Lake Dardanelle hosted two major national fishing events the past two weeks, giving the lake a chance to show off its population of black bass. The fishing was often hard, as early September can be as the weather is changing and bass are transitioning to fall patterns. Still, some major bass were pulled in (and released, too, so they are still out there). From the Hobie Kayak Bass Open Series on Sept. 12-13, 112 anglers caught 693 largemouth and Kentucky bass over the two days (1,111 pounds total). Drew Gregory (top left) edged Eric Siddiqi (top right) in a tie-breaker to claim the championship. The tournament was scored by inches of bass caught, rather than pounds, and both anglers caught 171 inches of fish. But Gregory had the one fish he had caught on Saturday that was 21 inches and proved to be the tie-breaker. Those shown in the photo are a couple of the nice ones reeled in by the top two anglers, both from Ohio. The top weighing fish in the event was 5.51 pounds.
Jason Baumgartner, our reporter from Lake Dardanelle and the park aquarist at the state park, said that the FLW Toyota Series, which was held there last week, Sept. 17-19, featured 121 boats and 242 anglers who caught 1,004 fish weighing 2,054 pounds over the three days. The Big Bass weighed 5.44 pounds. Conway’s Jason Lieblong, who won the event here in 2015, outlasted the rest of the field last weekend, pulling in more than 15 pounds of fish on the last day to win the event with 40 pounds, 9 ounces.
Baumgartner said the FLW anglers reported the bite was tough, which is typical for the fall transition. They used a wide range of lures, including plastics, spinners and Rat-L-Traps. Many anglers fished shallow and on hydrilla or water willow. The FLW website reported that shallow power-fishing techniques prevailed, and if you are interested in more fishing information from the pros, such as how to fish Lake Dardanelle and how Lieblong approaches it, you can find it here.
Check out Baumgartner’s report this week from Dardanelle, and many other reports if you’re looking for that big bass or some other species around the state. There’s a big fish waiting.