- Mike Suchan, Outdoors
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. Rain in the right spots could help one of Super Six take home the $250,00 first prize in the Bassmaster Legends on the Arkansas River.
Bassmaster.com asked local angler Matt Lea what to expect on the final day of the season's third and final major. Lea again noted the difficult conditions on the river, which said goodbye to Rick Clunn and Kevin VanDam.
"It looks like it was a tough day, just like we all expected," Lea said. "We got VanDam and Clunn going home. I really thought those two guys were a threat. Everything has to go your way, and like VanDam said, things didn't go his way today."
Instead, Shaw Grigsby was all smiles with his 11-05 stringer that leads local anglers Scott Rook with 7-14 and Kevin Short with 5-11.
"Grigsby, I think he figured out a topwater bite because those are good fish," said Lea, who caught several similar fish on topwater north of the 6-hole area Saturday. "It's just me saying this, but I see him throwing a topwater all day tomorrow. He might have done something else, but I doubt it."
"And Short did real well, but I still like Rook's chances. He can make that up. He didn't have a good day with 7 pounds. I was looking for him to get at least 10."
In the hole format, Lea said some timing and luck come into play. Scattered storms around Little Rock on Friday might have turned on fishing around discharge areas.
And isolated storms were popping on the radar Saturday night.
"When I did come in Saturday, I saw all the runoff from some pipes," Lea said. "They were gushing. Somebody might have caught some off of them. And Sunday, it could depend on if that pipe is in your hole or not."
The winner should come from the topwater bite, Lea said, adding that he still favors Rook and his knowledge of the Arkansas River.
"I definitely say it's going to be a topwater bite," he said. "I did see Rook flipping out one in a backwater, and that was his biggest fish, but those backwater areas are limited.
This is me saying this, 'If Rook catches 8-10 pounds tomorrow, it's over.'"
With one angler per hole Sunday, Lea believes it could help anglers not trip over one another, or be hampered by spectators.
"It's going to give them a little more freedom. Gerald Swindle will be able to settle down. He won't be with Scott, and they can fish a little more methodically, not look over and see what the other guy is fishing.
"Now the boat traffic is not going to be the same, so they're not going to be washing each other out. It could 20 minutes for that spot to settle down after 20 boats wash it out."
Bassmaster.com asked Matt Lea what to expect from the pros in the season's third and final major on his homewater.