By BassFan Staff

It's been almost a dozen years since Mark Davis claimed the last of his five tour-level victories. He'll go into the final day at the Lake Dardanelle Bassmaster Elite Series in his home state of Arkansas with a slim lead over a tightly packed Top 12, but he didn't anticipate having any trouble nodding off on Sunday night.

"I think I'll sleep well," he said. "The long and the short of it is, with the way this lake's fishing, I've just got to stick to my guns. I know where I'm going, I know what I'm going to do, and I've just got to get the right bites to win.

"If it's meant to happen, it'll happen, and if it isn't, then it won't. It's not like I can run around and find new fish and it's not like I've got something saved. I don't want to say that it's hum-drum, but it'll be more of the same."

He maintained the lead he captured on day 2 by catching a 14-15 stringer that pushed his 3-day total to 48-08. Has a 9-ounce advantage over rookie Jamie Hartman, who boxed 16-06 for a 47-15 average.

Steve Kennedy weighed a sack that was equal to Hartman's and gained one spot to 3rd with 47-03. From there, it was a drop of about a pound and a half down to Mike Iaconelli and Dean Rojas, who shared 4th with 45-13. Iaconelli caught a day-best 18-14 on day 3 and Rojas brought 15 pounds even to the scale.

Here's a look at the weights for the 12 competitors who advanced to the final day, with their red numbers in parentheses indicating their deficit margins from the leader:

1. Mark Davis: 48-08
2. Jamie Hartman: 47-15 (0-09)
3. Steve Kennedy: 47-03 (1-05)
4. (tie) Mike Iaconelli: 45-13 (2-11)
4. (tie) Dean Rojas: 45-13 (1-11)
6. David Mullins: 44-14 (3-10)
7. Kevin VanDam: 43-11 (4-13)
8. Brandon Palaniuk: 43-02 (5-06)
9. Mark Menendez: 42-12 (5-12)
10. (tie) Cliff Pace: 42-08 (6-00)
10. (tie) Cliff Prince: 42-08 (6-00)
12. Matt Lee: 42-06 (6-02)

There was little movement among the Top 12 on day 3. Iaconelli made the biggest climb (19 places) to get in, and he was joined by 2009 Daradanelle winner Menendez (up 10 positions with a 15-05 bag) and Cliff Pace (up three spots with a 13-12 haul). Falling out were Rick Clunn (6 to 18th, 10-04), Stetson Blaylock (8th to 21st, 10-02) and Ott DeFoe (11th to 15th, 12-13). As a consolation prize, DeFoe has regained the top spot in the Angler of the Year (AOY) race that he held earlier in the season before surrendering it to Jason Christie.



B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito
Photo: B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

Jamie Hartman is somewhat surprised that his lone area continues to surrender quality fish.

Clunn incurred a 2-pound penalty after self-reporting that he had six fish (one over the limit) in his livewell at one point in the day. Even without the penalty, he'd have missed qualifying for the final day by an ounce.

Weather-wise, day 4 is expected to be much like the one that preceded it dark and rainy at times with a light breeze. The air temperature will top out around 81 degrees.

Decent Day for Davis

> Day 3: 5, 14-15 (15, 48-08)

Davis, whose most recent win came in an Elite 50 at Alabama's Smith Lake in 2005, didn't encounter the same type of quality he connected with on day 2, when he took a tournament-best 19-04 to the scale.

"It was a decent day," he said. "I caught a lot of fish, but I never caught a real good one. I'll have to have a good day tomorrow, probably 16 or 17 pounds, or maybe more because you never know with this (Elite) bunch.

"It's playing out exactly the way I though it would. From the beginning I said it would take 16 pounds a day and 16 times 3 is 48, which is what I've got. I might not win if I catch 16 tomorrow, but I'll scare the heck out of them."

He continued to mix bank-beating in the morning followed by offshore work from mid-day on. The shallow program was more productive on day 3 he said the lack of sun put a damper on his deeper action.

He boated between 15 and 20 keepers, none of which weighed much more than 3 pounds.

"I lost one that might've made a little bit of a difference, but I didn't lose any of the better ones."

2nd: Hartman's Area Holding Up

> Day 3: 5, 16-06 (15, 47-15)

Hartman, who's already logged a pair of Top-3 finishes in his maiden season, keeps moving up the leaderboard he's gone from 5th to 3rd to 2nd on successive days as his offshore area continues to produce.

