Round 2 Battle Set For Arkansas


Round Two of the 2011 Arkansas Division 12 of the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series, operated by American Bass Anglers, season occurs April 2 on Lake Hamilton near Hot Springs.

The anglers run out of the Fish Hatchery marina, located at 350 Fish Hatchery Road in Hot Springs. Registration begins at 4 p.m. April 1. Anglers fishing the Boater Division may keep up to five bass per day. Co-anglers may keep up to three bass per day.

One of three reservoirs created on the Ouachita River near Hot Springs, Lake Hamilton covers about 7,200 acres. The lake drops to more than 100 feet in places. Numerous islands and points provide excellent places to target largemouth bass.

?All the lakes around Hot Springs are good for largemouth bass,? said Stuart Wooldridge, an Arkansas Game and Fish Commission district fisheries biologist. ?People might not catch a lot of 12-pounders, but they do catch a lot of fish in the 3- to 5-pound range. Lake Hamilton has many largemouth bass in the 11- to 14-inch range with some in the 8- to 10-pound range. Occasionally, it produces an 11-pounder.?

Created in 1932 by the Arkansas Power and Light Company for electricity generation, Lake Hamilton remains one of the most easily accessible lakes in Arkansas. Arkansas Highway 7, a national scenic byway, crosses Lake Hamilton on the southern edge of Hot Springs, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Natural State and home to Hot Springs National Park.

Numerous condominiums, resorts, motels, restaurants and private homes ring the lake. Of course, with all that human structure comes human activity in form of jet skis, sailboats, pleasure cruisers and even World War II amphibious landing craft filled with camera-clicking tourists.

Virtually encompassed by human development, the lake offers bass considerable manmade structure in the form of dock pilings, bulkheads, bridges and similar objects. These dock pilings and bulkheads create excellent bass cover. Target docks with floating worms, crankbaits or spinnerbaits. In the morning, throw topwaters and 1/4-ounce buzzbaits.

George Cochran, a two-time Bassmaster Classic champion, lived on Lake Hamilton for years. In 2005, he won a major tournament almost in his backyard. Early in the morning, he threw topwater baits around docks, bulkheads and pockets on deep banks. He caught his largest bass, a 3-pounder, on a buzzbait. Later in the day, he threw wacky worms and other plastics.

?During the day in that tournament, I skipped wacky worms under the docks with a spinning rod,? Cochran said. ?The key was getting the worm under the dock in the shade. If a bass was under the dock, it wouldn?t take two seconds before it grabbed the worm. Bass might suspend about a foot deep, but I was catching fish off deep docks in 10 to 12 feet of water. When schools of shad swam by the docks, bass would dart out and hit them.?

For more information on this tournament, call Porter Trimble at (318) 201-3474 or ABA at (888) 203-6222. On line, see

For a list of other upcoming tournaments, click here.

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