In the Boat With...

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Tournament: Get5Bass Team Series

May 7th, 2022

Lake Dardanelle

 

Angler: Frank Leone - 1st place - 5 bass -  15.36 pounds - $860.00  

Practice: Hit the lake on Friday while a front was blowing through. Went up the Bayou and started throwing a buzzbait. They were on it! So good that I had to put it down... Anyway, found one area that I was really confident in. I figured I could still get 2 or 3 decent bites out of this area even though it was going to be post-frontal conditions. 

Tournament: When I got to my starting area I was glad to not see a soul around. Conditions were brutal, no wind, cold morning, and not a cloud in the sky. As you may have guessed, the buzzbait was not working. Tried a frog and nope. Swim jig - Nope. Finally started flipping and was almost out of my area when I set the hook on a good one. Got the 3.5-pounder in the boat and was on the board. Made a move and flipped a 12-inch Kentucky in the boat on the hook set. It was good to have 2 in the boat, but he would have to go later. Anyway, I shifted gears and was about to move upriver a bit when I seen a decent breeze around one of the bridges. Made a cast and hooked up with a "head". The fish was barely hooked and after some intense moments I got her in the boat. Catching a 5-pounder changes everything, and it changed my gameplan. Made a move to a confidence area in the Bayou and filled out my limit within a half-hour. Felt good to have 5 in the boat, but I knew that I had to cull two of them out if I wanted to have a chance at a high finish. I made the move upriver and was able to cull one of them out. I now had to 14.5-inchers in the well and needed to cull one or both of them out. Made my my to another confidence area in the Bayou and within 10-minutes flipped up another 3-pounder on the BFE. Really thought I'd get one more decent fish in the boat in the last hour, but it didn't happen. Went to the weigh-in with fingers crossed...

Keeper count:
 

Big Bite Baits BFE: 4 keepers - Denali Lithium Pro 7'0 MH; 16 pound Sunline Sniper FC

Spro Fat John CB: 3 keepers- Denali Lithium - 7'0 MH CB; 16 pounds Sunline Crank FC

Leone's Toad Jig: 1 Keeper - Denali Lithium 7'4 MH; 16 pound Sunline Sniper FC

Final Thoughts: Scratched and clawed my way to the W!

 

See ya' on the flip side... side....

Frank

Tournament: Get5Bass Solo Series

May 1st, 2022

Lake Dardanelle

 

Angler: Frank Leone - 14th place - 5 bass -  10.24 pounds  

 

Practice: Hit the lake on Friday. Ramp hopped to three different areas. Seemed like the bite was off a bit everywhere. Finally at my last stop, hit a couple of banks and had 3 keeper bites. Similar bite to what I found last week. Decision was made. I knew where I was going to start.

Tournament: When I got everyone taken off, I headed to the last bank I fished in practice. Really thought I could catch 5 quick ones and maybe a "head" or two. Well, it didn't pan out. Caught one keeper and probably spent too much time on it. Anyway, I decided to make a run to the mid-lake area. Got up there and it seemed like more of the same... Finally hit a good stretch and caught 3 more keepers quickly. Things were looking up! Hit another bank and started culling around 10:30. Now I just needed a couple big ones... Well that never happened and the afternoon bite failed to produce. My goose was cooked,,,

 

Keeper count:
 

Big Bite Baits BFE: 3 keepers - Denali Lithium Pro 7'0 MH; 16 pound Sunline Sniper FC

Big Bite Baits Tour Flipper Tube - 1 keeper - Denali Lithium - 7'4 H; 20 pound Sunline Sniper FC

Big Bite Baits Cane Stick: 1 keeper - Denali Lithium 7'0 MH; 16 pound Sunline Sniper FC

Leone's Toad Jig: 1 Keeper - Denali Android 7'4 MH; 16 pound Sunline Sniper FC

Spro Fat John CB: 1 keeper - Denali Lithium - 7'0 MH CB; 16 pounds Sunline Crank FC

Final Thoughts: Fished clean, just never got the big bites I needed. Beautiful day though!!!

 

 

See ya' on the flip side... side....

Frank

Tournament: Get5Bass Team Series

April 10th, 2022

Lake Dardanelle

 

Angler: Frank Leone - 2nd place - 5 bass -  14.53 pounds - $400.00 

 

Practice: Hit the lake for a couple of hours on Saturday. The first thing I noticed was that my accessories weren't working. Caught a couple of keepers and everything looked and felt the same as the past three weeks. I took off early to get the circuit breaker for my accessories replaced. Wasn't looking good as far as finding one, so I replaced it with a heavy duty toggle switch. I was back in business and ready for the derby...

Tournament: When I got everyone taken off, I headed to where I caught them last week. Had a small keeper in the first 10 minutes... Things were looking up! Anyway, the first stop was kind of disappointing and I was only able to add one more keeper. Got to the second stop and added another keeper pretty quick on a jig. What happened next kind of amazed me... I got to a clump of grass where I caught a really nice fish on Saint Patrick's Day (March 17th). I shot the same bait in there and hooked up with a nice one. Got her in the boat and swore it was the same fish. It was a good 3.5 pounder and I ended up holding it up for a pic at the weigh-in. I also happened to snap a fish selfie of it when I caught it on the 17th. The fish had very distinctive markings and yep, you guessed it, turned out to be the same fish. I'll probably post it on the gram for y'all to check out... Anyway, I got on a roll and started culling. Probably had about 12.5 pounds or so and decided to check out an area in the Bayou where I caught them in practice last week. Got in there and it was on fire for about 5 minutes. Caught 3 good keepers and they all culled! I was thinking the last two hours were going to be lights out, but I was only able to add 1 more keeper (that didn't cull) the rest of the afternoon.

