Pine Bluff resident Bart Moore caught the biggest bass of the day – weighing in at 5.58 pounds – to win the first day of the Regional Park pool of the Arkansas Big Bass Bonanza.
“This morning, I was listening to the radio and as soon as they said we could start, I cast my first lines,” Moore said. “About two cast later – at like 6:07 a.m. – I caught the fish.”
It was also the biggest fish for the 8 a.m. weigh-in. According to Moore, since he won his hour, he automatically wins $600. If his fish holds up for the next two days, he would win the top pool prize of $10,000.
In 2007, Moore won the Pine Bluff pool with a weigh-in of 5.98. He has a pretty good feeling that his fish will hold up.
“If it goes by what was held up the last couple of years, which have been under 5 1/2 pounds,” Moore said.
But he is still not taking any chances.
“I’m going to be out there (Saturday), trying to catch a bigger one,” Moore said.
Moore, a retired fireman, has a keen advantage since he docks about 800 feet from where he caught his bass.
“I basically just fish in one spot,” Moore said. “There was another one that looked bigger, but it broke my line.”
Moore’s wife Sheryl was listening to the radio when they announced the pool leaders.
“My wife keeps us with it and she started doing a little victory dance when they called my name,” Moore said.
Moore competes in almost every tournament including the Harbor Kings tournament, which is held on one Saturday every month.
Currently leading the entire tournament is Jonathan Swink, who caught a 6.63-pound bass near the Pendleton Bridge, near Dumas.
Conway’s Kelly Coble caught a 4.80-pound bass to finish in the top three of the 8 a.m. weigh-in of the Regional Park pool.
“It has been pretty tough,” Coble said.
Coble said the reason he chose the Pine Bluff pool instead of Dardanelle State Park or North Little Rock is his familiarity with the area.
“I have fished at Pine Bluff for 25 years and done real well,” Coble said. “I used to do even better, but I haven’t fished here in about a year.”
Coble has competed in just about every tournament available including a couple of FLW tour and Bassmaster events.
“I’ve caught a lot of fish and won a lot of tournaments,” Coble said. “Right now, I’m just doing the Extreme Fishing League in Oklahoma.”
He has also competed in all the circuits in Arkansas.
He said he would probably try the North Little Pool today since he has already returned to Conway.
Other local performers of the day included Pine Bluff’s Steven Heflin (4.46) and John Oliver (4.50) and White Hall’s Brian Pennington (4.84). Angela Morris of Canton, Miss., caught a 5.16-pound bass for the weigh-in at 8 a.m.
The tournament will resume Saturday and last until Sunday afternoon. For more information, visit the website at www.arkansasbigbass.com.