas River at Pine Bluff. It doesn't matter where or when the Classic is held, he thinks changes in the sport have eliminated the chance of anyone emulating Clunn's method.
The top 12 will fish new water on Saturday. But Bassmaster.com wanted to know what they did to get to the semi-final round. Here are the keys to their success:
For Mike McClelland, the secret to success when it comes to catching fish on the stingy Arkansas River is simple: Catch five keepers in the first two hours and chill for the rest of the day.