Top lures at Lake Dardanelle Posted on June 10, 2017 Photo: Carey Barrett - Lake Dardanelle proved the most challenging stop thus far for the 2017 Bassmaster Elite Series. There was no easy ticket to winning. No sight fishing. No ledge fishing. Mostly junk fishing. Just grinding it out on a muddy, fluctuating Arkansas River. All captions: Craig Lamb Photo: James Overstreet - In the end it came down to two top pros on the tour: Mark Davis, calling Dardanelle his ânemesisâ lake, and Steve Kennedy, the happy-go-lucky pro on a hot streak. Photo: James Overstreet - The nemesis factor struck again for Davis. Kennedy won the GoPro Bassmaster Elite at Dardanelle presented by Econo Lodge. The Alabama pro claimed his third Elite Series trophy and the first since 2011. Check out the wide array of lures used, from top to bottom of the water column. Photo: Garrick Dixon - Brandon Palaniuk Championship Monday began with a monsoon. Brandon Palaniuk was ready. He continued a strong season with a 12th-place finish at Lake Dardanelle. To move into third place in Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year he used these lures. Photo: Garrick Dixon - Palaniuk cranked a Rapala DT Flat 7, Ikeâs Caribbean Shad to cover water. For a finesse approach he used a 3/16-ounce VMC Stand Up Shakey Head Jig with a Zoom Z3 Trick Worm, Z3 Edge color. Alternatively, he used a 3/4-ounce VMC Ike Approved Rugby Jig, with a 4.25-inch Zoom Z Craw, California 320 color. Photo: Garrick Dixon - Cliff Prince Cliff Prince finished 11th by focusing on the shad spawn. He used an imitator of the real thing in this Greenfish Tackle Michael Murphyâs High Class Spinnerbait. To match the shad he chose a white spinnerbait with silver double willowleaf blades. Photo: Garrick Dixon - Michael Iaconelli Michael Iaconelli finished 10th and made a much-needed jump in the AOY standings. Ike deployed junk fishing, a favorite tournament tactic, using up to a dozen lure combinations. One of the favorites was this Rapala DT6. Photo: Garrick Dixon - The primary choice on Day 1 was a 3/8-ounce Missile Jigs Ikeâs Mini Flip Jig, with 4-inch Berkley Havoc Ikeâs Subwoofer trailer. On Day 2 the front-runner was a 3/16-ounce VMC Ike Approved Rugby Jig and 4.75-inch Berkley Havoc Larry Nixon Bottom Hopper. He mixed up the choices for the remainder of the tournament. Photo: Garrick Dixon - David Mullins David Mullins finished ninth using these lures. To cover water he used this 3/8-ounce Z-Man The Original Chatterbait, Perch, with matching ElaZtech trailer. For a slower approach he used a prototype 8-inch Doomsday Tackle Roku Worm. He rigged that to a 4/0 hook and 5/16-ounce sinker. Photo: Garrick Dixon - Matt Lee To finish eighth, Matt Lee relied on three primary lures. Two were chosen for the early morning shad spawn. For punching heavy vegetation he used a 4.5-inch Strike King Denny Brauer Pro Flip Tube. Color choice was Black/Blue Flake with Blue Tail. He rigged that to a 5/0 Strike King Hack Attack Heavy Cover Flippin Hook, with a 1.25-ounce weight. Photo: Garrick Dixon - âI liked this inline buzzer for skipping it around heavy vegetation, without getting it fouled.â That choice was a 1/4-ounce model with matching white, 4-inch Strike King Rage Twin Tail Menace Grub. He also rigged the grub to a 1/4-ounce Strike King Hack Attack Heavy Cover Swim Jig. Photo: Garrick Dixon - Cliff Pace Cliff Pace finished seventh at Lake Dardanelle using three primary lures. For the early morning shad spawn he used a topwater and then switched to a crankbait and soft plastic rig. Photo: Garrick Dixon - The choices began with this Black Label Tackle RicochetâLights Out crankbait. Alternatively, he used this Jackall SK-Pop Grande, or a 4-inch V&M Flat Wild. He rigged that to a 5/0 Eagle Claw Straight Shank Needle-Point Hook, and a 3/8-ounce Elite Tungsten Flippinâ Weight. Photo: Garrick Dixon - Jamie Hartman Jamie Hartman, the Bassmaster Elite Series rookie from New York, fished his third Top 12 of the season at Lake Dardanelle. To finish sixth he used a Carolina rig and a jig later in the day. This topwater was the frontrunner for his best fish of the week. Photo: Garrick Dixon - The choice was this Heddon Saltwater One Knocker Spook, Bone pattern. The lure enhances Heddonâs proven Zara Spook design with a single tungsten rattle inside a specially designed sound chamber. The louder âthumpâ noise enabled Hartman to get the attention of bass feeding on shad. Photo: Garrick Dixon - Dean Rojas Dean Rojas and Kermit strike again, this time at Dardanelle. âA lot of guys fished a frog but they didnât pick up on this technique.â That was flipping and pitching a frog of his design. Photo: Garrick Dixon - Rojas finished fifth using this 2.5-inch Spro Dean Rojas Bronzeye Frog 65, Midnight Walker. The tactic involved pitching the frog on top of heavy vegetation, giving it a shake, and waiting for the strike. Photo: Garrick Dixon - Mark Menendez Mark Menendez qualified for a second Top 12 of the season at Lake Dardanelle, where he finished fourth. Photo: Garrick Dixon - He did that using a flipping rig and this Strike King KVD HC Squarebill 1.5. âI fished it around wood and rock on the main river, while flipping in the back water.â For that tactic he used a 4-inch Strike King KVD Perfect Plastics Game Hawg. Photo: Garrick Dixon - Kevin VanDam To finish third Kevin VanDam rotated through four primary lures. For the shad spawn he used this 3/8-ounce Strike King KVD Heavy Cover Swim Jig, with a 4-inch Strike King Rage Twin Tail Menace Grub. The all-white package matched the shad. Photo: Garrick Dixon - For covering water he chose this 4.5-inch Strike King KVD Jerkbait, Sexy Shad. Photo: Garrick Dixon - Later in the day he switched to this Strike King KVD HC Shallow Squarebill 1.5, Chartreuse Splatterback. Photo: Garrick Dixon - KVD also used this 5/16-ounce Strike King Tour Grade Skipping Jig, black/blue, with matching Menace Grub. He also Texas-rigged the grub with 5/0 Strike King Hack Attack Heavy Cover Flippin Hook and 5/16-ounce Strike King Tour Grad Tungsten Weight. Photo: Garrick Dixon - Mark Davis Mark Davis fished a submerged gravel quarry and underwater mining roadbed for the runner-up spot. For topwater action he used this 4.5-inch Strike King KVD Sexy Dawg, Bone color. Photo: Garrick Dixon - Another top choice was this 3.75-inch Strike King KVD HC Squarebill 1.5, Sexy Chrome. âI fished the topwater over the road bed and also cranked it and fished around shellbeds.â Photo: Garrick Dixon - Steve Kennedy Steve Kennedy had a flooded gravel pit all to himself. The winner averaged just below 16 pounds a day using this lineup of lures. For topwater action he chose a 2.5-inch Spro Dean Rojas Bronzeye Frog 65, Natural Green. Photo: Garrick Dixon - Here are the payoff baits. He used this 3/4-ounce D&L Tackle Advantage Jig, green pumpkin and white colors, with matching 2-inch Zoom Super Chunk. Alternatively, he used a 3.5-inch Reaction Innovations Smallie Beaver. He rigged it to a 2/0 straight-shank hook and 3/4-ounce tungsten weight.