John Crews Leads Day 1 Elite Dardanelle

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Elite Series Dardanelle Day One Leader John Crews photo by Gary Tramontina - B.A.S.S.

Elite Series Dardanelle Day One Leader John Crews photo by Gary Tramontina – B.A.S.S.

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. — “Steady” was the first word John Crews came up with when asked about his first day of competition in the May 15-18 Bassmaster Elite at Lake Dardanelle.

“One good one here, one good one there, and at the end of the day, it was looking really nice,” Crews said.

“Rock steady” is a more accurate description of Crews’ Thursday performance. The pro from Salem, Va., weighed a five-bass limit of 22 pounds, 9 ounces, for a lead of 12 ounces over Greg Hackney.

An Arkansas native who now lives in Gonzales, La., Hackney took second place with 21-13.

Grant Goldbeck of Boerne, Texas, trailed Crews by 2-8. His 20-1 weight earned third place. Keith Combs of Huntington, Texas, fresh off his third victory in the annual Toyota Texas Bass Classic, weighed 19-14 to tie at fourth place with Jason Williamson of Aiken, S.C.

Crews said he weighed three cookie-cutter bass bookended by a 5-3 anchor and his smallest, a 3 3/4-pounder. He worked a string of about a dozen areas along what he described as a “big stretch” of the lake.

“I’m just bouncing around,” he said. At many of his stops, he had the water to himself, a situation he hopes will continue for three more days.

“I don’t think the fishing pressure is going to be too terribly bad,” Crews said.

Crews said he has competed on Dardanelle just twice before, in the 2007 and 2009 Elite events. The results were 1) “so-so” and 2) “terrible,” he said. This time around he figured something out within the first hour of competition.

“I’d been fishing one way most of the morning. Then I changed baits and caught a 4 1/2 or 5, and I saw what it was on (cover), so that clued me in a little bit into what I should be doing,” he said.

He credited some of his success not to lessons learned, but to the lake itself.

“It’s gotten to be much better since 2009,” he said. “There’s more shoreline grass. Anytime you get that, it’s going to be good for the fishery.”

Hackney suffered through a few lean hours before his bite turned on.

“I really thought this morning that I must be rotating behind somebody, because the fish had been biting really good (in practice). Those first couple of hours, I was a little tense,” he said.

But a 4-pounder at about 9:30 a.m. eased his mind. By 11:30 a.m. he had a limit. One small clue helped him.

“They were relating just a hair differently to the cover than they had been,” he said. “I fished slow and steady, and it came together. It got better as the day progressed, but not as wide open as far as numbers as it was in practice.”

The stakes are high at Dardanelle, the fifth of eight events in the 2014 Elite season featuring the full field. A win is worth $100,000 and an entry in the 2015 Bassmaster Classic. Besides going for the first prize, each of the 107 Elite pros competing at Dardanelle is trying to rack up points, valuable in two ways by season’s end: 1) The 29 pros with the most points will earn a Classic entry; and 2) the pro with the highest points total will be crowned Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year.

The largest bass of the day, a 6-5, was caught by South Carolina’s Andy Montgomery, who ended the day in seventh place. The 6-5 got the race started in the event’s Carhartt Big Bass competition, which is worth up to $1,500.

The full field of 107 will return to the water Friday. Then the field will be pared down to 50 for Saturday’s round. The Top 12 will compete Sunday.

Fans can track the competition by going to Bassmaster.com or by downloading the new Bassmaster News app on their smartphone. All are invited to Dardanelle State Park in Russellville to watch the takeoffs and weigh-ins. The pros will leave the docks at 6:15 a.m. CT and return to the park for the weigh-ins at 3:15 p.m. CT.

The Bassmaster Elite Series Expo, which will be open Saturday and Sunday, will feature the Berkley Bass Tank and many other exhibits and products. Beginning on Friday at the takeoff site, fans can sign up for free demo rides provided by Nitro, Triton, Mercury, Skeeter and Yamaha.

There’s no charge for any Bassmaster event.

The local host organization is the Russellville Advertising and Promotion Commission.

The Bassmasters TV show on ESPN2 will feature the Dardanelle event on June 1 from 8 to 9 a.m. ET.

2014 Bassmaster Elite Series Official Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha

2014 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Booyah, Carhartt, Diet Mountain Dew, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Plano, Power-Pole, Rigid Industries, Shimano

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series presented by Allstate, B.A.S.S. Nation events, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series, Bassmaster High School Series, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro.

