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On the water blog from Lake Dardanelle

8/26/2007

Sunday

Entry Five – 3:50 p.m. CT

It seems that Kevin VanDam has culled again and is somewhere in the range of 14 and 15 pounds, while Jason Quinn also has a limit that weighs somewhere near 12 pounds. It may be much closer than that appears.

Every observer sees and estimates the fish a little different, and it could still certainly go either way.

Just in from Hole 4, Boyd Duckett has added a couple more nice fish and has a limit that should equal or perhaps surpass VanDam's weight. He reportedly has five that weigh about 14 or 15 pounds.

Ish Monroe added a second fish in Hole 6, but has a long way to go to catch the leaders. His second fish was a very small spotted bass, which won't help at all.

At last word, Tim Horton still has not caught a keeper, and Dean Rojas still has three small keepers. The temperature is 98 degrees according to the local radio station, and many of the spectator boats have called it quits, although there appears to be a rapidly growing crowd at the weigh-in site.

It looks like its shaping up to be a three-man race between VanDam, Quinn, and Duckett, but with Happy Hour coming up next, you can never tell what will happen.

Remember, ESPNOutdoors.com will have the weigh-in live as well as the real-time leaderboard. Keep checking back on ESPNOutdoors.com for updates and final standings.

Entry Four – 2:30 p.m. CT

It's now 12:40 p.m., and the six finalists in the Bassmasters Legends Tournament are changing to their fourth hole of the day. There have been a few movements in the leaderboard in the past few minutes.

We understand that both of our leaders have culled a fish and there is a very tight race for the lead between Kevin VanDam and Jason Quinn. Both have a limit weighing in the neighborhood of 12 pounds.

Boyd Duckett would appear to be in third place as of now with three keepers that should weigh about 7 pounds. Ish Monroe still had two keepers at last report, while Tim Horton and Saturday's leader Dean Rojas are still without any keepers going into the fourth period.

The weather Sunday is vastly different than Saturday's cloudy skies and light showers. It is very hot, with temperatures expected to reach into the high 90s.

A warm breeze is blowing from the south, but it is doing little to cool off the fishermen and spectators. The anglers have three more periods in the six-hole course, and then the final Happy Hour period in which they can fish any hole in the course that they choose.

Quite a few nice fish were caught during the Happy Hour period Saturday, and it may well affect the course of the weigh-in again Sunday.

Horton is working a chartreuse and blue back, deep-diving crankbait around the railroad bridge and associated riprap. He's moved twice in the first 15 minutes of this period, and he's pulling up his trolling motor to move once again.

It's apparent that he has no real game plan or favorite spots in pool three. He seems to be moving rapidly and hitting some of the more obvious fishing spots in Hole 3.

We're working our way over to hole one where Dean Rojas has apparently abandoned the frog and appears to be flipping the grass with a tube or some other plastic bait.

His armada of spectator boats, which had approached 20 in number earlier in the morning, is now down to about six boats.

The heat is taking its toll on the spectators, but apparently not Rojas, as we learn that he has put three keepers into the boat. One came on a frog and the other two came while flopping grass. We don't know how large his keepers are, but that should put him back in contention in this tight race.

As we race across the lake to check on Ish Monroe, the day is just about halfway over, with three and a half periods complete. It seems that flipping the grass with a jig of soft plastic creature bait is the predominant working pattern.

The standings look like this:

Kevin VanDam and Jason Quinn are in a tight race for the lead, each having a limit in the 12-pound range, and each having culled at least once.

Third-day leader Dean Rojas and Boyd Duckett are running a close battle for third and fourth, each with three keeper largemouths in the boat. Ish Monroe is looking for his second keeper, while Tim Horton has yet to post a score.

Ish is flipping grass and scattered boat docks in hole five as we approach him halfway through period four. He is still throwing the green pumpkin/red flake Sweet Beaver plastic bait that he had on earlier in the day.

The heat has also diminished the number of his spectator boats significantly, as there are now only three die-hard fans fighting the heat to watch their favorite pro.

We'll be back near the beginning of the fifth period to check back on leaders Van Dam and Quinn.

Entry Three – 12:10 p.m. CT

It's now 11:30 am, and period 3 has just begun. We're sitting in Hole 2 and Boyd Duckett has just arrived. We're told that he caught one keeper in Hole 6 to begin the day, and one more small keeper fish from Hole 1.

Kevin VanDam has just left this hole and reportedly has already boated a limit weighing about 11 pounds.

