UPCOMING EVENT: ABU GARCIA COLLEGE FISHING - 2020 - Harris Chain of Lakes

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Dardanelle

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Dardanelle
Second-place pro Kerry Milner started his day at Goose Island.

Jason Lieblong, who won the Rayovac FLW Series Central Division event on Lake Dardanelle, devoted most of his time to fishing reed lines with a mix of chatterbaits, frogs and Texas-rigged worms. He also caught fish by dragging a Texas-rigged 10-inch worm past brush piles in 6-8 feet. Lieblong amassed a three-day total of 46 pound, 3 ounces.

Here’s a look at how the other top-10 anglers caught their fish.

 

2. Spencer Grace - Dardanelle, Ark. - 44-1

Grace says his final morning got off to a blistering start, with a brown/white Live Target frog producing a limit within 10 minutes. He adds he probably could have stuck with that pattern a little longer, but he needed to find better quality fish.

“I caught ’em and caught ’em and caught ’em,” Grace says. “I had one decent one, but they weren’t getting any bigger. So I decided to make a move and go run brush.That’s what didn’t work for me (on day two), but I ended up catching my two biggest fish in the last hour.”

Those afternoon fish ate blue-fleck Missile Baits Tomahawk Worms Texas-rigged with 5/0 hooks and 3/8-ounce bullet weights. Targeting brush in 8 feet of water, Grace used a slow dragging presentation.

“I needed two or three big bites to have a shot at winning and that was the way to win,” notes Grace, who improved his postion each day — sixth on day one, fourth on day two.

Grace reveals that his week consistently offered numbers early in the day and weight later in the afternoon.

“For me, the morning bite was better, but I could catch a better fish in the afternoon,” he says. “It was nice today being able to run around and not have boats everywhere.”

 

3. Jeff Keene - Vinita, Okla. - 43-13

Drawing upon his extensive local experience, Keene chose to forego the heavily pressured bank, as well as the offshore ledges that many were targeting. For him, that mid-depth range was the place to be.

“I’m not a ledge fisherman; I caught all my fish in less than three feet of water,” Keene says. “I caught my fish in grass and around stumps and brush.”

Keen banked most of his tournament on one bait – a technique he credits his father for teaching him.

“I used a 3/8-ounce black/blue swim jig made by a boy here in Russellville, Ark.,” Keene adds. “There’s a black/red-fleck leach on the back.

“I fished that on 20-pound clear blue (fluorocarbon) so when I saw it move, I jerked it.”

Lamenting a missed strike from a bass “eyes as big as quarters,” Keene says he caught his fifth keeper in the last 5 minutes on a balsa crankbait.

 

4. Barry Wilson - Birmingham, Ala. - 43-9

Despite minimal practice time, Wilson steadily increased his productivity with daily weights of 11-4, 15-15 and 16-6. Making a key decision to traverse the Dardanelle Lock yielded favorable results.

“I had a terrible practice, but I had a gut feeling and decided to lock down,” he states. “I grew up on the Coosa River, so river fishing — fishing below tailraces — is what I know.”

Hugging the rocks, Wilson fished a chartreuse/black back Strike King KVD 1.5 squarebill and a 3/8-ounce black/blue Strike King flipping jig with a black/blue Strike King Rage Chunk trailer. He covered water with the crankbait and flipped specific spots.

“I just went down the riprap and anytime I’d find some isolated cover, I’d spend some time there,” he says. “I’d keep rotating and coming back through. I’d hit (that cover) two or three times a day and every now and then, I’d pick up another good one.”

 

5. Kerry Milner - Bono, Ark. - 40-11

With limits of 15-14 and 17-5, the past BFL All-American winner fished his way up to second place by day two, but struggled in the final round as his spots ran low of fish.

Milner started his days looking for frog bites around reed lines and pads. Later in the day, he moved to shell beds that were scattered amid brush piles. The shell bed pattern, he recalls, had gone unnoticed by most of his competitors, who focused on the brush.

This pressure, he explains, seemed to displace many of the fish. Once they resettled on nearby shell beds, Milner would target them with Carolina-rigged Zoom Brush Hogs.

Milner also threw spinnerbaits and swimbaits along the edges of flats when he found the bass running gizzard shad there in the afternoon.

“I never got on anything early this week,” Milner says. “All my fish came late in the afternoon.”

 

6. Scott Suggs - Alexander, Ark. - 37-3

The FLW Tour pro and former Forrest Wood Cup champion Scott Suggs spent most of his time fishing the deeper ledges with 3/4-ounce football head and a green-pumpkin Berkley Havoc Changeup creature bait trailer. For occasional trips to the bank, Suggs flipped the Changeup on a Texas rig.

