Shannon Pierce of Pine Bluff planned to fish in the Dumas/Pendleton pool all three days of the Arkansas Big Bass Bonanza. But a problem with his boat’s motor forced him to make a trip back home.
“I tore my motor up and had to come here to Pine Bluff to get it fixed,” Pierce said, adding the shaft came out of the float of the motor. “I just had to run out here and get some fish. I had been here two hours.”
Even with the change of venue, luck was on Pierce’s side. He won the 1 p.m. weigh-in at Regional Park with a 5.58-pound fish, matching the previous pool lead held by Bart Moore of Pine Bluff.
“I can’t believe it’s the same as the first place,” Pierce said.
Or what was first place. At the 10 a.m. weigh-in, Clinton Chandler of Lewisville took over the pool lead with a 5.64-pound catch. If Chandler’s weight holds up through Sunday’s final-day action, he’ll be guaranteed $10,000.
“I was surprised,” Chandler said, adding he believes his weight will remain on top after Sunday’s action. “I’m pretty excited about it.”
This is Chandler’s first time to fish on the Pine Bluff lake.
“Fisherman’s luck,” he said.
And Moore and Pierce are in position to earn the second-place prize of $900.
Oh, the difference 0.06 pound can make.
Pierce has already pocketed an undetermined amount of cash. In addition to his first-place hourly prize, he took third at the Friday 8 a.m. weigh-in at the Pendleton Bridge.
And he plans to fish in that pool Sunday.
“I live here (in Pine Bluff) and fish here just about every other day,” he said. “There’s a lot of fish here, but a lot of pressure on this pool. There’s people here all the time, it’s tough. And if it’s cloudy up here like they say, the fish won’t be in the trees like they should be. They’ll be on rocks.”
The hourly money will be determined by the number of fishermen in the tournament. Last year’s hourly payouts were $500 for first place, $250 for second and $125 for third.
The Dumas/Pendleton pool has produced the largest catch of the entire tournament, as Jonathan Swink of DeValls Bluff remained the overall leader with his 6.63-pounder from Friday.
“There’s bigger fish there, no doubt,” Pierce said.
Anglers from Greenbrier dotted Saturday’s Pine Bluff leaderboard. Tim Gartman of the Faulkner County town won the 8 and 11 a.m. weigh-ins with respective catches of 5.28 and 4.23. He now has three hourly victories in this tournament, including a win on Friday.
Also from Greenbrier, Jack Bray was second at 8 a.m. with a 3.91-pounder, and Terry Stewart came in second at 10 a.m. (4.43).
“Terry Stewart’s one of my best friends,” Gartman said. “He fishes here all the time. My dad fishes here. Nice, convenient place to fish.”
Gartman said he comes to Pine Bluff to fish because it’s where he did a lot of fishing as a kid. His parents are from Redfield.
“I’m out here fishing with my dad,” Gartman said. “We’re out here rotating, fishing a bunch of spots, fortunate to catch some good fish.”
Even Arkansas-Pine Bluff football coach Monte Coleman has been in on the action. Coleman was in position to win money at 1 p.m. until a pair of fish weighing just more than 4 pounds knocked him out of the top three for the hour.
Saturday’s 11 a.m. runner-up, Brian Pennington of White Hall, nearly won a $400 gift card from Academy Sports and Outdoors. His catch at the time was just 0.02 above the exact weight of 4.00 needed during the fourth weigh-in hour to win.
Other hourly winners in Pine Bluff included: at 9 a.m., James Morgan of Rison, 5.24 pounds; and at noon, Cody Clemons of Sheridan, 4.90.
Arkansas Big Bass Bonanza
• Fort Smith: Charles Dickenson, 4.86 pounds
• Dardanelle: Larry Gentry, 6.05
• North Little Rock: Matthew Hamby, 6.34
• Pine Bluff: Clinton Chandler, 5.64
• Dumas/Pendleton: Jonathan Swink, 6.63 (overall leader)
Saturday’s hourly pool winners
• 8 a.m.: Tim Gartman, 5.28; Jack Bray, 3.91; Brett Rogers, 3.21
• 9 a.m.: James Morgan, 5.24; Scott Terry, 3.03; Rusty Tucker, 3.01
• 10 a.m.: Clinton Chandler, 5.64; Terry Stewart, 4.43; Brent Ward, 4.28
• 11 a.m.: Tim Gartman, 4.23; Brian Pennington, 4.02; Jason Phillips, 3.95
• Noon: Cody Clemons, 4.90; Ray Smith, 4.52; Bobby Raff, 4.16
• 1 p.m.: Shannon Pierce, 5.58; Danny Roberts, 4.06; Kurt Copeland, 4.01
• 8 a.m.: Nicholas Bennett, 5.92; Randall Payne, 5.14; Jarred Thompson, 4.51
• 9 a.m.: Max Grubb, 5.25; Kerry Lee, 4.61; Denville Culliford, 4.28
• 10 a.m.: Francis Lee, 6.40; Ralston Lusby, 5.00; John Kapocius, 4.85
• 11 a.m.: Tony Nesterenko, 6.25; John Andrews, 4.71; David Addison, 4.25
• Noon: J.R. Grubb, 5.52; Shannon Keathley, 5.17; Christina Baugh, 4.53
• 1 p.m.: Ben Mullikin, 4.90; Joe Glover, 4.76; Dennis Diel, 4.63
• At Fort Smith pool: Shannon Parks for catching 3.00-pound fish at third weigh-in hour ($300 gift card from Academy Sports and Outdoors)