2014 Bassmaster Elite at Lake Dardanelle 5/15-5/18
Lake Dardanelle, Russellville  AR.
Standings Day 1

Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts

1.  John Crews             Salem, VA                5  22-09  100
Day 1: 5   22-09
2.  Greg Hackney           Gonzales, LA             5  21-13   99
Day 1: 5   21-13
3.  Grant Goldbeck         Boerne, TX               5  20-01   98
Day 1: 5   20-01
4.  Keith Combs            Huntington, TX           5  19-14   97
Day 1: 5   19-14
4.  Jason Williamson       Aiken, SC                5  19-14   97
Day 1: 5   19-14
6.  Keith Poche            Pike Road, AL            5  19-09   95
Day 1: 5   19-09
7.  Andy Montgomery        Blacksburg, SC           5  19-07   94
Day 1: 5   19-07
8.  James Niggemeyer       Van, TX                  5  19-00   93
Day 1: 5   19-00
9.  Gerald Swindle         Warrior, AL              5  18-12   92
Day 1: 5   18-12
10. Boo Woods              Oneida, KY               5  18-08   91
Day 1: 5   18-08
11. Rick Clunn             Ava, MO                  5  18-05   90
Day 1: 5   18-05
12. Chad Morgenthaler      Coulterville, IL         5  18-02   89
Day 1: 5   18-02
13. Scott Ashmore          Broken Arrow, OK         5  17-11   88
Day 1: 5   17-11
14. Chris Zaldain          San Jose, CA             5  17-09   87
Day 1: 5   17-09
15. Matt Herren            Trussville, AL           5  17-08   86
Day 1: 5   17-08
16. David Walker           Sevierville, TN          5  17-07   85
Day 1: 5   17-07
17. Joel Baker             Talala, OK               5  17-04   84
Day 1: 5   17-04
17. Bradley Roy            Lancaster, KY            5  17-04   84
Day 1: 5   17-04
19. Pete Ponds             Madison, MS              5  17-01   82
Day 1: 5   17-01
20. Justin Lucas           Guntersville, AL         5  16-15   81
Day 1: 5   16-15
21. Skeet Reese            Auburn, CA               5  16-14   80
Day 1: 5   16-14
22. Stephen Browning       Hot Springs, AR          5  16-13   79
Day 1: 5   16-13
23. Edwin Evers            Talala, OK               5  16-12   78
Day 1: 5   16-12
24. Randy Howell           Springville, AL          5  16-10   77
Day 1: 5   16-10
25. Casey Scanlon          Lanexa, KS               5  16-08   76
Day 1: 5   16-08
26. Jason Christie         Park Hill, OK            5  16-07   75
Day 1: 5   16-07
27. Jeremy Starks          Scott Depot, WV          5  16-04   74
Day 1: 5   16-04
28. Casey Ashley           Donalds, SC              5  16-03   73
Day 1: 5   16-03
29. Kurt Dove              Del Rio, TX              5  16-01   72
Day 1: 5   16-01
30. Tracy Adams            Wilkesboro, NC           5  16-00   71
Day 1: 5   16-00
30. Billy McCaghren        Mayflower, AR            5  16-00   71
Day 1: 5   16-00
30. Takahiro Omori         Emory, TX                5  16-00   71
Day 1: 5   16-00
33. John Murray            Phoenix, AZ              5  15-15   68
Day 1: 5   15-15
33. Bernie Schultz         Gainesville, FL          5  15-15   68
Day 1: 5   15-15
35. Brandon Card           Caryville, TN            5  15-13   66
Day 1: 5   15-13
35. Britt Myers            Lake Wylie, SC           5  15-13   66
Day 1: 5   15-13
37. Tommy Biffle           Wagoner, OK              5  15-12   64
Day 1: 5   15-12
38. James Elam             Tulsa, OK                5  15-11   63
Day 1: 5   15-11
39. Terry Scroggins        San Mateo, FL            5  15-10   62
Day 1: 5   15-10
40. Fred Roumbanis         Bixby, OK                5  15-08   61
Day 1: 5   15-08
40. Fletcher Shryock       New Philadelphia, OH     5  15-08   61
Day 1: 5   15-08
42. Hank Cherry Jr         Maiden, NC               5  15-07   59
Day 1: 5   15-07
43. Kevin Hawk             Guntersville, AL         5  15-06   58
Day 1: 5   15-06
43. Rick Morris            Lake Gaston, VA          5  15-06   58
Day 1: 5   15-06
45. Marty Robinson         Lyman, SC                5  15-05   56
Day 1: 5   15-05
46. Todd Faircloth         Jasper, TX               5  15-03   55
Day 1: 5   15-03
46. Jamie Horton           Centerville, AL          5  15-03   55
Day 1: 5   15-03
48. Brett Hite             Phoenix, AZ              5  15-00   53
Day 1: 5   15-00
48. Jacob Powroznik        Port Haywood, VA         5  15-00   53
Day 1: 5   15-00
50. Tim Horton             Muscle Shoals, AL        5  14-14   51
Day 1: 5   14-14
50. Brandon Palaniuk       Hayden, ID               5  14-14   51
Day 1: 5   14-14
52. Nate Wellman           Newaygo, MI              5  14-13   49
Day 1: 5   14-13
53. Dean Rojas             Lake Havasu City, AZ     5  14-12   48
Day 1: 5   14-12
54. Paul Elias             Laurel, MS               5  14-09   47
