DRAGONFLY - RAYMARINE

HACKNEY KEEPS THE LEAD ON DARDANELLE

Posted by Z3 MEDIA STAFF on 05/17/2014

Story by Matt Pangrac - Photos by Dave Rush

Russellville, AR – After many of the 107 anglers struggled to get quality bites on Friday at the fifth Elite Series tournament of the 2014 season on Arkansas’ Lake Dardanelle, the quality returned on Saturday for the majority of the 50 remaining competitors.   

14 of the 50 pros toted limits surpassing the 17-pound mark to the scales on Saturday, and three anglers broke the 20-pound mark, led by Takahiro Omori and Paul Elias who each vaulted into the Top 12 with limits weighing 20-7.   

Despite bringing in his lightest limit of the week weighing 16-10, Greg Hackney maintained his perch atop the leader board with a total weight of 56-8.  If the Louisiana pro is able to hold onto the lead for one more day, he will earn his first Elite Series victory since winning on Sam Rayburn in the Elite Series’ inaugural season of 2006.   

Stalking Hackney in 2nd place is Rick Clunn, who weighed-in 19-8 on Saturday to boost his total weight to 55-11 and pull within 13-ounces of the tournament lead.  Fishing in his 401st tournament with B.A.S.S. this week, Clunn is seeking his first Elite Series victory and first victory with B.A.S.S. since 2002.  

Keith Combs remained consistent on Saturday, settling in 3rd place with 17-11 and a total weight of 54-3, and Jason Christie jumped to 4th after an even 20-pound effort boosted his total weight to 53-1.  

Rounding out the Top 5 was Cliff Crochet with a combined weight of 52-5. After a pedestrian start to the season, Crochet is back on track having made two consecutive Top 12 cuts in Elite Series competition.  

Paul Elias snuck inside the cut to finish in 12th and fish on Sunday with a total weight of 48-9.   

Tournament: Bassmaster Elite Series (Stop #4)
Location: Lake Dardanelle – Russellville, Arkansas  
Day Three Leader: Greg Hackney (21-13, 18-1, 16-10: 56-8)
2nd Place: Rick Clunn (18-5, 17-14, 19-8: 55-11)
Total weight separating 1st from 12th Place: 7-15

1st Place: Greg Hackney (21-13, 18-1, 16-10: 56-8)
Hackney on decision making this week on Dardanelle:
“The lake is full of fish, and one of my problems is that I probably know too many places.  I’m like, ‘Should I go here, or should I go there?’ You’re just liable to pull up and catch them anywhere with (the lake) like it is right now if you’re doing the right thing.”   

Hackney on what has surprised him the most so far this week:
“I’m really surprised that the bridge deal has been such a big deal, and it seems like a lot of the guys catching them are doing that. I kind of thought that with so many guys doing it, the fish would run out but it seems like there’s an endless supply.  

“I’m going under a lot of bridges and I’ve just watched the guys lined up throwing at each other.  I would be doing that if nobody else was doing it, but I’m not going to get in that mess.  I’m going under just about every bridge here, and there are two or three guys on each of them so I know that’s how they must be catching them.”  

Hackney on how much water he covered on Saturday:
“Yesterday I probably burned 4 (gallons) of gas and today I probably burned about 12 gallons.  Today, I made a pretty long run where I caught them the first day.  I caught a nice bag of fish out of there but I didn’t catch any big ones.  I think that I culled twice.  All my fish today were like littermates – I just couldn’t tell them apart. I probably had 20 keepers today.”  

Hackney on how his prior experience on Dardanelle is helping him:
“I had a good practice and that’s really the only advantage that I have.  I’m just running my practice basically.  By being here before, it is easy for me to get around and once I got bit one place, I kind of knew what to look for.”

Hackney on the fluctuation water temperatures:
“The fish are still biting, but you could fish a lot faster and catch the same fish (earlier in the week).  Now, you have to be a lot more deliberate and the fish are a lot closer together and the strike zone is a lot smaller.  You have to hit them on the head to get them to bite.  This morning, the water was 14 degrees cooler than it was on the second day of practice.”

Hackney on what it would mean to win an Elite Series tournament for the first time since 2006:
“It would mean $100,000. It’s all good, but the trophy would just be icing on the cake. It’s funny how you look at things differently as you mature.  It would mean a lot if I could win.”

