One of the better bass of the day, but not THE one. Photos: Ben Duchesney
One of the better bass of the day, but not THE one.

Severe weather the night before made today’s bite slow way down. Josh Jeffers and I managed to catch maybe 12-15 bass before weather started rolling in again, the same sizes as yesterday, around 15-17 inches. A double hookup in the first five minutes of the morning felt like a good sign, but it was more of a false alarm.

The bass in DeGray Lake were fewer and farther between than the day before, hitting fluke swimbaits more softly, causing us to miss fish more often. The lack of wind made the bass spread out, whereas the day before they were stacked up against the brush. I hit the road and headed for the next stop, checking the radar with paranoia as another storm was supposed to roll in.

SW AR Day 2 body 1

After a three hour drive to the Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge, near Crossett, AR, I met up with Crossett local and B.A.S.S. tournament angler Scotty Pennington. After a 15 minute, white-knuckle run down the Ouichita River, into Lake Jack Lee and back into the cyprus swamps, dodging stumps at 60mph, we started throwing spinnerbaits and creature baits against big cyprus trunks and up against thick grass.

SW AR Day 2 body 2

The weather showed it’s power of these fish yet again. What was working only days before, these flashy baits in the heavily stained water, wasn’t producing a single strike. I had one strike while I was reaching around the motor and reeling (don’t have that problem in a kayak, which I was sure to state for the record), but was unable to get a good hookset, so it spit the hook.

The only other fish that saw the end of my line nailed my spinnerbait like a freight train hitting a barn. I set the hook and watched, just a few feet away, as the biggest bass that I’ve ever had on, a seven or eight pounder easy, rolled and tossed the lure right back. I’ll be having dreams (nightmares really), about that fish and how heavy it was tonight and probably many nights down the road. That is of course, unless I catch a bigger one tomorrow.

I’ll admit, the other two guys each caught a single fish at last light, but hey, I’m still shell-shocked from losing that monster.

SW AR Day 2 body 3

Stay tuned for more from Ben Duchesney’s Arkansas trip, and be sure to follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for more up to date progress on the trip.

Want to read about the first day on this Arkansas trip? Check it out here.


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