"In the Boat" presented by Jewel Bait Company
Tournament: Vince Miller's Arkansas Couples
                     May 31st, 2009
          

Anglers: Frank and Erin Leone
             4th place - 5 bass - 9.90 pounds - $400.00

Practice: Practice on Saturday was lackluster to say the least. I tried throwing a 10-inch worm and
punching mats with a Sweet Beaver, but neither technique worked. Around 11:00 AM, I started
swimming a jig and caught a keeper. At that moment, I knew that I would be running the same
pattern that I did in the Mr. Bass Tournament two weeks ago............

Tournament: Erin and I got a good draw (boat #3). We made a short run to the Illinois Bayou and I
started swimming a jig while she threw a spinnerbait. I knew that we would have to "get right" quick
because the forecast was for bluebird skies with little wind - Not the greatest conditions for
swimming a jig. About 20 minutes into the day I connected with our first keeper. Number 1 was in
the well!!! Ten minutes later, I threw my jig up in the grass and worked it high through the water
column. I seen a wake coming towards my bait and sure enough, I connected. After a brief fight I
put the 4-pounder in the net. It felt good to have a quality fish in the boat.... It's something I've
struggled with this year. About 10 minutes later, I hear a good fish commode flush Erin's spinnerbait
behind me. I looked back and the fish was making a run towards open water when it pulled off. I
don't know how big it was, but it was a quality keeper for sure. Anyway, after that the shallow grass
bite died. I headed towards Shoal Bay in hopes of finding more active fish. The shallow bite wasn't
working there either. I decided to slow down and fish a jig in front of the grass. I quickly boated a
12-inch Kentucky. Although it was just a dink, I was glad to put #3 in the well. We continued fishing
slow and I added two more keeper largemouth on the jig. With 5 in the boat the pressure was off,
but I knew we needed one more good fish to get in check range. We continued fishing in Shoal until
around noon, when I decided it was time to head back to the bayou. We started fishing a steep
creek channel bank when I set the hook on a decent keeper. Got the fish almost to the boat and he
jumps off. I thought that the miscue might cost us, but we still had two hours left, so I shrugged it off.
Anyway, about 1:15 we were going to make a short run to another bank when the lower unit goes
out while trying to get on pad. Damn the luck!!!! I was across from Ouita boat ramp when it
happened and knew that If I could get to the 64 bridge that we would run into one of the other
couples. We ran into David and Robin Babbitt, who were gracious enough to take us (and our fish)
back to the State Park so we could weight them in. I thought we would surely be just short of a
check....

Keeper Count: 3/8 oz. Black/Blue Jig: 3 keepers
                        All Terrain Swim Jig (1/2 oz. White): 2 keepers

Final Thoughts:
I can't believe we ended up in 4th.... Given the circumstances I feel real good
about the finish. Time to prepare for Super Team in 2 weeks......

See ya' on the flip side....

Frank Leone