BASS Returns to Lake Dardanelle with Second Stop on 2009 Bassmaster Elite Series Trail
Category: press release
Mar 18th, 2009 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Mar 18th, 2009 at 12:00 AM
The 2009 Bassmaster Elite Series brings BASS back to an old friend in Arkansas’ Lake Dardanelle for the March 26-29 Diamond Drive out of Russellville. The last BASS tournament held there was a 2007 Bassmaster Major won by Boyd Duckett of Demopolis, Ala., not long after his 2007 Bassmaster Classic victory. Duckett’s four-day total weight for the event was 55 pounds, 9 ounces.
Fishing fans can catch all of the on-the-water action from the Diamond Drive on The Bassmasters, which airs Saturday, April 4, at 9 a.m. ET on ESPN2. The daily weigh-ins for this and all other regular-season Elite events and two postseason events will be live on ESPN360.com, ESPN’s broadband sports network, while a wealth of unique content will also be available at Bassmaster.com.
The Diamond Drive includes a top prize of $100,000 and awards valuable points in the 2009 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year title race. Fans are encouraged to attend daily launches (7:15 a.m. CT) and weigh-ins (4 p.m.) Thursday through Sunday at Lake Dardanelle State Park, 100 State Park Drive, Russellville. Before Day Three competition Saturday, the field will be cut to the top 50 anglers. Only the top 12 will go on to compete in Sunday’s final day.
Part of the Arkansas River Valley, the 34,300-acre Lake Dardanelle has been host to five BASS events. Duckett’s August 2007 victory came together on the final day of competition, after he struggled to find the bite in deeper water on Day Three. He switched to a heavy jig – a 1 ½-ounce Tru Tungsten flipped to shallow grass mats. He also used a 3/16-ounce Tru Tungsten jig with a 7-inch, electric blue Berkley Power Worm.
Two years later, second-year Elite Series pro Clark Reehm of Russellville, Ark., says anglers should expect an entirely different fishery.
“Most of the grass is dead, it hasn’t grown yet,” Reehm said. “And the water temp is 52 to 54 degrees. There are very few limits being weighed in at local tournaments.”
He added that the pros who have been to Dardanelle in the past might rely on 40 to 50 fish caught a day, but the bounty won’t be that plentiful in the Diamond Drive.
“Granted this is the Elites, but if the fish aren’t there, they aren’t there. Even the short fish – usually you catch 20-50 short fish, and it doesn’t seem like people are catching even that many.”
Reehm, who has five top-10 finishes in BASS competition, anticipates a lot of action on Spinnerbaits or jigs, noting that the trick will be to get keepers to bite. He predicts an overall weight of 70-75 pounds to win the tournament.
“About 17-18 pounds a day,” he said. “A lot of guys will come in without limits. Usually this time of year there are about 90 limits, but this time there might be 40-50 limits, just judging from local tournaments that have happened lately.”
Reehm said that, given the time of the year, most of the pros will be shallow and the lake will fish small.
“It’s a river system, so the fish are shallow anyway, except in the summer,” he said. “There might be a river bite, but for the most part guys will be in backwater bays. It’s probably going to be won on water that’s real difficult to get into.”
Reehm lives about six minutes from the boat ramp at Dardanelle, though he said he has no local advantage on the lake. In fact, he predicted that Kevin Short and Billy McCaghren, two Elite pros from Mayflower who have fished Dardanelle all their lives, will be the ones to beat in the Diamond Drive.
Sunday’s activities include the live taping of Hooked Up, hosted by ESPN Outdoors personalities Mark Zona and Tommy Sanders. The show, which will air live at 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN360.com, will preview Sunday’s final weigh-in.
Other activities Saturday and Sunday at the Diamond Drive, including Dog Training & Retriever Demonstrations Brought to You by SportDog, will begin at 1 p.m. CT at Lake Dardanelle State Park. Fans are invited to join the “Ask the Experts” session with the Elite pros during Bassmaster University, set for Saturday, March 28, at 3 p.m. CT.
All events at the Diamond Drive are free and open to the public.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit Bassmaster.com. Visit ESPNMediaZone.com for ESPN’s latest releases, schedules and other news, plus photos, video, audio clips and more.
Local sponsors of the Diamond Drive is the Sate of Arkansas and Russellville A&P Commission.
Sponsors of the Bassmaster Elite Series: Toyota Trucks, Berkley, BOOYAH Baits, Evan Williams Bourbon, Mercury, OPTIMA Batteries, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Marine; Bass Pro Shops, Costa Del Mar, Ramada, SpongeTech and Triton Boats.
For more than 40 years, BASS has served as the authority on bass fishing. With its considerable multi-media platforms and expansive tournament trail, BASS is guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry-leading publications Bassmaster Magazine, BASS Times and Fishing Tackle Retailer and comprehensive Web properties in ESPN360.com, ESPN’s sports broadband network, Bassmaster.com, BASSInsider.com and ESPNOutdoors.com, the organization is committed to delivering content true to the lifestyle. Additionally, television programming on ESPN2 continues to provide relevant content – from tips and techniques to in-depth tournament coverage – to passionate audiences.
The organization oversees the prestigious Bassmaster tournament trail, which includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bassmaster Opens, Women’s Bassmaster Tour and the Bassmaster Classic, the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing. Through its grassroots network, the BASS Federation Nation, BASS sanctions more than 20,000 events annually.
BASS also offers an array of services to its more than 500,000 members while spearheading progressive, positive change on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.