In the Boat With...

DENALI_2015.jpg

Tournament: Get5Bass Solo Series Championship

September 11th, 2022

Lake Dardanelle

 

Angler: Frank Leone - 4th place - 3 bass -  6.45 pounds ($200 - 3rd place AOY 

 

Practice: Practice was a dud. Caught one 11-inch Kentucky. I was dreading this derby...

Tournament: Started near the ramp with the frog. Seemed like a perfect morning for it, but the fish weren't interested. I fished it for an hour before deciding to venture out to the river. The cold front was passing through with a strong west wind... Not good for me. My primary area was pretty blown out. Got to the end of a long stretch and the water was a bit clearer. Tossed my squarebill up to the bank and that's when it happened... Hooked up with a good 3.75 pounder and got here in the boat. Felt awesome to get on the board. Fished another 10 minutes and added a 2-pounder on the jig. It was only 8:45 AM and things were looking up! Unfortunately. that's where the momentum ended. I was only able to add one more small Kentucky the rest of the day. 

Keeper count:
 

Spro Fat Papa SB: 1 keeper - Denali Lithium Pro 7"0 M; 14 pound Sunline Crank FC

Spro Fat Papa 55 MD: 1 keeper - Denali Attax 7'2 M; 12 pound Sunline Crank FC

Leone's Toad Jig: 1 keeper - Denali Lithium 7"4 MH; 16 pounds Sunline Sniper FC

Final Thoughts: Glad this season is over. Dardanelle is brutal tough. Hoping for a better bite next year...

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

Frank

Tournament: Get5Bass Solo Series

August 7th, 2022

Lake Dardanelle

 

Angler: Frank Leone - 9th place - 3 bass -  3.78 pounds  

 

Practice: Took a day of annual leave on Friday and hit the lake. Hit some areas that I hadn't fished this year and only landed 1 bass all morning. I could tell this was going to be a tough event...

Tournament: Started off fishing a frog close to the ramp. Put a 14-incher in the boat within the first 15-minutes. I was relieved to put one in the well so quick. Made a move to some grass in the bayou closer to the main river. Lost a good keeper pretty quick. That's when I knew it wasn't going to be my day... Anyway was able to add a twelve-inch Kentucky before heading all the way upriver. Got up there and it was brutal. Added 1 keeper noon and I decided to head back and fish a main river bank down the lake where I caught them pretty good a couple of weeks ago. Didn't quite get there when my motor alarm started going off. Oh no! She kept running until I got just past Goose Island. Lost power. Not good. I lost power a few more times but made it in to the ramp.,,

Keeper count:
 

Spro Fat Papa SB: 1 keepers - Denali Kovert Inshore 7"0 M; 14 pound Sunline Crank FC

Spro Popping Frog: 1 keeper - Denali Attax 7'0 MH; 50 pounds Sunline FX Braid

Vixen Topwater: 1 keeper - Denali Kovert 6'9 MH; 50 pound Sunline X-Plasma Braid

Final Thoughts: My season has taken a turn for the worse. One more event to try to right the ship.

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

Frank

Tournament: Get5Bass Team Series Championship

July 10th, 2022

Lake Dardanelle

 

Angler: Frank Leone - 6th place - 5 bass -  8.69 pounds (3rd Place AOY prize - $150.00) 

 

Practice: Took a day of annual leave on Friday and hit the lake. I stayed on the lower end and managed only three keepers. Knew this was going to be another tough one. 

Tournament: When I got everyone taken off, I headed upriver to try to get around some current. To my surprise, there was zero flow. I knew some was coming, because the Corps App said Trimble was flowing 22,000, so I guess I would have to wait it out. On the second cast of the day I caught a 12-incher? A sign of good things to come? Probably not so much...Anyway, I got to my second stop and caught another short. Then a double of shorts (one Largemouth and one Spotted Bass). The fish were biting, I just couldn't catch a keeper. Got almost to the end of the stretch and finally got on the board! Felt good but knew I had a long way to go. Got to the third stop and I could tell the river was a flowing again! Woohoo! I was able to add a couple more by 9:00 AM and thought a limit would be easy. Wrong guess again. I went on a long dry spell until about noon. I had gotten back to a spot where I had caught one of my keepers earlier and quickly added two more keepers. Not gonna lie, it felt great to get 5 in the boat, even though it was just a small limit. Hit several more spots on the way back to the ramp, but it was nothing doing. I headed in with my fingers crossed that I had done enough to hold on to 3rd place AOY.

