Lake Dardanelle will once again be invaded this year by the top kayak anglers in Arkansas as they compete for the 2017 Arkansas Kayak Fishing Championship on October 14 and 15. This will be the second time around for the State Championship on Dardanelle and should be a good one.
One of the interesting things about this venue is the ability for anglers to choose from a wide variety of water to fish, stretching from the Hwy 109 bridge near Clarksville all the way to the Illinois Bayou spillway at Russellville. There is a definitive advantage that should be had by those in the KBA circuit in central Arkansas, these are home waters for many of them. I’m still very unfamiliar with most of Dardanelle and hope to check out some new spots prior to tournament day. What I find interesting is the consistent response I get every time I ask someone about Dardanelle – basically they say something like “Hard to figure them out, different every day.”
Past History on Dardanelle
Equipped with all of these options of where to fish, anglers experienced pretty good results compared to the average local club events. Of the 66 registered anglers, 79% (56) carded a keeper, while 29% (19) turned in a limit. It took a very solid 83.75″ by Jason Cossey to win last year, with three anglers breaking the 80″ mark. Terry Brown caught the biggest of the day with a 21.25″ largemouth (which I’m guessing was on a worm).
I’ve heard from many how difficult October can be on Dardanelle with fish in transition to fall patterns, so it will be interesting to see how this year compares.
2017 Championship Details
- Pre-fishing is CLOSED and will open up on Friday, October 13, don’t fish on Wednesday or Thursday!
- Garett VanWie and Jeff Mallot are the tournament directors in case you need help or have a question.
- Captains meeting is Friday night at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday morning at 5:30 a.m. – you need to attend ONE of these.
- There will be a Big Bass side pot for those interested in the fatties, it is an additional $10 due in cash at the meetings.
- Natural State Custom Furniture is once again making some awesome trophies which are sponsored by Ozark Kayak.
- YUM baits is awarding a bonus $500 gift card to 1st place, $150 gift card to second, and a $100 gift card to third place.
- H24 is sponsoring the tournament HQ site, and Village Adventures is sponsoring the TourneyX leaderboard.
Another big change is going from a one day to a two day event. Tournament director Jeff Malott explained, “The “fish in” has been on Saturday in years past, however, with low participation we decided to change the main event to a two day cumulative format. Staying on fish for two straight days will help determine a deserving State Champion.”
The previous two Arkansas State Championships have been won by Jason Cossey, will it be three in a row? Jason was willing to answer a few questions in advance of the 2017 event:
What is the secret in preparing for a State Championship event?
Cossey –The secret to preparing for a championship is cleaning your gear and making sure you get the tackle side of things squared away. I always start with new fresh line, sharp hooks and check all your eyes on your rods for wear and tear. You need to have an open mind and confidence in yourself, and your gear that will take you through the day. Diet is another biggie, plan on getting snacks and drinks with electrolytes to keep you pushing through the day! I usually drink a bottle of Pedialite before and after each event.
This year is a two day event instead of a one day tournament, how would/should this change an angler’s approach?