PENDLETON — Ask most anglers or anyone else associated with the Arkansas Big Bass Bonanza and chances are they’ll say the Dumas/Pendleton pool has the biggest fish.
After the 2013 tournament’s first day, the legend lives on.
Early into the noon weigh-in hour (11:01 a.m.-noon), those working the tent at the pool said the largest fish of the day belonged to North Little Rock. It didn’t take long for that to change.
Just minutes later, 28-year-old Jonathan Swink of DeValls Bluff brought up a fish that everyone knew would challenge the pool-leading 5.86-pound fish caught by Little Rock’s Francis Lee.
Well, Swink’s catch did more than that.
His 6.63-pound fish not only topped the Dumas/Pendleton pool for the day, but also leads the entire state following day one of the three-day tournament.
“I’ve fished here in a couple of tournaments,” Swink said. “I’ve always caught good fish here.
“But, I never expected anything like that.”
Up until his unexpected catch, Swink, who fished in the Pine Bluff pool last year, hadn’t been having the best of luck.
“I had one fish in the boat (before that),” Swink said. “It was just a little 3-pounder, but I’d caught about 30 fish.
“(The 6.63-pounder) was just the second to make the required length of 16 inches.”
Swink was asked about whether or not his fish’s weight will hold up over the tournament.
“We’ll find out, I guess,” he said. “With the way that leaderboard looks — I don’t know.
“If it gets beat, it will be beat here.”
Swink said experience with the area helped him.
“If I hadn’t fished those other tournaments, I would have had no idea what I was doing.
“They’ve got two days to beat it,” Swink said. “But, I’ve got two days of fishing left, too.”
One of the anglers trying to knock Swink out of the top spot is Pine Bluff resident Robert McGarity.
McGarity had the top spot during the pool’s final hour (12:01-1 p.m.). His 5.19-pound fish barely edged out Josh Thompson of Jacksonville and his 5.17-pound fish.
“It went real well,” McGarity said about his day. “I caught a couple of catfish and some carp.
“(The 5.19-pounder) was actually the only bass I caught, today.”
McGarity and Thompson were just two of the local anglers on Dumas’ leaderboard. Glenn Bates of Star City topped the pool’s opening hourly weigh-in (6-8 a.m.), while Shannon Pierce of Pine Bluff finished third that hour.
Cabot’s Josh Waymack finished on top of the second weigh-in (8:01-9 a.m.).
Ricky Campbell of Dumas and Dax Henderson of Monticello finsihed second and third, respectively, behind Swink during the noon weigh-in hour.
Bates’ catch of 5.79 sits in third place overall in the pool behind Swink and Lee.
Last year’s $50,000 winner, David Shopher of McGehee, who won last year’s tournament with a 6.27-pound fish caught in the Dumas pool, made the leaderboard with a third-place finish during the 11 a.m. weigh-in hour (10:01-11 a.m.).
Before the final hour Friday was closed, Swink said, “If (my fish) holds through the day, I might not sleep tonight.”
Well, here’s hoping Swink will get a good night’s sleep, because with Dumas’ reputation, his lead is definitely not a safe one.
Arkansas Big Bass Bonanza
• Fort Smith: Jeffery Towers, 4.71 pounds
• Dardanelle: Larry Gentry, 6.05
• North Little Rock: Matthew Hamby, 6.34
• Pine Bluff: Bart Moore, 5.58
• Dumas/Pendleton: Jonathan Swink, 6.63 (overall leader)
Friday’s hourly pool winners
• 8 a.m.: Bart Moore, 5.58; Angela Morris, 5.16; Kelly Coble, 4.80
• 9 a.m.: Kelly Glover, 4.47; Stevie Heflin, 4.46; Brian Pennington, 4.13
• 10 a.m.: Kelly Coble, 3.80; Stevie Heflin, 3.60; Joseph Neese, 3.59
• 11 a.m.: Kerry Clark, 4.53; Kurt Copeland, 4.26; Joe Spadoni, 3.74
• Noon: Brian Pennington, 4.84; Ronnie Hackney, 4.64; John Oliver, 4.50
• 1 p.m.: Tim Gortman, 5.06; Kenny Baugh, 4.41; John Oliver, 4.05
• 8 a.m.: Glenn Bates, 5.79; Patrick Chapman, 4.38; 3. Shannon Pierce, 3.86
• 9 a.m.: Josh Waymack, 5.05; Dewayne Bennett, 3.80; Patrick Chapman, 3.79
• 10 a.m.: Francis Lee, 5.86; Tony Nesterenko, 5.71; Larry Abbott, 5.50
• 11 a.m.: Dewayne Scarbrough, 5.42; Paul Dawson, 5.06; David Shopher, 4.83
• Noon: Jonathan Swink, 6.63; Ricky Cantrell, 5.20; Dax Henderson, 4.63
• 1 p.m.: Robert McGarty, 5.19; Josh Thompson, 5.17; Allen Wall, 4.63
• At Dardanelle pool: Dustin Roberts, Morgan Haney and David Coffman for catching 3.00-pound fish at third weigh-in hour ($300 gift card each from Academy Sports and Outdoors); Quentin Self and Eric Kinsey for catching 4.00-pound fish at fourth weigh-in hour ($400 Academy gift card each)