After limits of 13-4 and 13-12, Suggs struggled for his limit of 10-3 the final day.

“Everything I fished today was totally different,” he says of Saturday’s fishing. “I really fished from the seat of my pants and scratched and pleaded for everything.”

 

7. Austin Brown - Benton, Ky. - 32-14

A top-10 finish was a nice gift for the young pro who celebrated his birthday during the tournament’s final round. A strong day-one performance with 15-10, followed by a solid day-two limit of 11-10 buoyed him for a slow third day in which he found only three keepers for 5-10.

“This place didn’t really show its potential, but it has a lot of big fish — I’ve seen them,” Brown says.

Each day, Brown fished a white ChatterBait around shallow cover. Later in the day, when the fish pulled tighter to cover, he’d switch to a shaky head with a watermelon-colored trick worm.

 

8. Josh Hilton - Clarksville, Ark. - 32-1

Hilton nabbed the tournament’s second-largest sack (behind Lieblong’s 19-10) on day two, but that limit of 18-5 preceded a disappointing final round that yielded only one keeper for 2-12. Hilton had been throwing a black frog and a Texas-rigged Zoom Ol’ Monster worm all week. He caught his day-three fish on the frog.

 

9. Wells Kaiser - Cuba City, Wis. - 29-4

Wells Kaiser

He opened strong with 16-14 on day one, but saw his productivity slip to 9-10 a day later. In the final round, Kaiser managed only one keeper for 2-12. During the week he caught his fish on a Spro frog in the bluegill color and a Texas-rigged Big Bite Baits Craw Tube in junebug. His day-three fish ate a frog.

 

10. Michael Stetich - Ankeny, Iowa - 27-11

Michael Stetich

Stetich employed a diverse attack to secure his weight fish each day. He caught his fish on a 1/2-ounce Dirty Jigs swim jig, a Dave’s Custom Baits Balsa B squarebill (black/chartreuse), a pivot head with a green pumpkin Zoom trick worm and a 4-inch finesse worm on a shaky head.

Working a variety of shallow cover, along with a few spots mid-depth off the bank was the game plan for Stetich. The swim jig and the square-bill were his top producers for the week.

Tags: lake-dardanelle  top-10-patterns  david-a-brown  post-tournament  2015-08-13-lake-dardanelle 

Kritsberg Hits Jackpot With Strickland Mega-Bag

Kritsberg Hits Jackpot With Strickland Mega-Bag

Warren “Butch” Kritsberg has only lived in Florida for a few years, and he’s still learning a lot about fishing the Harris Chain of Lakes. Fortunately, he now has a lot of new intel about where and how to catch giants after riding along with Laramy Strickland on the second tournament day of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event, which was presented by Bad Boy Mowers. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the Harris Chain

Top 10 Patterns from the Harris Chain

Each day of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain of Lakes was markedly different from the day prior. Most of the field struggled a bit, and the final 30 anglers were left scrambling to figure out how to find and catch fish in the post-frontal conditions that are often so detrimental for Florida largemouths.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Harris Chain

Top 10 Baits from the Harris Chain

At Florida’s Harris Chain, in late winter, it’s a good bet the same handful of baits are going to produce more than any others, from Lake Harris down to Apopka. During the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event on the Harris Chain, presented by Bad Boy Mowers, it was Texas rigs with black and blue plastics, jerkbaits, Carolina rigs and a few other moving baits that most often got the call.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the St. Johns

Top 10 Patterns from the St. Johns

The Toyota Series Southern Division opener on the St. Johns River potentially missed some stellar fishing opportunities. Despite being the time of year when big green fish start to move up to the banks en masse to spawn, changing weather conditions and multiple cold fronts kept fish coming and going all week, opening small windows on which pros and co-anglers needed to capitalize. READ MORE »

Sharp Blasts 40 Pounds to Win on Rayburn

Sharp Blasts 40 Pounds to Win on Rayburn

Winning a tournament is always pretty cool, but winning the way Anthony Sharp did in the second Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event in the Cowboy Division presented by A.R.E. is next-level. Weighing 40 pounds, 6 ounces of Sam Rayburn bass, the Village Mills, Texas, angler beat second place by more than 21 pounds. For the win, which was his first with FLW, Sharp took home a total of $7,000.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the St. Johns

Top 10 Baits from the St. Johns

The St. Johns River was in a bit of a funk for the Toyota Series Southern Division opener. Instead of a full-on spawning slugfest, a couple cold fronts and quickly changing wind and water conditions kept fish moving in and out. The anglers chasing them had to stay on their toes. Plenty of pros did find quality fish, though, and they did so with a lot of familiar baits when it comes to late-winter fishing in Florida. Right now, it’s all about the black and blue plastics on the St. Johns. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Toledo Bend

