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Cold Front Can’t Cool Action on Arkansas River

The Simmons Bank Big Bass Bonanza rolls on as anglers compete for $100,000 in prizes.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (October 12, 2019) — Hundreds of anglers traded tee shirts for hoodies and jackets this weekend, as a cold front dropped morning temperatures across Arkansas into the 50’s. The change was a stark contrast from the start of competition on Friday, which still held summer-like conditions for Dumas angler Glenn Neal, who landed a 6.15 pound bass in the early hours of the 2019 Simmons Bank Big Bass Bonanza.

That fish was heavy enough to put Neal in first place for the $50,000 grand prize for biggest bass weighed during the three day event, which continues on Sunday. But despite fears that fishing would slow under the bite of brisk temperatures, tournament anglers are still boating big bass. By the end of competition on Saturday, Neal’s lead from Dumas had been supplanted by Mike Rhinehart, who brought in a 6.22 pound bass out of Lake Dardanelle.

Now, Rhineheart will sweat out the final day of competition on Sunday with a narrow lead that could fall at any moment.

Mike Rhinehart

As Day Three of the Simmons Bank Big Bass Bonanza approaches, the leaderboard looks like this.

Pool 2/Lake Dardanelle — Mike Rhineheart, 6.22 lbs.
Pool 5/Dumas— Glenn Neal, 6.15 lbs.
Pool 4/Pine Bluff— Kelly Glover, 5.28 lbs
Pool 3/Little Rock — Jordan Johnson, 5.19 lbs.
Pool 1/Fort Smith — Dennis Rogers, 5.14 lbs.

The Willow Leaf Award of $1,000 will be presented to the parent/child or grandparent/grandchild pair weighing the biggest fish during the three days. John Whitman is currently leading that competition with a 5.41 pound bass out of Lake Dardanelle.

In youth competition, Chad Gill leads the 6th to 18th grade division with a 2.24 pound bass from Dumas; while Carson Arrington leads the grades 9 through 12 bracket with a 4.04 pound bass from Dumas.

Temperatures are expected to reach the low 70’s at tomorrow’s Simmons Bank Big Bass Bonanza finale. Pool winners will each receive $10,000 cash, while the overall winner will take home $50,000.

The Simmons Bank Big Bass Bonanza spans more than 300 miles of eligible fishing waters on the river inside the state’s borders. The event is divided into five pools, and tournament action will resume at 6 a.m. Saturday morning with the final weigh-in being held Sunday at 1 p.m. Fishermen can still register at any weigh-in location Saturday and Sunday. The grand prize and other cash awards will be presented during Sunday’s award event at the Rock City Yacht Club, which will begin at 4 p.m. at 1726 East 2nd Street in Little Rock.

The five weigh-in sites are: Pool 1 – Clear Creek Park, Fort Smith; Pool 2 – Dardanelle State Park/Russellville side; Pool 3 – Rock City Yacht Club/Little Rock; Pool 4 – Regional Park/ Pine Bluff; and Pool 5 – Pendleton Bridge/east of Dumas.

Major sponsors of the tournament are Simmons Bank, Arkansas Game & Fish Commission and Hardee’s Saddle Peak and Rock City Yacht Club. Other sponsors include Aqua-Vu, Raymarine, St. Croix Rod, Gill, Fish Monkey, Z-Man Fishing, LIVETARGET Lures, Flambeau Outdoors, FishBomb, Sunsect, Heart of Arkansas, North Little Rock Visitors Bureau, Pine Bluff Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Russellville Advertising & Promotions.

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