Day 1: 5   14-09
55. Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL              5  14-03   46
Day 1: 5   14-03
55. Morizo Shimizu         Osaka JAPAN              5  14-03   46
Day 1: 5   14-03
57. Chad Pipkens           Holt, MI                 5  14-02   44
Day 1: 5   14-02
58. David Mullins          Mt Carmel, TN            5  14-01   43
Day 1: 5   14-01
59. Charlie Hartley        Grove City, OH           5  14-00   42
Day 1: 5   14-00
59. Kelley Jaye            Dadeville, AL            5  14-00   42
Day 1: 5   14-00
59. Kelly Jordon           Palestine, TX            5  14-00   42
Day 1: 5   14-00
62. Aaron Martens          Leeds, AL                5  13-15   39
Day 1: 5   13-15
62. Kevin Short            Mayflower, AR            5  13-15   39
Day 1: 5   13-15
64. Mark Davis             Mount Ida, AR            5  13-13   37
Day 1: 5   13-13
64. Steve Kennedy          Auburn, AL               5  13-13   37
Day 1: 5   13-13
66. Gary Klein             Weatherford, TX          5  13-12   35
Day 1: 5   13-12
67. Jonathon VanDam        Kalamazoo, MI            5  13-07   34
Day 1: 5   13-07
68. Davy Hite              Ninety Six, SC           5  13-06   33
Day 1: 5   13-06
69. Jared Lintner          Arroyo Grande, CA        5  13-05   32
Day 1: 5   13-05
70. Cliff Crochet          Pierre Part, LA          5  13-04   31
Day 1: 5   13-04
71. Russ Lane              Prattville, AL           5  13-03   30
Day 1: 5   13-03
72. Scott Rook             Little Rock, AR          5  13-02   29
Day 1: 5   13-02
73. Brandon Lester         Fayetteville, TN         5  13-01   28
Day 1: 5   13-01
74. Josh Bertrand          Gilbert, AZ              5  12-14   27
Day 1: 5   12-14
74. Michael Simonton       Fremont, OH              5  12-14   27
Day 1: 5   12-14
76. Kotaro Kiriyama        Moody, AL                5  12-13   25
Day 1: 5   12-13
76. Derek Remitz           Grant, AL                5  12-13   25
Day 1: 5   12-13
76. J Todd Tucker          Moultrie, GA             5  12-13   25
Day 1: 5   12-13
79. Ish Monroe             Hughson, CA              5  12-10   22
Day 1: 5   12-10
80. Michael Iaconelli      Pitts Grove, NJ          5  12-09   21
Day 1: 5   12-09
80. Jared Miller           Norman, OK               5  12-09   21
Day 1: 5   12-09
82. Ott DeFoe              Knoxville, TN            5  12-05   19
Day 1: 5   12-05
83. Glenn Browne           Ocala, FL                5  12-01   18
Day 1: 5   12-01
83. Brian Snowden          Reeds Spring, MO         5  12-01   18
Day 1: 5   12-01
85. Dennis Tietje          Roanoke, LA              5  11-15   16
Day 1: 5   11-15
86. Boyd Duckett           Guntersville, AL         5  11-14   15
Day 1: 5   11-14
87. Zell Rowland           Montgomery, TX           5  11-12   14
Day 1: 5   11-12
88. Matt Reed              Madisonville, TX         5  11-10   13
Day 1: 5   11-10
89. Yusuke Miyazaki        Forney, TX               5  11-07   12
Day 1: 5   11-07
90. Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN           5  11-04   11
Day 1: 5   11-04
90. Mike McClelland        Bella Vista, AR          5  11-04   11
Day 1: 5   11-04
90. Randall Tharp          Port Saint Joe, FL       5  11-04   11
Day 1: 5   11-04
93. Shaw Grigsby Jr.       Gainesville, FL          5  11-03    8
Day 1: 5   11-03
94. Kevin VanDam           Kalamazoo, MI            5  11-01    7
Day 1: 5   11-01
95. Byron Velvick          Boenre, TX               5  10-09    6
Day 1: 5   10-09
96. Trevor Romans          Plano, TX                5  10-02    5
Day 1: 5   10-02
97. Jeff Kriet             Ardmore, OK              4  09-15    4
Day 1: 4   09-15
98. Greg Vinson            Wetumpka, AL             5  09-14    3
Day 1: 5   09-14
99. David Smith            Del City, OK             5  09-13    2
Day 1: 5   09-13
100. Kenyon Hill            Norman, OK               5  09-11    1
Day 1: 5   09-11
101. Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ               5  09-10    0
Day 1: 5   09-10
102. Alton Jones            Lorena, TX               5  09-06    0
Day 1: 5   09-06
103. Brent Chapman          Lake Quivira, KS         5  08-14    0
Day 1: 5   08-14
104. Chris Lane             Guntersville, AL         3  08-09    0
Day 1: 3   08-09
105. Joseph Sancho          New Windsor, NY          2  06-06    0
Day 1: 2   06-06
106. Bobby Lane             Lakeland, FL             2  03-07    0
Day 1: 2   03-07
107. Mike Kernan            Wylie, TX                1  02-03    0
Day 1: 1   02-03
———————————————————————–
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1       102       522      1530-06
———————————-
102       522      1530-06