Tournament #4 – Ouachita River
One of the most intriguing questions in tournament bass fishing has always been, “I wonder how the anglers would fish (insert the name of your favorite body of water here) in less than favorable, almost brutal conditions?” That question and many others will be answered in short order now that we are in the homestretch of the Ark-La Team Tournament Trail. What many anglers expect to be the most challenging of all the events will take place on May 27th when the forty-nine teams take to the waters for the Ouachita River Challenge, sponsored by Ludwig Marine, with the launch and weigh-ins based out of Lazarre Park in West Monroe.
Finding enough fishing water will not be an issue as the Ouachita River tournament waters stretch almost 100 miles from the Columbia Lock and Dam to the Felsenthal Locks on the Louisiana/Arkansas border. Based on several local events before this fourth stop of the Ark-La trail, the issue isn’t necessarily catching fish, the issue has been a severe lack of quality fish. In a local Big Bass event sponsored by the Honey Hole held two weeks prior, a three-pound fish was the largest fish weighed in. A Media Bass team event held the week before that, was won with 10 lbs. and big bass was also a three pounder. The Media Singles event held the following day was won with four fish weighing six pounds. To say the fishing has been tough is an understatement.
Much of the talk before the Sunday night off-limits cut off, has been about the Ouachita River, and why it is fishing so tough. Many anglers have attributed the fisheries struggles to the odd level the river has been lingering at for a good period of time now. Other’s feel like the river hasn’t fully recovered from the draw down of a few years ago by the Corps of Engineers so the Columbia Lock and Dam could be worked on. Opinions are many and quality fish are few, this promises to be an interesting tournament.
One of the side stories for this event, which promises to be difficult will be the impact it will have on the Angler of the Year race. No one has run away with the title so far and a low weight event could really change the standings at the end of the day. No matter the standings, the water levels, the fishery or the time of year, one team will figure out how to catch enough bass to take home the $5000 first place prize!
After the conclusion of the Ouachita River tournament, the 2023 Ark-La Team trail will have the trail finale at Felsenthal-Ouachita River, with the championship qualifiers battling it out on Lake Darbonne in mid-October. We are rounding the final turn; how this season ends will be anyone’s guess!
You can follow the Ark-La team trail on our website at www.arklateamtrail.com or on Facebook. See you on the water!!!!