 

Keeper count:
 

Vibrating Jig with Big Bite Baits Kamikaze Swimon: 5 keepers - Denali N3 7'0 MH; 16 pound Sunline Dostrike FC

4.8-inch Texas-rigged plastic Worm: 3 keepers - Denali Lithium Pro 7'0 MH; 16 pound Sunline Sniper FC

Vibrating Jig with Big Bite Baits Kamikaze Swimon: 1 keeper - Denali Kovert 7'2 MH; 16 pound Sunline Dostrike FC

Big Bite Baits Cane Stick: 1 keeper - Denali Lithium 7'0 MH; 16 pound Sunline Sniper FC

Leone's Toad Jig: 1 Keeper - Denali Lithium 7'4 MH; 16 pound Sunline Sniper FC

Final Thoughts: Just a day where everything I did worked. Didn't miss or lose any fish and had a nice finish. Love me some April!!!

 

 

See ya' on the flip side... side....

Frank

Tournament: Get5Bass Solo Series

April 3rd, 2022

Lake Dardanelle

 

Angler: Frank Leone - 4th place - 5 bass -  12.88 pounds - $140.00 

 

Practice: I took a day of annual leave on Friday and hit the lake on a chilly morning. I decided to hit a section of the lake that I really haven't fished in a tournament in a while. Anyway, When I got there the bite was on. Boated 18 pounds and got a lot of bites. I knew where I was going to start. With my Mom in town I got to practice on Saturday, as she was sitting for my son. Anyway, I was looking for a backup pattern and found it. 

 

Tournament: When I got everyone taken off, I made a beeline to where I caught them on Friday. I got in there and it was stagnant and cold. Just didn't feel right...Anyway after a fruitless two hours, I had to head to my backup pattern,,, As Mark Zona once said, "it make baby cry"! Got to my backup spot and my bladed jig just stopped... Put a 4-pounder in the boat and I was on the board. Felt good, but I had a lot of work to do! Had my 5 by noon and was feeling confident I could make a run at the win... Well the afternoon was a bomb and I didn't land another fish...

 

Keeper count:

 

Vibrating Jig with Big Bite Baits Kamikaze Swimon: 3 keepers - Denali Kovert 7'2 MH; 16 pound Sunline Dostrike FC

Vibrating Jig with Big Bite Baits Kamikaze Swimon: 1 keepers - Denali N3 7'0 MH; 16 pound Sunline Dostrike FC

Big Bite Baits Cane Stick: 1 keeper - Denali Lithium 7'0 MH; 16 pound Sunline Sniper FC

Final Thoughts: Awesome Spring Weekend!!!

 

 

See ya' on the flip side... side....

Frank

Tournament: Get5Bass Solo Series

March 27th, 2022

Lake Dardanelle

 

Angler: Frank Leone - 14th place - 4 bass -  8.17 pounds 

 

Practice: I took a day of annual leave on Friday to check the lake out. Checked out a different area of the lake and caught 5 keepers and lost a couple. I really didn't intend to fish this area during the derby...

 

Tournament: When I got everyone taken off, I had a decision to make. Where to fish. I decided to run up the river to the area I practiced on Friday. Got just enough bites up there to make me brave the wind forecast. Well it took a while but I finally arrived. Hit a couple of areas, caught a short fish and lost one. Not off to a good start... Anyway, caught two keepers at the second stop and had 2 keepers in the boat at 8:30 AM. Things were looking up!!! But that's when all momentum stopped. Finally at around 11:30 I pulled the plug and ran the gauntlet downriver. Pulled in at 11:59 AM and had keeper number 3 at 12:01. Really though I was in for a good afternoon, but I was wrong. Didn't catch another keeper until 10 minutes before I had to go in. Too little, too late...

 

Keeper count:

 

Leone's Toad jig: 3 keepers - Denali Android 7'4 MH; 16 pound Sunline Sniper FC

Leone's Toad jig: 1 keepers - Denali Lithium 7'4 MH; 16 pound Sunline Sniper FC

Final Thoughts: Pain...

 

 

See ya' on the flip side... side....

Frank

Tournament: Get5Bass Team Series

March 20th, 2022

Lake Dardanelle

 

Angler: Frank Leone - 11th place - 3 bass -  8.05 pounds 

 

Practice: I took a day of annual leave on Thursday to check the lake out. The bite was decent and I landed 7 keepers and 12 fish total. Thought I had them figured out a bit. 

 

Tournament: When I got everyone taken off, I headed to my starting spot. Two other boats in tight quarters wasn't going to work for me so I headed to spot 2. Spot 2 was worse, with two other tournament boats and catfish jugs everywhere. Next to stops were also fruitless. I was just zigging when I should have been zagging... Anyway, finally caught a keeper at the 5th stop of the day at about 10:00 AM.  I told myself just catch one an hour the rest of the day until weigh-in and I would be fine. I did just that until the 1:00 hour. Picked up a different color jig and bam, fish on right away. Line broke on the boat flip. Must have had a bad area in my line because it broke twice while I was trying to retie. That took the wind out of the sails and I didn't get another keeper bite the rest of the day. 

 

Keeper count:

 

Leone's Toad jig: 3 keepers - Denali Lithium 7'4 MH; 16 pound Sunline Sniper FC

Final Thoughts: Tough bite on Dardanelle. There are definitely some pre-spawn fish up but they are few and far between. This might be a long season....

 

 

See ya' on the flip side... side....

Frank