Monticello native places for first time


DUMAS — Marcus Arrington has been competing in the annual Big Bass Bonanza since its inception but has never placed — until now.

“It feels good,” Arrington, a Monticello native, said. “My kids loved it.

“… I’ve been competing in it every since it started, back in the 90s. I never had placed. I’ve caught fish, but never placed.”

On Friday, Arrington hauled in a 5.23-pound bass near the Pendleton Bridge as part of the first day of the fishing tournament — which lasts until Sunday. His catch was good enough to finish first place for the 1 p.m. weigh-in.

“It feels pretty good,” Arrington said.

Despite the showers that hit most of Southeast Arkansas, Arrington said it didn’t affect his day too much.

“I didn’t do any good while it was raining, but when it quit and the sun started coming out, that’s when I caught the fish.

“Right when it broke for just a minute and the sun kind of peaked out, that’s when they bit for just a second.”

Arrington said he plans on going back out again today and hopefully will be able to return to the same spot, where got his prized bass.

In the closing minutes of the noon weigh-in, White Hall native Ronnie Gray grabbed first place of the hour with a 5.45-pound bass that he caught near Merrisach Lake.

“We just ran down there, first spot, two flips of the jig and we caught one,” Gray said. “Really ain’t much to tell you.”

Gray, 19, said he had never competed in the tournament before this weekend but has competed in the Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship with Arkansas Tech.

“I was a little worried (coming into today),” Gray said. “But we got it done.”

Gray said he and his partner came in to weigh for the 10 o’clock hour, but “we were a little short on that one.”

“We didn’t have enough to place.”

His 5.45-pounder bumped Jerry Propst to second place for the hour. The Texas native had caught a 5.02 bass.

Lake Village’s Johnny Walker caught the biggest fish of the day for the pool with a 6.64-pound bass that won the 11 a.m. weigh-in. He finished in third place overall for the tournament with the largest catch of the day (6.87) caught by William Fitzgerald at Dardanelle.

“I was doing something a lot of the others weren’t doing,” Walker said. “I was punching holes in the grass mats and the caught the fish doing that.”

Walker said he used a real heavy weight to get through it and when he caught him, “it was so thick I had to dig him out.”

“I didn’t notice anyone else fishing like I was, so I thought I try that,” Walker said. “I did that back in Georgia, when I fished at Lake Seminole.”

Walker said he caught two more fish on the day but they weren’t good enough to weigh-in. He plans on returning to Dumas today and Sunday.

“I’m trying to catch one big enough to take the lead,” Walker said.