"I'm surprised it's holding up, but it is," he said. "I guess it's replenishing. I've got another guy kind of sharing it with me and he's picking off a few here and there, and he'll be there again tomorrow.

"I'll definitely take another day like today, and I'll see where I end up."

B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito
Photo: B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

Steve Kennedy weighed a strong bag despite losing a handful of bites.

He caught only six keepers and didn't lose any. His biggest specimen, which was just a couple of ounces shy of 5 pounds, bit in the afternoon.

"Today I caught them real good on a topwater I'm trying to let the conditions tell me what to do, and today they told me to throw a topwater and it worked. I hope the conditions stay like they were today. If we get sunshine, it'll probably be back to a bite every 2 hours."

3rd: Strange Day for Kennedy

> Day 3: 5, 16-06 (15, 47-03)

Kennedy had four decent fish within about half an hour of shutting his big motor down, and then went several hours without catching another keeper. When his fish finally started biting again, he missed five in a row.

He eventually caught one of the fish he'd missed previously one of two in his bag that pushed 4 pounds to round out his stringer. He pulled out of his primary area at 11:15.

"It was slower than yesterday and slower than the first day," he said. "After I caught that last big one, I still had one that was about 2 1/2 pounds, but I didn't think I could help myself anymore without hurting myself (for day 4).

"I wouldn't be disappointed if I caught 14 pounds tomorrow and if I get 16 to 17, I'd say I have a pretty good chance (to win)."

His final fish was one he'd missed on a frog. On his next pass around the backwater pond, he flipped a 3/4-ounce jig to it and got it to bite again.

"The line jumped, the tree it was sitting next to jumped and I jumped," he said. "It was one of those awesome moments."

4th: Ike Adjusted Nicely

> Day 3: 5, 18-14 (15, 47-03)

Iaconelli said he fished differently on day 3 than he had on either of the 2 previous days and anticipates having to make more adjustments in the final round.

"I'm 90 percent sure that how I caught them today will work a little bit tomorrow or not work at all," he said."

He'd been averaging six to eight keepers per day, but boated about 20 on day 3. His bag was topped by a 4-11 and he had another 4-pounder.

"Late yesterday I caught a 3 1/2-pounder doing something different and that clued me in on the potential of this thing. Today I caught two early before it slowed down, and then I ran and tried it again and caught another 3 1/2. It happened early enough that I was able to really expand on it.

"The key for me is following the movements of the fish. Not only is the water doing different things (the level began to rise again on day 3 after 2 days of recession), but the other thing is the fish are on their migration to their summer mode. That's part of it, too."

B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito
Photo: B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

Mike Iaconelli's 18-14 stringer was the best of day 3.

He's thrilled that he'll post a high finish before the circuit takes a 7-week hiatus.

"It's been a weird year for me. I've had two bombs, and it's nice to have a good event like this before the break to maybe pick up a little momentum."

4th: Rojas Has a Shot

> Day 3: 5, 15-00 (15, 45-13)

Rojas' stringer was a pound heavier than his previous day's bag, but it gained him no ground in the standings.

"I still think I've got a shot, being 2-12 out," he said. "I need to have a big bag tomorrow, but if I come in with 18 I could win it.

"It can happen. The conditions are changing, so we'll see what happens tomorrow."

He went through eight keepers, including one that weighed nearly 5 pounds. That was his second fish and it bit his SPRO BronzEye Frog before the day was an hour old. He lost a couple that might've gained him a few ounces.

"I think what I'm doing is conducive to whatever conditions we get tomorrow. The frog has been real good the last 3 days they bit it when the water was high and they bit it when it was low. Either way, it should be good.

"I've also been doing a little flipping and I'll probably do some tomorrow. It's on my radar, anyway."

Notable

> Day 3 stats 51 anglers, 43 limits, 4 fours, 3 threes, 1 two.

