I like mud

Before I get going on this thing I want to thank everyone for asking about Sharron. She recently had a series of routine tests this morning and everything looks good. We’re real happy about that. The future looks positive.

I’m guessing that Lake Dardanelle will be up and muddy when we start fishing the GoPro Bassmaster Elite at Dardanelle presented by Econo Lodge, but it won’t be as bad as some guys are saying. There’s a lot of water around where I live, and it’s all running into Dardanelle. That’ll make a mess in the upper part of the lake — the river — where the water might be as much as 10 feet high, but the lower lake should be flattened out and in pretty good shape.

Safety could be a serious concern if guys don’t pay attention to what they’re doing. Most of the drift will probably be up against the bank so that won’t be a factor, and you can see the stuff that’s floating and avoid it. The wing dams are marked on most maps so they shouldn’t be a problem, either.

The stuff that’ll get you, though, is out in the middle. It’s what you can’t see. Sunken logs and other kinds of drift that’s just under the surface will rip out your lower unit before you even know you’ve hit it. And, if you hit it wrong it can flip your boat. In that case your lower unit will be the least of your problems.

But I have a plan for dealing with it — run full throttle with my trim up and hope for the best. That’s what I’ve done for 30 years, and I’ll probably do it for another 30 if I can.

There’s a lot of talk about fishing the muddy water, but as far as I’m concerned that kind of water is good. I like mud. Besides, the water’s been that way for at least two or three weeks now so they should be getting used to it. They gotta eat, you know.

If I remember right, the last time we were there it fished pretty small. The creeks in the lower end seemed to produce the best. I’m guessing we'll see the same thing this time. A lot of the guys will be bunched up in a few places that have decent water.

The heavy current flow will add to that problem. After so long a time the bass will want out of the current. That’ll put them in the creeks where there’s slack water. The guys will be on top of every one of those places. 

My plan at this point is to pitch and flip into whatever I can find that’s shallow. If that doesn’t work, I’ll probably fish a spinnerbait and some topwater. I think there’ll be a strong bite in the water willow. A black frog, black buzzbait or a black Whopper Plopper should get them going.

You can’t be for sure about what I just said, though. The guys out there right now are really good. One of them might find something totally different and give us all a good butt kicking.

That’s my take on things. If I’m right, I’ll be real smart. If I’m wrong, it won’t be the first time.