UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Clear Lake

Top 5 Patterns from Dardanelle Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Dardanelle Day 1
Wesley Anderson

Despite a cold, biting wind and muddy conditions, the top five anglers logged excellent weights in the first round of the Costa FLW Series Central Division opener presented by T-H Marine at Lake Dardanelle.

Quincy Houchin fell just 4 ounces shy of 20 pounds, an outstanding weight anytime on Lake Dardanelle, and took the early lead. He did it flipping jigs in a sheltered mid-river area that he says he had to himself. Houchin had to depart from his signature run-and-gun style and fish slowly and methodically. With clearing, warmer weather, he expects to pick up the pace Friday, and he says he's confident he can make the top 10.

Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done on day one.

 

Brandon Lee

2. Brandon Lee – Ratcliff, Ark. – 19-9

After spending the day catching a succession of bass in the 2-pound range, Brandon Lee found a sweet spot late in the day that produced three big fish that put him within a short cast of the lead. The trio included one that weighed 5-14.

“Later in the day, big females started moving up, and I caught those three kind of in sequence, and then I had to come in,” Lee says.

Muddy water from heavy rains this week slowed the bite down considerably, Lee says, and he had to slow down, as well. He made long, repetitive casts to small areas, but the bites were very subtle.

Fishing close to the weigh-in site was an asset, Lee says, because it maximized his fishing time.

“The guys that are making long runs are losing an hour, an hour and a half of fishing time,” Lee says. “We're gaining that fishing down here.”

 

Michael Stetich

3. Michael Stetich – Ankeny, Iowa – 19-6

With a keen eye on the current and water level, Michael Stetich of Ankeny, Iowa, adjusted his approach throughout the day to catch 10 keepers, including a 6-8 kicker that is the biggest bass from the pro side so far.

“I did everything from reaction to finesse fishing,” Stetich says.

Current was the key. Stetich says the Corps of Engineers started pulling water at about 11 a.m., and he had to ratchet up the intensity as fish got more aggressive. Aggression is relative, though, because Stetich says strikes were definitely a lot more violent in practice.

“On this body of water you've got to pay attention to what the water flow is doing,” Stetich says. “When they turned on the water, fish started doing different things, and I had to adjust to it.”

Stetich says he threw everything from multiple reaction baits to pitching and flipping type baits.

 

Troy Roder

4. Troy Roder – Brookeland, Texas – 18-14

Although he caught only five keepers Thursday, Troy Roder caught the right ones with moving baits and long casts.

He says he went about 30 minutes upriver, which was a brutal ride into the teeth of big waves driven by a 10- to 15-mph west wind. His spot was sheltered from the wind, and Roder says that was important.

Roder is not worried about the durability of his pattern. He says he just needs to continue catching big fish.

 

Wesley Anderson

5. Wesley Anderson – Moscow, Tenn. – 18-8

This young Tennessean exudes quiet confidence, and it's justified. He fished in an area of heavy traffic Thursday and caught fish consistently where others faltered. He pitched and flipped bankside cover near the Lake Dardanelle State Park, including stickups and grass.

The action picked up late in the day, but Anderson decided to let it rest.

“The fish I caught later weren't helping me, so with the caliber fish I had, I just needed to leave them alone,” Anderson says.

Even though many others are fishing the same cover, Anderson says he's keying on subtleties that allow him to fish it more effectively.

“I'm doing something a lot of people are not doing, and I recognize that,” Anderson says. “I'm keyed on what they're really on. I watched people, and I'd go right behind them. I caught a 4-pounder right behind a guy, and he never knew it.”

The weather is supposed to turn clear and cold, but get warmer through the day Friday. Anderson says he's prepared for that, as well.

“Last night I had two different things I wanted to do today,” Anderson says. “The conditions were right for what I did today. It's supposed to be sunny the rest of the week. I'll go to my other game plan because it'll be set up right for that.

“As it gets sunny, it's only going to help me. I think the fish are pulling in to me, and I'm going to keep it rolling.”

Tags: lake-dardanelle  flw-series  top-5-patterns  marshall-ford  headline-story  2017-03-30-lake-dardanelle 

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