Weather Forecast

> Mon., June 5 Thunderstorms 81/65
- Wind: From the NNE at 7 mph

Day 3 Standings

1. Mark Davis -- Mount Ida, AR -- 15, 48-08 -- 110 -- $500
Day 1: 5, 14-05 -- Day 2: 5, 19-04 -- Day 3: 5, 14-15

2. Jamie Hartman -- Newport, NY -- 15, 47-15 -- 109
Day 1: 5, 17-05 -- Day 2: 5, 14-04 -- Day 3: 5, 16-06

3. Steve Kennedy -- Auburn, AL -- 15, 47-03 -- 108
Day 1: 5, 16-10 -- Day 2: 5, 14-03 -- Day 3: 5, 16-06

4. Michael Iaconelli -- Pitts Grove, NJ -- 15, 45-13 -- 107
Day 1: 5, 12-05 -- Day 2: 5, 14-10 -- Day 3: 5, 18-14

5. Dean Rojas -- Lake Havasu City, AZ -- 15, 45-13 -- 106
Day 1: 5, 16-12 -- Day 2: 5, 14-01 -- Day 3: 5, 15-00

6. David Mullins -- Mt Carmel, TN -- 15, 44-14 -- 105
Day 1: 5, 17-02 -- Day 2: 5, 11-15 -- Day 3: 5, 15-13

7. Kevin VanDam -- Kalamazoo, MI -- 15, 43-11 -- 104
Day 1: 5, 19-03 -- Day 2: 5, 12-08 -- Day 3: 5, 12-00

8. Brandon Palaniuk -- Hayden, ID -- 15, 43-02 -- 103
Day 1: 5, 13-14 -- Day 2: 5, 15-01 -- Day 3: 5, 14-03

9. Mark Menendez -- Paducah, KY -- 15, 42-12 -- 102
Day 1: 5, 12-05 -- Day 2: 5, 15-02 -- Day 3: 5, 15-05

10. Cliff Pace -- Petal, MS -- 15, 42-08 -- 101
Day 1: 5, 16-03 -- Day 2: 5, 12-09 -- Day 3: 5, 13-12

11. Cliff Prince -- Palatka, FL -- 15, 42-08 -- 100
Day 1: 5, 15-02 -- Day 2: 5, 14-07 -- Day 3: 5, 12-15

12. Matt Lee -- Guntersville, AL -- 15, 42-06 -- 99
Day 1: 5, 13-09 -- Day 2: 5, 16-08 -- Day 3: 5, 12-05

The following anglers did not make the cut and will not fish on day 4.

13. Casey Ashley -- Donalds, SC -- 15, 42-03 -- 98 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 15-14 -- Day 2: 5, 11-08 -- Day 3: 5, 14-13

14. Greg Hackney -- Gonzales, LA -- 15, 42-01 -- 97 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 12-15 -- Day 2: 5, 14-00 -- Day 3: 5, 15-02

15. Ott DeFoe -- Knoxville, TN -- 15, 41-12 -- 96 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 18-12 -- Day 2: 5, 10-03 -- Day 3: 5, 12-13

16. Edwin Evers -- Talala, OK -- 15, 41-05 -- 95 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 12-01 -- Day 2: 5, 15-06 -- Day 3: 5, 13-14

17. Kelly Jordon -- Flint, TX -- 15, 40-10 -- 94 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 16-00 -- Day 2: 5, 10-14 -- Day 3: 5, 13-12

18. Rick Clunn -- Ava, MO -- 15, 40-05 -- 93 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 15-08 -- Day 2: 5, 14-09 -- Day 3: 5, 10-04

19. Clifford Pirch -- Payson, AZ -- 15, 40-04 -- 92 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 12-10 -- Day 2: 5, 13-08 -- Day 3: 5, 14-02

20. Jacob Wheeler -- Indianapolis, IN -- 15, 40-00 -- 91 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 13-11 -- Day 2: 5, 12-15 -- Day 3: 5, 13-06

21. Stetson Blaylock -- Benton, AR -- 14, 39-15 -- 90 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 16-06 -- Day 2: 4, 13-07 -- Day 3: 5, 10-02

22. Micah Frazier -- Newnan, GA -- 14, 39-13 -- 89 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 14-14 -- Day 2: 5, 11-13 -- Day 3: 4, 13-02

23. Mike McClelland -- Bella Vista, AR -- 14, 38-11 -- 88 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 10-13 -- Day 2: 5, 16-14 -- Day 3: 4, 11-00

24. Skeet Reese -- Auburn, CA -- 14, 38-10 -- 87 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 16-12 -- Day 2: 4, 08-07 -- Day 3: 5, 13-07

25. Randy Howell -- Guntersville, AL -- 15, 38-07 -- 86 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 16-02 -- Day 2: 5, 09-02 -- Day 3: 5, 13-03

26. Bobby Lane Jr. -- Lakeland, FL -- 15, 38-01 -- 85 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 10-01 -- Day 2: 5, 11-15 -- Day 3: 5, 16-01