Jason Quinn has a similar-sized limit and Ish Monroe has one keeper on board. Tim Horton and Dean Rojas have still yet to score a keeper fish at the beginning of the third period.

Duckett is flipping Lake Dardanelle's famed grass beds in Hole 2. It looks like he's punching the holes in the grass with a heavy black and blue jig. He'll only let the jig settle to the bottom, give it a quick pump or two, and move on to the next hole. The whole process takes about five seconds per cast. He can really cover some water this way. He appears to be targeting the thickest cover available.

Duckett's armada of spectator boats is not quite as large as the ones following VanDam, Rojas, or Quinn, but there are seven boats that are tagging along, hoping to learn some valuable lessons.

They are keeping a respectful distance, with motors and electronics turned off. I must hand it to these Arkansas bass fishing fans. They are as well-behaved and as knowledgeable as any in the country.

Nobody has been seen fishing ahead of or behind any of the pros, nor causing unnecessary wakes. They are very appreciative of the opportunity. Boyd just set the hook at 11:47 and missed a fish with his jig.

It's just two minutes later, 11:49, 19 minutes into period three, and Duckett has just landed a 3-pound fish, his best of the day thus far.

It appear that it will be a tight battle at the weigh-in stage this evening. The fish came on the blue and black jig, but from cover that seems just a little more sparse than what he's been flipping.

He's using a very interesting tactic. He's pitching the jig high into the air, sometimes 10 or 12 feet high, and letting the jig penetrate the heaviest cover. We cannot tell how heavy a jig he's throwing, but it is obviously a rather heavy jig to penetrate the thick grass.

We will try to get reports on the other anglers before this period ends. Thanks for reading our live, on the water blogs on ESPNOutdoors.com.

Entry Two – 11:45 p.m.

The second hour just began, and Jason Quinn motored into hole four and dropped his trolling motor on a steep bank right next to Interstate 40.

His ESPN cameraman tells us that he already had four fish in the livewell, two pretty nice ones and two just barely keepers.

Ten minutes into the second period, Jason has just set the hook on a 3-pound largemouth and swings it into the boat. The fish bit a black/blue creature bait, flipped into the vegetation growing along the steep bluff bank.

That fish fills out the limit for Quinn, and his video cameraman estimates that his limit will weigh 10-11 pounds. Quinn is fishing a steeper bank than Rojas was working in this hole, and his deeper tactics seem to be the key on this cloudless, hot morning.

We have just left Quinn in Hole 4 to check on Ish Monroe in Hole 3.

Ish tells us that he has one keeper in the boat thus far, about 25 minutes into the second period. He appears to be flipping a pumpkinseed/red flake Sweet Beaver creature bait on his long flipping stick, and like Quinn, he is concentrating on some of the steeper banks in hole 3.

Holes 1, 3 and 4 have some very similar habitat of this type that Quinn and Monroe are fishing.

We understand that Boyd Duckett, who was in second place after day three, has caught a keeper fish from Hole 6 on our live feed video. He has moved to Hole 1 where he is catching a lot of short fish, but no more keepers.

Check out that live video feed from hole six at ESPNOutdoors.com.Tim Horton should be in that hole right now.

Duckett has moved to Hole 1. VanDam is in Hole 2 with four fish already, and Rojas moved to Hole 5 after going fishless in four. More updates are on the way, as they become available.

Thanks for following our live from the water blogs on ESPNOutdoors.com.

Entry One – 10:15 a.m.

Good morning and welcome to the fourth and final day of the Bassmasters Legends tournament from Lake Dardanelle, near Russellville, Ark.

This is Jeryl Jones for James Overstreet and the rest of the ESPNOutdoors.com crew. It's a beautiful sunny morning here on Lake Dardanelle, but it's not the kind of weather that tournament leader Dean Rojas would like to see.

He caught the majority of his big stringer Saturday morning under cloudy, rainy, perfect topwater conditions. His trademark Spro Bronze-eye Frog might not be quite so effective under these bright sunny skies, especially with the late take-off time of 9 a.m.

We are reporting live from the water this morning, in Hole 4 of the six-hole course, where Rojas has just pulled under the Interstate 40 bridge and started fishing the area locally known as the strip pits. He is throwing his Spro Frog into the rather thick weedbeds that line the edges of the now-inundated mine pits.

He has a flotilla of spectator boats, and one helicopter following him this morning, as he tries to hold on to his lead and win the $250,000 first prize. The spectators are keeping at a respectful distance, and not a single one of them is casting a bait. They know what is on the line for Rojas here.

