Russellville, AR (10/25/2019) – In less than 12 hours, nearly 350 college anglers will be launching out onto Lake Dardanelle for the 2019 AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open. The ‘AFTCO Open’ is the second event of the 2019-2020 season on the Bass Pro Shops Collegiate Bass Fishing Series. Anglers will be competing for a bevy of prizes, and an opportunity to earn double points towards the School of the Year race. Russellville, AR will be the focus of the college fishing community over the next two days while these young anglers look to take home this prestigious title.
Weather is guaranteed to play a significant role over the next two days, especially on day one. For the past 12 hours it has rained consistently across the Arkansas River Valley, and it doesn’t show any signs of letting up until tomorrow afternoon at the earliest. Along with the steady rain, air temperatures have fallen by roughly 15-20 degrees since earlier the week.
“The weather has kind of made fishing a little bit tougher…the wind and the rain. It’s kind of moved some of the fish into the areas we like. Hopefully it’ll play into our favor,” said Tyler Cain from the eighth ranked University of Montevallo.
This will be fall fishing at its finest. Falling temperatures combined with fresh rain will work to drop water temperatures quickly. When that starts to happen this time of year, the bass begin to feed up at a very fast rate. Anglers targeting shad should be in business. One downside to the drop in temperatures is the possibility that the topwater bite may shut off. The shad will push a little lower in the water column, and not be as concentrated near the surface. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and swim jigs will definitely be three baits to keep an eye on in this scenario.
Lake Dardanelle is known for having a wide variety of shoreline cover. From lily pads, to shoreline grass, flooded timber, and rock banks, there are plenty of different stretches for anglers to target. Right now, I would expect all of these areas to hold fish. The key will be finding out which of these types of cover is holding the best quality fish. Year in and year out, anglers find a way to catch bass up and down this great fishery in a wide range of different cover.
1,000 points will be awarded to the winning team on Sunday afternoon. That allotment of points will go a long ways in the race for Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia. The top three teams are separated by less than 1,000 points, which opens up the opportunity for quite the shake up among the top teams. Double points will also factor into who is sitting atop the standings when this event concludes. Schools will earn points for their highest two finishing teams inside of the top 100. Best case scenario, a given school could earn over 1,900 points when all is said and done.
As far as weight estimates go for winning weights, 30 pounds seems to be the magic number. “For two days, probably around 30 pounds,” noted Payton Rea from the University of Arkansas. The two-day winning weight from last year was just over 27 pounds.
Take-off will start at Lake Dardanelle State Park at approximately 7:00 AM. The first flight of boats will be due back in beginning at 3:00 PM. Weigh-in will be streamed live on the Outdoor Action TV app, and www.outdooraction.com. Follow along with live coverage on all of our social media channels and website throughout the day. The live blog will begin tomorrow morning prior to the 7:00 AM takeoff.