Gary Hensley of Conway narrowly leads the field of anglers with a 5.94 pound bass he caught in the Dardanelle pool.  Hensley caught the fish in the 9 a.m. hour to take the overall lead on the first day of the three-day tournament.

Leaders in the other four pools are:

Craig Flowers of Midland (5.22) – Fort Smith pool
Brit Lequick of Alvord (4.51) – Little Rock pool
Kelly Glover of Damascus (5.19) – Pine Bluff pool
Les Irons of McGehee (5.93) – Dumas pool

This year’s tournament will pay out $100,000 in prize money guaranteed. The top fish wins the guaranteed $50,000 as well as paid spot at the upcoming 2012 Bassmaster Open. Each of the other four pool leaders will win a guaranteed $10,000 for catching the largest fish in each of the other pools during the tournament.  Additional prize money is awarded for the top-three catches each hour in each pool, and 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. The amount of hourly prizes will be determined by the number of participants for the three days. New this year, the pool leaders from today will be awarded with a family pack to the 2012 Arkansas State Fair.

The annual tournament is the result of a thirteen year partnership with the Arkansas Hospitality Association and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. The tournament 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 ceremony, which will begin at 4 p.m at the Downtown Riverside RV Park in downtown North Little Rock.

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

For more information on the tournament and complete results, visit