Tournament junkie's dream

If you are a tournament junkie like me then you’ve got to be excited about this derby on Lake Dardanelle. Here’s what’s so cool about what’s to come.

This lake fishes like a river and that aspect has thrown a curve ball into the game plans of everyone. In recent days the river took on flood waters upstream from Oklahoma. All that water is coming down river. “Chocolate milk” is a commonly used word to reference the conditions of the main river channel. The anglers seem to be shying away from an offshore, typical summer bite on the river.

This lake has a year-round population of shallow bass. So who needs the river? Guess we’ll find out. Subtract the river channel from the sum of the whole and you get a concentrated group of anglers fishing shallow. “It’ll fish small, very small.” I heard that often when interviewing anglers yesterday.

“This will be a junk fisherman’s paradise.” That’s a quote from Michael Iaconelli. Junk fishing tournaments are fun to follow for a couple reasons. Junk fishing requires an all out, wide-open approach. Every lure you can imagine is in play and that covers a wide spectrum when those baits are targeting shallow bass.

Finally, what's really cool is what we all stand to learn as average anglers. There is no single, strong pattern. Sure, there is the usual shad spawn but it turns off sooner than later. No sight fishing. No ledge fishing. No intercepting a steady flow of post-spawn bass headed out to deeper water.

It’ll be fun to watch this one, for sure.

Junk fisherman's dream

This morning on Michael Iaconelli’s front deck were more than a dozen spinning and casting outfits, each rigged up with a different lure.

“Each of those has an application, a single use,” he said, pointing to the spread. “Every lure has a specific target zone.”

What’s going on at Lake Dardanelle is very much in the wheelhouse of Iaconelli.

“This is what I call a junk fisherman’s paradise,” he continued. “Muddy, flooded conditions.”

“There is no specific pattern, really, since the fish are so scattered."

All of the baits are different but have one thing in common. Every lure has a resemblance to the action or appearance of a shad.

“Imitate the forage, cover a lot of water, and you stand the chance of having a good day."

Watch the video here.

BassCam: Ike's junk fishing clinic

Check out all the rods, reels and lures on the front deck of Michael Iaconelli's boat. Each rig serves a purpose. Watch how he plans to use all of them. 

Howell made the run

Randy Howell made a 25-minute boat run to find cleaner water. He drove quite a ways back in a creek, and is literally by himself in here.

He said either that's a good thing or a bad thing.

As most do, he's moving quickly looking for active fish, and he's found a couple, but they've missed he hooks. He's cycling through rods pretty regularly, but he's bound to hook up soon with the activity in this area.

BassCam: B. Hite shares his Dardanelle strategy

Brett Hite shares his strategy for Lake Dardanelle.

BassCam: Chapman's Day 1 game plan

Brent Chapman sets up for Day 1 on Lake Dardanelle.

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The marshals get ready

Chuck Harbin makes sure the Marshals are ready and understand the rules. 

Photo by Bassmaster Marshal Bobby Hogan