Photographer Chris Irwin sent the accompanying photo of Steve Kennedy with his fifth keeper of the day, which appears to be at least 2 1/2 pounds and maybe closer to 3. That puts him within 2 pounds of leader Mark Davis
Mike Iaconelli hoped the pattern would continue that allowed him to catch an 18-14 big bag of Day 3 on Lake Dardanelle, but he knew that was unlikely. It's been like a new lake/river every day here, and today is no exception.
Iaconelli has been on the move this morning, after discovering what worked yesterday won't work today. According to Steve Bowman, Iaconelli has been in Illinois Bayou, Keener Cove and Dardanelle Bay, searching for clues.
"The key for me this week has been keeping an open mind and practice fishing, sort of, as the day goes on," Iaconelli said yesterday. "The fish are in flux. In practice, I thought I could win this tournament fishing grass. That totally went away. Now I'm doing other stuff."
Current ROY leader Mark Daniels Jr with his Bassmaster LIVE takeaways.
Yesterday, Dean Rojas taught us yet another frog fishing tactic on Bassmaster LIVE. That tactic is flipping and pitching a frog over heavy vegetation.
“A lot of other guys that often throw frogs didn’t clue into certain things,” he told me. “They are great anglers, but I’ve spent literally thousands of hours learning and experimenting how to use the frog.”
Coincidentally, Rojas learned that flipping technique on this very Arkansas River, at the 2006 Bassmaster Major. This week he’s fishing with great confidence in the frog and especially on Day 4.
“The water coming up is going to put more water on the habitat where I’m fishing,” he explained. “That should put more fish in my strike zone."
So far so good. BASSTrakk shows Rojas in 3rd place behind Mark Davis and Kevin VanDam.
Mark Davis had the stars lining up for a victory. He's been fishing a submerged roadbed each morning all week. During regular water levels, the road is dry and his spot is inaccessible.
He's fished it again all morning, then the bite slowed down and he backed off for half an hour or so to let it rest.
Where he's at now stays wet like a slough, and the bass and other fish species spawn and exist back there all the time. It almost acts as rearing pond.
Then, once every 5 to 7 years it floods and those fish can escape and literally restock the area. When the water is rising the bass get pushed back into the slough. But when it begins to drop, the bass pull out and position on the roadbed.
The water is pulling out of here now at a noticeable rate, which should mean we're about to see a show.
Don't know for sure what he's going to do, but everything is right for a final day clinic from Davis.
Consistency has moved Mark Daniels Jr. into the lead of the Rookie of the Year standings. By making his fifth top 50 cut in six events, Daniels moved past event winner Dustin Connell by 4 points, 441-437.
On his way back home to Tuskegee, Ala., the northern California native stopped by Little Rock for an appearance on Bassmaster LIVE. He said winning ROY would be nice, but it's not his first goal on the season.
"It's in the back of my mind, but the main thing about all sports is making the championship, and here, that's the Bassmasters Classic," he said. (Yes, he said it with an 's' on the end, kinda old school.)
Daniels, 35, only missed the cut at Okeechobee but has been consistently inside the cut with 40th at Cherokee, 28th at Toledo Bend, 39th at Ross Barnett, 25th at Sam Rayburn and 28th on Dardanelle.
Jamie Hartman, who began Championship Monday in second with little headroom, stands third in ROY with 423 points, and Jesse Wiggins (382) and Alton Jones Jr. (332) are in the top 5 of the 11 rookies.
Ike just keeps plugging away. He's run from Dardanelle Bay up river to Keener Cove and hitting a long line of grass.
He was here on Day 1 along with a few other boats, including Jason Christie. I believe both caught their limit here that day.
The place is jammed with shad and has some coontail in places. The only action, though, has been provided by a water snake.
It hit a swimming jig and stayed hooked. That's been a common thing this week.
Hopefully, the bass will be as aggressive soon.
Ott DeFoe's low down on the rest of the season.
Another good fish hits the deck. And with this 3 1/2 pounder, VanDam has a limit.
Photographer Garrick Dixon and myself gathered details for the Lures of the Top 12 gallery. Most of the anglers already had both sides of their casting decks loaded with piles of rod-and-reel outfits.
Kevin VanDam is no exception. For the photos KVD held up a double fisted arsenal of lures. Here’s the lineup.
Early in the morning he uses a Strike King KVD Sexy Dawg topwater during the shad spawn. For reaction strikes he uses a Strike King KVD Jerkbait. For a slower presentation he switches to a Strike King Tour Grade Rage Blade Swim Jig, or a Strike King Tour Grade Skipping Jig designed by Andy Montgomery. To that he adds a Strike King Rage Menace. Alternatively, he Texas-rigs the Rage Menace for a finesse approach. A Strike King KVD Finesse Spinnerbait and Strike King KVD HC Shallow Squarebill 1.5 are productive for covering water.
In all, that totals up to seven different lures capable of covering the entire water column, from top to bottom.
Look for the full gallery with more photos, lure details and how those were used midweek.