RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (May 16) — A fast start to this weekend’s Bassmaster Elite event on Lake Dardanelle placed Cabela’s/GEICO For Your Boat pro David Walker in the 19th position in the 107-angler field, more than enough to make the first cut at the prestigious tournament.
Walker caught a five-fish limit weighing 17 pounds, 7 ounces Thursday and added another five fish weighing 12 pounds, 15 ounces on a fog-shortened Friday to punch his ticket to the weekend.
“We came out Thursday and I caught a four-and-a-half-pounder on the first cast and I thought, ‘Boy, this is how you want to start a fishing tournament,’ ” Walker said. “I caught another solid one soon after that and within an hour and a half I had 14-15 pounds in the live well. That really calms you down and lets you fish better and cleaner. It also allows you to try some stuff because you feel safer.”
After crossing the scales Thursday, Walker was in 16th place on the leaderboard, giving him some breathing room for Day 2. But a two-and-a-half-hour delay Friday due to morning fog ramped up the anxiety levels.
“Today was the complete opposite of Thursday,” Walker said. “We got out there and there were just no bites at all and lots of boats around. We didn’t get started until mid-morning and I was sitting there thinking that by this time yesterday I was culling three-pounders. Plus, I knew it got worse as the day went along yesterday, so it was a nervous time and it just got slick and quiet. It was all stacked against me, but I knew there was enough fish here to be able to grind it out. I just had to stay calm.”
A change of location proved to be the remedy.
“I got away from that group I was in and ran 15 miles up the river and caught one right away,” he said. “Not a big one but it was decent and that made me feel better. I just stayed in that area until time ran out, which wasn’t very long. I ended up catching seven fish, and the good news is I had enough yesterday to carry us into the weekend.”
Only the top 50 anglers make the first cut to fish again Saturday, and only the top 12 advance to Sunday’s finale.
“I need to work on a plan,” Walker said. “Right now I’m just not sure.”
Cabela’s/GEICO For Your Boat angler David Walker enjoyed a fast start to this weekend’s Bassmaster Elite event on Lake Dardanelle and advanced to Saturday in the 19th position.