Top 10 Patterns from Toledo Bend

The general consensus before the first Toyota Series Southwestern Division stop on Toledo Bend was that local knowledge could go a long way being the Sabine River impoundment was a little fickle. That was spot on. Aside from winner Cody Huff, the rest of the top 10 was an all-star cast of locals.   READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Toledo Bend

Top 10 Baits from Toledo Bend

Fishing offshore was the way to go for the majority of the top pros and because of that a Carolina rig, football jig and deep-diving crankbait were the main players for most of the field. Getting the win, Cody Huff relied on a jigging spoon and his graphs to hunt down suspended fish, proving that heavy metal never goes out of style for bass. READ MORE »

Wooten Wins Marshal Contest on Rayburn

Wooten Wins Marshal Contest on Rayburn

You’re never too old to try something new. Just ask Ron Wooten. Wooten, who’s 71 years old and retired from the offshore oil construction industry, heard about the FLW Marshal program from a couple friends who had previously marshaled FLW events. They recommended it, he took their advice, and now he has an extra $2,500 to show for it. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Even when the bite is tough, Sam Rayburn is a power-fishing lake through and through. Sure, a spinning rod showed up here and there throughout the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit opener, but it was Carolina rigs, lipless crankbaits and vibrating jigs that dominated in the hands of the top 10 pros. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Sam Rayburn

Top 10 Patterns from Sam Rayburn

Sam Rayburn is one of the best bass fishing lakes in the country, but it sure didn’t show its full potential during the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit season opener. Cold fronts, high winds, fluctuating water temps and transitioning fish had the fishing jumbled. The patterns the top 10 pros employed throughout the week followed suit. READ MORE »

2020 Lake Dardanelle Preview

2020 Lake Dardanelle Preview

Situated between the Ozark National Forest to the north and the Ouachita National Forest to the south, Lake Dardanelle in Northwest Arkansas is a roughly 34,000-acre impoundment on the Arkansas River that offers a multitude of unique and varied opportunities to catch quality bass. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Cumberland

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Cumberland

Smallmouths dominated at the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland. Oklahoma’s Andrew Upshaw led the way with brown bass caught on a jig and a Ned rig on bluff bank transitions in the reservoir’s lower end. Behind him, only a couple of pros hedged their bets on targeting largemouths. The rest fished for smallies and considered green bass to be bonus fish and spotted bass to be limit fillers on the tough days. READ MORE »

Lake Cumberland Top 10 Baits

Lake Cumberland Top 10 Baits

In classic Southern smallmouth fashion, crankbaits and jigs dominated the top 10 at Lake Cumberland during the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship. The only exceptions were a few finesse baits and the tackle used by two pros who targeted largemouths. Here’s what worked. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks

Top 10 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks

Considering this was the fourth year in a row Lake of the Ozarks had hosted a Costa FLW Series Central Division event in October, everyone pretty much knew what to expect. And then the weather happened. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake of the Ozarks

Top 10 Baits from Lake of the Ozarks

Fall in the Ozarks is prime time to throw a buzzbait. Sure enough, plenty of the top guys did just that during the Costa FLW Series Central Division finale presented by Evinrude on Lake of the Ozarks. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Curt Warren knew what he wanted to do, and it had nothing to do with weeding through a bunch of small fish up shallow. Rather, he focused his attention on deeper Grand Lake spots with chunk rock and brush and amassed a three-day total of 46 pounds, 7 ounces to win the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine. Here’s how the rest of the top 10 caught their fish and earned their checks on Grand. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

A cold front moving in at the start of Grand Lake’s fall transition put a damper on seeing a bunch of big weights during the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, but plenty of pros managed to find the right fish to make things exciting on the final day. READ MORE »

Meador Repeats Co-Angler Win on Grand

Meador Repeats Co-Angler Win on Grand

Defending his title as co-angler winner in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, was impressive enough, but the way Steven Meador did it was truly remarkable. After earning the 2018 win on Grand by 3 pounds, 6 ounces, the Bentonville, Ark., co-angler repeated the victory with a three-day total of 27-15 for a much slimmer winning margin this time around – just 10 ounces. READ MORE »

Warren Mounts Furious Comeback on Grand

Warren Mounts Furious Comeback on Grand

Curt Warren was a paragon of consistency over three days at Grand Lake, and the result was a victory in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine. Warren turned in limits of 14-5 on day one and 16-9 on day two, but it was his day-three limit of 15-9 that was the most impressive – no other pro even cracked the 13-pound mark battling the tough post-frontal conditions Grand had to offer on day three. READ MORE »