UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Clear Lake

Several Patterns in Play at Ouachita BFL

Several Patterns in Play at Ouachita BFL

FLW has a long history of hosting multiple-day summertime tournaments on Lake Ouachita, where pros have to grind it out for three days in what are usually tough conditions. On June 27, when the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Arkie Division takes to Ouachita, the Natural State’s best bass anglers will need to game plan a little differently. With only one day to fish and a three-bass limit, they’ll have to swing for the fences with big-bass patterns to have a shot at winning.

 

Tournament Details

Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Arkie Division

Lake Ouachita

Mount Ida, Ark.

June 27, 2020

 

How the fishery sets up

Ouachita is a great playing field for bass tournaments because its 40,000 acres of water sprawl out into endless coves and creeks, plus there’s a variety of cover and structure to fish.

Traditional summertime targets such as deep points, humps and channel edges will hold fish. It’s a renowned schooling bass lake, where big bass roam open waters and are catchable by anyone with enough patience to wait out their “jumps.” There are also various types of emergent bank grasses and submergent offshore grasses that hold plenty of bass.

Ouachita is also one of the best bluegill lakes in the region, according to Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro Evan Barnes, who lives in nearby Hot Springs. In the summertime, Ouachita’s bass are always eating bluegills, and some of the biggest largemouths in the system can be caught right on the bank despite rising water temperatures in the shallows.

 

What to expect

Barnes recently competed in a couple club-level events on Ouachita. From what he’s seen, the fishing has been pretty typical for early summer, except that the water is just a little higher. As a result, there’s a scattering of brush still in the water, and some nice-looking bank grass.

The offshore grass, which is a major factor in summer tournaments, is in OK shape.

“It’s actually fairly decent,” Barnes says. “Just about every main-lake hump has got some type of 6- to 7-foot-tall grass on it. It’s not the best grass we’ve seen for sure, but it’s looking pretty good.”

Recently, the bite has been strong for numbers of fish, but the kickers have been challenging to find. Barnes says recent tournaments have been won with around 15 pounds for five bass. With a three-fish limit at the Phoenix Bass Fishing League event, it’ll take a bag of 3- and 4-pounders at minimum to have a shot at winning.

 

Nick LeBrun

Baits and techniques

Summertime tournaments are often dominated by one technique. This event will be different.

“I think there’s probably going to be about three different deals going on,” says Barnes. “You’ll have some guys that are going to catch schooling fish in the morning. They’re going to catch them on a wake bait or a single swimbait; typical schooling-fish stuff on main-lake points.

“Then you’re still going to have those fish that are targeting bluegills. They’ll mostly be around bank grass and shallow pockets on the main lake, and they can be caught with buzzbaits and frogs. With a three-fish limit, that’s going to be the deal by far because you only have to catch three good ones instead of five. You don’t have to worry about anything but swinging [for the fences]. You could see some pretty impressive three-fish stringers for Ouachita in the summer.

“The last thing is offshore grass. Guys are gonna throw a big worm for the most part, and maybe mix in flipping jigs. You can get bit on solid chunks, 2 1/2- to 3-pounders, and occasionally big ones on those humps. You can throw in brush piles, too.”

Tags: curtis-niedermier  pre-tournament  2020-06-27-ouachita 

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