Hackney on how much weight he needs on Sunday before entertaining thoughts of winning the tournament:
“20-pounds.  Zell showed yesterday that you can catch 25-pounds out here, and I knew that (was possible).  If you pull up on the right deal and they’re there together, you can get well really quickly.  That’s kind of how it is right now – when they go to biting, if you’re on the right deal you catch them really fast.”

2nd Place: Rick Clunn (18-5, 17-14, 19-8: 55-11)
Clunn on his consistency through the first three days of competition:
“The fish haven’t changed on me, so I’m just staying with what has been working everyday and so far it’s working.  I’m averaging seven to 10 bites a day, but as you can see, most of them are good ones.

“All of my fish have come from where I thought they would be.  You have to fish a lot before you get that bite, but these fish are doing a certain thing and they’re pretty consistent about it.  Fortunately we had all that bad weather last night and it discouraged a bunch of local boats.  If I make one of these cuts, “I always pray for bad weather because it gets all that traffic off the water. If you don’t avoid (your best) areas, you end up showing them what to do.  You can’t go there and fish by them because then you show them what to do and you have someone else doing the same thing.   

“I hate fishing this way, but it’s kind of like football when you see a team go into a prevent defense.  You have to play a lot of defense out there nowadays, because the media puts so many pictures on the deal, you put a video on there, and you do interviews like this.  All those guys are putting that puzzle together, so you have to be very defensive and protect those fish as long as you can.”   

Clunn on what it will take to win on Sunday:
“It’ll be more wide open tomorrow, because I’ll probably have to bust 22- to 23-pounds.  These guys aren’t going to fall off.  Especially tomorrow, the guys who had boats all over them won’t have boats all over them.  Our guys have been competing against each other really hard back in the Illinois.  I was going to start (the tournament) there, but I was the 103rd boat out, so I just wrote that off.  I’m glad that I did, because I can’t stand fishing that way when you’re knocking heads with everybody.”

Clunn on adjusting his thinking and tournament strategy over the years:
“I was talking yesterday, you know, my age has gone by.  I was programmed like Dave Smith.  Everybody says, ‘Well, Dave Smith – what’s he doing here?’ Dave Smith can catch fish like crazy, but we were programmed for 10 and 15 fish limits (each day).  We had to put ourselves on 30 bites a day to do that.  

“As the limits shrunk from 10 to seven and now five, a lot of us didn’t adjust enough.  You can’t just go out and fish for 20, 30, or 40 bites a day because those are the wrong fish. You have to give up bites to get the big ones.  Seven to 10 bites a day, if you’re fishing for the right ones, is absolutely the correct thing to be doing.”     

3rd Place: Keith Combs (19-14, 16-10, 17-11: 54-3)
Combs on his overall day on Saturday:
“I had four by 8:00 but it took me until 11:00 to get my fifth fish.  I hit a stretch that had them and I caught a big one and lost a big one and caught four more keepers.  After 1:00, I never had another bite. I thought that I’d be able to catch a few fish working my way back, but it didn’t happen today.”

Combs on losing a kicker on Saturday:   
“I’m definitely going to have to fish clean to win.  I’m definitely around the fish to do it.  Today I had to make some adjustments, and I probably didn’t make a really good one.  I hadn’t been flipping at all, and today I got a bit flipping but I had some problems with zebra mussels.  I didn’t even know that they had zebra mussels here, but I broke off one good one and then pulled up some grass later on that was just covered with them.  Maybe I needed to tie on some braid or something.”     

Combs on fishing being in contention to win his second major tournament this year after winning the TTBC on Lake Fork last week:
“Going into the last day in my previous wins, I’ve always been in the lead and now I’m chasing the leaders.  That’s actually kind of cool, because it’s much better that way.  If you’re leading, everybody is fishing on top of you.  It should be the easiest day to catch them with fewer guys on the water tomorrow. The one thing that I really want to do is win outside of Texas – I need to do that.”