So far, Rojas has been throwing his topwater frog for about the first 20 minutes with no sign of success. It will be quite interesting to see just how long he will stick with his trademark tactic this morning.

The final six competitors chose their starting holes based on Angler of the Year points, and Rojas had the last pick. Somehow, he ended up getting first shot at the hole where he caught most of his big stringer from Saturday.

This area is farther from the main channel of the Arkansas river than any of the other holes, and thus is a bit clearer, and characterized by the deeper strip pits, stumps and brush-piles that line the bayou channel, and other deep water structure.

Most of the anglers in this hole will be looking for that deeper structure bite, but Rojas is sticking with what got him to the dance.

By virtue of sitting in second place in the Angler of the Year race, Kevin VanDam got to pick his starting hole first in the six-hole course. He chose to begin the day in the first hole. Ish Monroe is in the second hole, while Jason Quinn is in the third.

Alabama's duo of Tim Horton and second-place Boyd Duckett are in Holes 5 and 6, respectively.

The anglers will fish for an hour and 10 minutes in each hole and then rotate in chronological order to the next hole.

After the first six session, there is a final "Happy Hour" period in which the fishermen can go anywhere on the six-hole course and fish the final hour.

Forty minutes into the hour, Rojas has yet to boat his first fish, and we have no reports from any of the other fishermen.

Stayed tuned to ESPNOutdoors.com, and we'll be back shortly with more reports.

Saturday

Entry Four – 3:30 p.m.

Jared Lintner just pulled up to the fishing pier near the weigh-in site of the Bassmasters Legends Tournament on Lake Dardanelle in west-central Arkansas.

If you are watching the live video coverage from the six-hole course, you can watch him live here on ESPNOutdoors as he fishes hole six in his Tackle Warehouse-wrapped Skeeter.

You can see the baits he's using, watch his tactics, and hopefully see him catch fish on this popular spot in Hole 6. At last report, he still had no fish at 11:30, but that was two holes ago. We'll try to get an update on his progress.

Late word from Hole 1 is that Dean Rojas has boated a limit weighing about 15 pounds, putting him atop the leaderboard from what we know so far. We can't report today which baits the pros are using, but Rojas is famous for catching big bass on his beloved Spro frog, and Lake Dardanelle has a ton of cover conducive to a frog-type bait.

Photographer James Overstreet also reports first day leader Fred Roumbanis, sharing holes with Rojas during today's competition, has not landed a keeper as of yet.

We're finally reporting from the water this afternoon, where we've watched Dean Rojas fish for a fruitless thirty minutes. We understand that Tim Horton has a limit, but no word on size of his fish.

There are two more periods left in Saturday's competition, and we have a few more updates: Jared Lintner has only one fish to show for the first five periods, while Ish Monroe is only slightly better off with two keepers.

The anglers are now in their sixth hole, with Happy Hour coming up next, where they may fish anywhere in the six-hole course for an hour and 10 minutes.

Aaron Martens has a small limit which includes three Kentucky spotted bass and two small largemouth, which he thinks will total about seven pounds.

Scott Rook has three keepers in the boat, but is not sure one will measure the required 15 inches. He noted his hole-sharing partner for the day, Kevin VanDam, had three keepers about an hour ago.

It appears limits are going to be hard to come by today, unless the bite really turns around in the final two periods. More updates will be coming soon.

Entry Three – 1:56 p.m.

Word from Lake Dardanelle is that Bassmasters Classic Champion Boyd Duckett has a nice limit that weighs about 12 pounds, and has already culled a fish or two.

The 12 remaining pros should be fishing their third of the six holes right now, and at the end of the six-hole course comes "Happy Hour", when they can fish the final hour and 10 minute period in any hole on the course they wish.

Here's a quick update of what we know: besides Duckett's limit, Aaron Martens has four fish in the livewell, reportedly mostly small keepers; Jason Quinn has about nine pounds, and is fishing Hole 4; Mark Tyler has at least two keepers on board; Jared Lintner had no fish as of 11:30 a.m., and Scott Rook had one small keeper after the first hole; Kevin VanDam had no keepers during the first period, but no reports since.

The "Hack Attack", former Arkie Greg Hackney, has three fish weighing about six pounds, and is currently fishing Hole 5. Californian Ish Monroe is fishing in hole three, and has one keeper to his credit. The anglers should be moving to their fourth hole in about five minutes, and we should have additional updates coming in as soon as they shift holes.

Entry Two – 12:16 p.m.

Light showers continue to fall at 11 a.m. on Lake Dardanelle. James Overstreet is braving the rain to check on some of our anglers.