27. Justin Lucas -- Guntersville, AL -- 14, 37-14 -- 84 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 16-04 -- Day 2: 4, 07-06 -- Day 3: 5, 14-04

28. Mark Daniels Jr. -- Tuskegee, AL -- 15, 37-14 -- 83 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 09-01 -- Day 2: 5, 14-00 -- Day 3: 5, 14-13

29. Terry Scroggins -- San Mateo, FL -- 15, 37-11 -- 82 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 12-11 -- Day 2: 5, 12-05 -- Day 3: 5, 12-11

30. Chris Zaldain -- Laughlin, NV -- 15, 37-06 -- 81 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 08-15 -- Day 2: 5, 17-10 -- Day 3: 5, 10-13

31. Gerald Swindle -- Guntersville, AL -- 15, 37-03 -- 80 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 16-07 -- Day 2: 5, 11-00 -- Day 3: 5, 09-12

32. Shane Lineberger -- Lincolnton, NC -- 13, 36-10 -- 79 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 17-07 -- Day 2: 4, 11-02 -- Day 3: 4, 08-01

33. Tommy Biffle -- Wagoner, OK -- 13, 36-05 -- 78 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 16-09 -- Day 2: 5, 09-10 -- Day 3: 3, 10-02

34. Jordan Lee -- Grant, AL -- 15, 36-00 -- 77 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 11-13 -- Day 2: 5, 09-14 -- Day 3: 5, 14-05

35. Greg Vinson -- Wetumpka, AL -- 15, 35-15 -- 76 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 13-09 -- Day 2: 5, 09-06 -- Day 3: 5, 13-00

36. James Elam -- Tulsa, OK -- 15, 35-14 -- 75 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 11-12 -- Day 2: 5, 13-03 -- Day 3: 5, 10-15

37. Scott Rook -- Little Rock, AR -- 15, 35-14 -- 74 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 12-11 -- Day 2: 5, 12-08 -- Day 3: 5, 10-11

38. Bernie Schultz -- Gainesville, FL -- 14, 35-09 -- 73 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 16-01 -- Day 2: 5, 10-15 -- Day 3: 4, 08-09

39. Jacob Powroznik -- North Prince George, VA 15 -- 35-07 -- 72 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 10-04 -- Day 2: 5, 15-09 -- Day 3: 5, 09-10

40. Alton Jones -- Lorena, TX -- 15, 35-06 -- 71 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 12-00 -- Day 2: 5, 11-07 -- Day 3: 5, 11-15

41. Russ Lane -- Prattville, AL -- 15, 35-05 -- 70 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 13-02 -- Day 2: 5, 12-12 -- Day 3: 5, 09-07

42. Tim Horton -- Muscle Shoals, AL -- 12, 35-04 -- 69 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 18-07 -- Day 2: 2, 04-11 -- Day 3: 5, 12-02

43. David Walker -- Sevierville, TN -- 15, 35-04 -- 68 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 09-07 -- Day 2: 5, 12-05 -- Day 3: 5, 13-08

44. Gary Klein -- Mingus, TX -- 15, 35-02 -- 67 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 13-13 -- Day 2: 5, 10-15 -- Day 3: 5, 10-06

45. Paul Elias -- Laurel, MS -- 15, 34-15 -- 66 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 14-05 -- Day 2: 5, 13-07 -- Day 3: 5, 07-03

46. Morizo Shimizu -- Osaka, Japan -- 15, 34-13 -- 65 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 13-05 -- Day 2: 5, 09-11 -- Day 3: 5, 11-13

47. Brent Chapman -- Lake Quivira, KS -- 15, 33-03 -- 64 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 10-04 -- Day 2: 5, 14-06 -- Day 3: 5, 08-09

48. Jesse Wiggins -- Cullman, AL -- 13, 31-08 -- 63 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 11-08 -- Day 2: 5, 14-13 -- Day 3: 3, 05-03

49. Jeff Kriet -- Ardmore, OK -- 12, 31-04 -- 62 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 11-09 -- Day 2: 5, 15-06 -- Day 3: 2, 04-05

50. Keith Poche -- Pike Road, AL -- 15, 31-04 -- 61 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 11-07 -- Day 2: 5, 11-07 -- Day 3: 5, 08-06

51. Fred Roumbanis -- London, AR -- 12, 30-02 -- 60 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 15-07 -- Day 2: 4, 06-03 -- Day 3: 3, 08-08