DAY THREE STANDINGS

PlaceNameDay 1Day 2Day 3Total FishTotal Weight
FishWeightFishWeightFishWeight
1 Greg Hackney 5 21-13 5 18- 1 5 16-10 15 56- 8
2 Rick Clunn 5 18- 5 5 17-14 5 19- 8 15 55-11
3 Keith Combs 5 19-14 5 16-10 5 17-11 15 54- 3
4 Jason Christie 5 16- 7 5 16-10 5 20- 0 15 53- 1
5 Cliff Crochet 5 13- 4 5 19-15 5 19- 2 15 52- 5
6 Gerald Swindle 5 18-12 5 14- 2 5 19- 0 15 51-14
7 John Crews 5 22- 9 5 16-12 5 11-11 15 51- 0
8 Takahiro Omori 5 16- 0 5 13- 2 5 20- 7 15 49- 9
9 Chris Zaldain 5 17- 9 5 15- 3 5 16- 8 15 49- 4
10 Skeet Reese 5 16-14 5 13- 7 5 18- 7 15 48-12
11 Michael Iaconelli 5 12- 9 5 18- 5 5 17-12 15 48-10
12 Paul Elias 5 14- 9 5 13- 9 5 20- 7 15 48- 9
13 David Walker 5 17- 7 5 12-15 5 17-15 15 48- 5
14 Bernie Schultz 5 15-15 5 13-11 5 18-10 15 48- 4
15 Aaron Martens 5 13-15 5 16- 7 5 17- 8 15 47-14
16 Keith Poche 5 19- 9 5 15- 8 5 12- 6 15 47- 7
17 Zell Rowland 5 11-12 5 25- 5 5 10- 5 15 47- 6
18 Kenneth "Boo" Woods 5 18- 8 5 14- 9 5 14- 5 15 47- 6
19 Cliff Prince 5 14- 3 5 17- 1 5 15- 8 15 46-12
20 Randy Howell 5 16-10 5 17-13 5 11-15 15 46- 6
21 Jonathon VanDam 5 13- 7 5 13- 9 5 19- 3 15 46- 3
22 Casey Ashley 5 16- 3 5 9-15 5 19- 5 15 45- 7
23 Edwin Evers 5 16-12 5 15-15 5 12-12 15 45- 7
24 Jason Williamson 5 19-14 4 10- 7 4 14-10 13 44-15
25 Ott DeFoe 5 12- 5 5 18- 4 5 14- 4 15 44-13
26 Justin Lucas 5 16-15 4 13-10 5 13- 5 14 43-14
27 Davy Hite 5 13- 6 5 16- 4 5 14- 4 15 43-14
28 David Mullins 5 14- 1 5 13- 0 5 16- 7 15 43- 8
29 Dean Rojas 5 14-12 5 12-13 5 15-11 15 43- 4
30 Tommy Biffle 5 15-12 5 14- 5 5 12-12 15 42-13
31 Kenyon Hill 5 9-11 5 17-10 5 14-15 15 42- 4
32 Tim Horton 5 14-14 5 15- 8 5 11- 3 15 41- 9
33 Joel Baker 5 17- 4 5 14- 8 4 9- 9 14 41- 5
34 John Murray 5 15-15 5 11-12 5 12-14 15 40- 9
35 Casey Scanlon 5 16- 8 5 13- 9 5 10- 7 15 40- 8
36 Glenn Browne 5 12- 1 5 15-11 5 12-12 15 40- 8
37 Brandon Lester 5 13- 1 5 13-12 5 13-10 15 40- 7
38 Bradley Roy 5 17- 4 5 12- 0 5 10- 4 15 39- 8
39 Grant Goldbeck 5 20- 1 4 7-14 5 11- 2 14 39- 1
40 Chad Morgenthaler 5 18- 2 5 11- 2 5 9-10 15 38-14
41 Josh Bertrand 5 12-14 5 15- 9 5 10- 5 15 38-12
42 Brett Hite 5 15- 0 5 12- 9 5 10-14 15 38- 7
43 Jamie Horton 5 15- 3 5 11- 7 5 11- 1 15 37-11
44 Trevor Romans 5 10- 2 5 16- 9 5 10-15 15 37-10
45 Morizo Shimizu 5 14- 3 5 12- 4 5 11- 1 15 37- 8
46 Michael Simonton 5 12-14 5 13- 7 5 10-15 15 37- 4
47 Britt Myers 5 15-13 5 11- 1 5 10- 3 15 37- 1
48 Pete Ponds 5 17- 1 5 12-13 3 6-15 13 36-13
49 Kotaro Kiriyama 5 12-13 5 13-12 3 8- 4 13 34-13
50 Brandon Card 5 15-13 5 10-13     10 26-10