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Lieblong Dominates Dardanelle Rayovac

Lieblong Dominates Dardanelle Rayovac
Jason Lieblong

Not expecting an easy go of it on Lake Dardanelle, Jason Lieblong was pleasantly surprised with his wire-wire-wire victory in the Rayovac FLW Series Central Division event on this Arkansas River impoundment.

“To lead this event day by day, I didn’t think I’d do that,” Lieblong says. “I thought it would be back and forth.”

Having lead the event for two days, the pro from Conway, Ark., carried a 14-ounce lead into the final round. After weighing a limit of 12 pounds, 2 ounces on day three, Lieblong closed the door with a tournament total of 46-3 and a 2-pound, 2-ounce margin of victory.

Lieblong did so largely by fishing shallow cover in about two feet of water. Reed lines with secondary cover were his main targets, and gaps where the current had washed away reeds received extra attention.

“I fished the ends of the reeds where current was coming around them with some backwater behind them,” Lieblong reveals. “Some (reed lines) had grass or logs laying there on the end.

“Today, my fish came from the same places I had been fishing (on days one and two). I just milked them.”

Working about eight miles from takeoff in the mid-lake area, Lieblong fished the reeds with a Texas-rigged Zoom Old Monster worm in redbug color, a Texas-rigged black and blue Zoom Speed Craw and ChatterBaits (black/blue, white) with Speed Craw trailers.

In areas where lily pads complemented the reed cover, Lieblong used a combination of a Koppers Live Target topwater frog and a Stanley Top Toad.

Today, and on day two, Lieblong also worked a little brush pile action into his game plan. Whenever he spotted gizzard shad schooling on flats adjacent to the reed lines he’d drag that Old Monster past the structure.

“I knew there were brush piles under where those shad were schooling,” Lieblong says.

With heavy rains falling shortly before the tournament, the Army Corps of Engineers had been dropping Dardanelle’s water level during practice. This falling water created the favorable current levels that prompt some pretty crazy bass action.

However, Lieblong noted that a sharp decline in water release schedules during the tournament days, coupled with the hot summer weather, put the bass in a funk and made for tough fishing conditions.

“In practice, the fish were pretty easy to catch, but in the tournament they were harder to catch because the water came up,” he adds. “When the water was low, I was catching them better so I was hoping they were going to drop it (rapidly), but they didn’t. The water just stayed steady and I think the fish just settled into where they were sitting. I wanted the water to drop so it would pull the fish out.”

Lieblong took the lead on day one with 19-10 — the heaviest bag of the tournament. He added 14-7 on day two.

Coming off a good practice, Lieblong knew that a strong start was essential for the long run. Expanding his lake knowledge also played a key role in his success.

“I just figured if I made the top-10 I’d have a good shot at it,” he says. “You had to catch them good the first day because they were biting.

“It was so good (in practice) it was stupid. I had to leave my fish alone and I explored places on Dardanelle I’d never seen. Just going out and knocking around and finding schools of fish paid off.”

 

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Tags: lake-dardanelle  jason-lieblong  david-a-brown  headline-story  2015-08-13-lake-dardanelle 

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