"In the Boat" presented by Jewel Bait Company
Tournament: Fisher’s of Men Arkansas South
June 13, 2009
White River- Indian Bay
Anglers:Adam Starks and Philip Starks
2nd Place- 4 fish- 12.01lbs
Practice & Thoughts:
I have never fished the White River before, well I did but I was very young according to dad. Dad
took off the day before the derby to go eliminate water as he calls it. The White River has been at
or above flood stage for several months and was starting to fall. Dad explored several areas
throughout the day and only managed one keeper and was not too happy fishing thousands of
acres of flooded timber.
We were points leaders going into this tournament. I wasn’t to happy because I couldn’t take off to
go practice but after hearing dad talk I was even more concerned. There was one other team that
could catch us and in order for us to claim points champions for the year we needed to finish no
more than 4 places behind them. Dad talked with them at the meeting and they had a horrible
practice and said that they were going to make the run to the Arkansas River…..so I had to level
the playing field so the long run was the plan.
Tournament - April 18:
Tournament day and boy am I nervous because we were fixing to make quite a haul. I had decided
we were going to run all the way to “Annex” because I was on some good fish there last weekend.
We make the 45 mile run to the first lock, dodging floating logs and trash the whole way. We get in
the lock and see our closest competition tied up to another competitor so there was three of us that
we crazy enough to make the long haul. The lockmaster comes out and says that we will have
about a 2 hr wait at the next lock due to a two tote barge locking through. I am thinking it is 6:30…..
be fishing by 9:00….I holler at him to lock us through and the other guys decided the same. We
get locked through and run up to the next lock and fish while we are waiting, who knows maybe we
will get lucky and catch some 15 inchers while we have the wait. Well right off the bat dad hangs a
14 incher on a crankbait. Now that is legal for where we are fishing but we can’t carry a fish under
15 into the Arkansas so we toss it back. We fish around some more and mange 3 more fish
between 13 and 14 inches but have to throw them back. Well finally the barge makes it through
and the two hour wait had turned into three hours. We lock through and run another 13 miles up
river to “Annex”. We all decided to be back at the lock by noon to head back in case of any boat
trouble or barge traffic. That gave us 1 hour and 45 min to get the job done. We pull up to our first
spot and dad bags a short fish on his third cast and catches another short fish a few casts later.
We fish around for a while and I catch our first keeper a solid 3.5 pounder. Keep on grinding and I
put another 3.5 in the boat. I am feeling good now but time is running out quick. We have about
10 min before we need to head back to the lock and I chunk my worm over a laydown and tell dad
there had got to be a 5 pounder right there. No sooner than I said that one thumps it and about
takes the rod out of my hand. I set the hook and can’t even turn the fish. It is fighting just like the
6.7 I caught last week. I start cranking the reel and I feel my hook pull out and my heart sinks. I
thought I just cost us big time. Well, broken hearted we run back to the lock and pass a barge on
the way down. I start to get nervous but we make to the lock, pull the chain at 12:00 on the dot and
he lets us lock through. One thing…..our closest competitors didn’t show and it was just us and the
other boat there. I couldn’t chance waiting and getting locked out so we went on through. After we
lock through we decided to fish between the locks and maybe we could pick up three 12 inchers. I
switch crankbait colors from chartreuse to American shad. I am cranking along the rocks and one
eats it…..a solid 15 to 16 incher but it jumps off. Now I really am sick but keep on cranking. Then I
have one slam it. She jumps out the water like a tarpon and makes my heart go to my throat…what
is up with these fish jumping like this. We finally manage to land her and she is a solid 4lbs.
Feeling better I continue on. We get to the lock and I pick up my jig rod and catch a 14 incher. Felt
good now to have 4 keepers. We decided not to chance anything else lock on through and head
back to the ramp. The other boat follows us back and they run out of oil…so one guy grabs their
fish and jumps in our boat and we carry them back to the ramp. I felt confident that we had secured
our points lead and solidified our berth to the National Championship next year
Keeper Count: 8 but only weighed in 4 due to length restrictions for different bodies of water
Berkley 10” Power Worm: 2 Keepers
7/16 oz Eakins’ Jig Black/Blue: 1 keeper
H2O Express Square Bill Crankbait: 1 keeper
Bandit 200 Series Chartreuse/ Black Back: 4 Keepers
What a season!!! I have never gambled in a tournament like I did this one. According to my GPS
we ran 62 miles one way to fish. Can you say crazy….but it paid off! We secured the points
champions for the 2009 Arkansas South Season and qualified for the National Championship.
Thanks dad for a great season! I would also like to congratulate Kevin Short for his win at the
Mississippi River Bassmaster Elites Series Tournament! Until next time….