He just reported that Jason Quinn has boated two keepers for an approximate four-pound total. He has one nice largemouth and a 12-inch Kentucky spotted bass. He'll probably need to cull that spotted bass if he wants to make the final six and fish tomorrow for a quarter of a million dollars.

Our live video coverage right now is showing Aaron Martens, the tournament leader fishing on the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission fishing pier, right under the very spot where our live coverage camera is set up.

You can watch as your favorite pros fish the sixth hole, which is near the take-off and weigh-in site.

Martens is reported to be the early leader, with three nice keepers from hole five, caught during the first hour and 10-minute segment. Several eager fans are observing from under the shelter of the gazebo as light showers continue to fall.

If you are viewing the live coverage as I am, you've seen Martens run back to the console to look at his dash several times in a short period, and you might surmise he's having trouble with his bow electronics, or perhaps checking on his livewell gauges. We'll try to find out more as soon as possible.

At 11:30 CDT, ESPNOutdoors photographer James Overstreet reports from the water that Jared Lintner has no fish as of yet, and Mark Tyler has two small keepers.

Aaron Martens just added a small keeper, live on video, from under the fishing pier in hole six. Isn't it unbelievable to be watching professional bass fishing live on the Internet?

At 11:37, James Overstreet reports Boyd Duckett, now in hole three, caught a nice limit, and just culled a keeper!

Hole three is the Ouita area of Lake Dardanelle, up Illinois Bayou a bit from our live video coverage of hole six, and farther from the current. The water is much clearer in holes three and four than the rest of the course, and these areas should be characterized by a deeper brush-pile bite and offshore structure fishing.

Once again, we won't get too specific today (to protect the integrity of the tournament), but tune in tomorrow, and we'll be able to expound a little more about baits, tactics, and specific areas the pros are fishing. Back in just a bit with more news.

Entry One – 11:12 a.m.

Welcome to live coverage of the Bassmasters Legends Tournament from Lake Dardanelle near Russellville, Arkansas. This is Jeryl Jones and James Overstreet. We're going to bring live reports from the water into your living room via the Internet on ESPNOutdoors.com.

Twelve anglers took off from Dardanelle State Park at 9 a.m. CT this morning, bound for a six-hole course on the Illinois Bayou arm of Lake Dardanelle where they will fish for an hour and ten minutes before rotating areas.

There are two anglers in each of the six holes Saturday, and the field will be pared down to six on Sunday. To preserve the integrity of the tournament, we'll not go into detail about fishing areas, baits used or other information which may affect the outcome, but we can be a bit more specific tomorrow.

Scattered thunderstorms greeted the fishermen this morning before the take-off and are still threatening in the area, but only light showers have fallen since the fishermen left the ramp.

Those showers have kept our coverage to hole six, which includes the take-off and weigh-in areas, but there has been no lack of action for spectators right here near the take-off.

Kevin VanDam and local favorite Scott Rook began the day sharing hole six, and both simply dropped their trolling motors at the take-off to begin fishing a long rock jetty extending from the ramp. They passed each other numerous times, both traveling in opposite and the same directions, and casually visited as they worked the same area for almost the entire period.

A small flotilla of spectator boats respectfully kept their distance, while as many as 50 more spectators viewed from the jetty. It is a great place for a rare chance to follow the action.

Kevin VanDam struck first, but the fish was not a keeper. Largemouth must be 15 inches on the Arkansas River system, while you can keep spotted bass over 12 inches.

VanDam caught another short largemouth and then lost one more before Rook finally set the hook on a nice fish about 9:34. It appeared to be barely long enough, and he threw it into the livewell, hoping to cull it later. Both anglers left the ramp area and stopped to fish the entrance to the Russellville Marina for the last 15 minutes of the period.

At 10:20, both fishermen left for hole one, followed by 10 or so spectator boats. Next to come into hole six were tournament leader Aaron Martens and Alabama's Tim Horton. Word from our observers is Martens put three keepers into the boat from hole five during the first period, and probably had eight to nine pounds already.

We'll have more information as it becomes available from the Bassmasters Legends tournament on Arkansas' Lake Dardanelle, and will be back with soon with second-hour coverage.

Editor's note: Check in Saturday for live video of the weigh-ins and a real-time leaderboard at 7 p.m. ET. ESPNOutdoors.com will air Hooked Up, the live Internet show, on Sunday at 9 a.m., 9:40 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. ET. The full Hooked Up show begins at 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, leading into the final live weigh-in and real-time leaderboard at 7 p.m. ET.

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