Keeper count:
 

Spro Fat Papa 55 CB: 3 keepers - Denali Attax 7'2  M CB; 12 pound Sunline Crank FC

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

Big Bite Baits 10" B2 Worm: 1 keeper - Denali Android 7'4'; 16 pound Sunline Sniper FC

Final Thoughts: A pleasant summer day on the water but keepers are hard to find this year...

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

Frank

Tournament: Get5Bass Solo Series

July 3rd, 2022

Lake Dardanelle

 

Angler: Frank Leone - 7th place - 5 bass -  9.94 pounds  

 

Practice: Took a day of annual leave on Friday and hit the lake. I could tell the bite was going to be much tougher than I anticipated. 

Tournament: When I got everyone taken off, I headed out to the river to get around some current. First two stops were duds. Finally connected with a small keeper at my third stop. Felt good to get on the board! The next three stops were also fruitless. I was starting to think this was going to be another brutal day... I decided to hit a nearby jetty and caught 3 good keepers in 5 minutes! Now things were looking up!!! That's really where the momentum stopped. I was able to add 3 more small keepers, but also lost two that really would have helped. Didn't do anything wrong, the just came off. Just didn't get the breaks I needed.

Keeper count:
 

Spro Fat Papa SB: 2 keepers - Denali Kovert Inshore 7"0 M; 14 pound Sunline Crank FC

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

Spro Fat Papa 55 CB: 1 keeper - Denali Attax 7'2  M CB; 12 pound Sunline Crank FC

Big Bite Baits 10" B2 Worm: 1 keeper - Denali Android 7'4'; 16 pound Sunline Sniper FC

Leone's Toad Jig: 1 keeper - Denali Lithium 7'4; 16 pound Suniline Sniper FC

Vibrating Jig with Big Bite Baits Kamikaze Swimon Trailer - Denali N3 7' MH; 16 pound Sunline DoStrike FC

Final Thoughts: Another grimy day on Dardanelle...

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

Frank

Tournament: Get5Bass Team Series

June 19th, 2022

Lake Dardanelle

 

Angler: Frank Leone - 6th place - 1 bass -  2.43 pounds  

 

Practice: No Practice for this one. 

Tournament: With no practice, I decided to just head to the river and give it a shot. I thought with the flow coming down just a tad, things may start happening. Got to a main river weed bed and caught a short on a swim jig right away. Thought it was a good sign, but I was wrong. The next 3 stops were fruitless and with the wind and chocolate milk water, I began to realize this was going to be a tough day... It was just that, and I only caught one keeper all day.

Keeper count:
 

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

Final Thoughts: Brutal.

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

Frank

Tournament: Get5Bass Solo Series

June 5th, 2022

Lake Dardanelle

 

Angler: Frank Leone - 6th place - 5 - 8.20 pounds  

Practice: Took off a day of annual and hit the lake on Friday. Started off in a backwater and things were slowwww! I decided to try the main river and instantly started catching fish. I decided that I'd start in a backwater and hit the main river after the 1st hour.

Tournament: When I got every one taken off, I still didn't really know where I wanted to start. I looked to my left and saw shad spawning under the bridge. Well, that made up my mind. Second cast and I hooked up with a short fish on a frog. With shad spawning somehow that was the only bite I got. I made a move to a water willow covered point. Shad were spawning here too. Second cast with a swim jig and a 13-incher. A couple of casts later and I put my first keeper in the boat. Two casts later and another keeper. These were just 14-inchers, but as tough as its been I was glad to put some fish in the boat. After the action died down I made another move. Started throwing a frog and one commode flushes it. As soon as I got the fish to the top he came off. Decent keeper. A few casts later and another flush. This one took the frog under and nothing there when I set the hook. Rats!!! I swear these Dardanelle fish could give Houdini a run for his money. Anyways, 5 minutes later I hit a rocky stretch with no grass and started throwing a crankbait. a good one hit me on short line and I bounced her off my Garmin on the boat flip. Cue the clown music now.... After this debacle I decided to hit the main river. Caught a keeper really quick, so I though I may be able to get back in the game. Hit a stretch of grass and started chunking the buzzbait. One commode flushes it, I got one crank on it and the fish comes off. To add insult to injury, I saw the fish just sit there for a moment before darting off. Looked like a good 3-pounder. That pretty much summed up my day. I was able to put together a small limit, but it was too little, too late. 

 

Keeper count:
 

White Swim Jig: 3 keepers - Denali Kovert 7'2 H; 50 pound Sunline FX2 Braid

Spro Fat John CB: 2 keepers- Denali Lithium - 7'0 MH CB; 16 pounds Sunline Crank FC

Black Buzzbait: 1 Keeper - Denali Kovert 6'9 MH; 30 pound Sunline XPlasma Braid

Final Thoughts: Poor execution leads to poor results. 

 

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

Frank

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