Ebare Enjoys the Power of Prayer

Vance McCullough


Skeptics need visual proof. Believers rely on faith as evidence of the unseen. Dakota Ebare used both elements to mount a charge on Day 2 of the 2019 FLW Cup as he flirted with the 15-pound mark and ran his total weight to 24-7.

Fishing upriver, Ebare is seeing many of his fish. Low light conditions didn’t hinder him. “I used my Costas in the Sunrise Silver lens color and was able to see well.” The Louisiana pro relied on Costa’s low light specialty color lenses to pluck two bass from spawning beds. In August. In Arkansas. Under clouds and rain.

As water is drained from Lake Ouachita it flows into the upper end of Lake Hamilton where it cools the surface temps to the high 50’s. A little further downstream the water is the perfect temperature for spawning to take place.

Ebare is not the only pro to have noticed the phenomenon. Brad Knight told us yesterday that he caught a pair of spawning bass up the river as well.

Polarized shades helped Ebare preserve his fish in practice. “I could go down through those stretches in practice and not have to bother any of those fish. I didn’t have to fish for them. I could just drift down the bank. And see them.” Fish management has been among the biggest concerns even long before competition began yesterday. Tour pros normally practice for 3 days and compete for 4. This week they covered every corner of 7,500-acre Lake Hamilton under 95-degree heat for 4 days in preparation for the 3-day tournament.

The upper river has hosted a few of the sport’s top pros this week. Treading lightly during practice is paying dividends for Ebare and Scott Martin who is sharing space on the water and on the leaderboard with the young pro. Both anglers are in the Top 5.

Ebare also caught some fish, including a 4-lb kicker by blind casting. His marshal relied on blind faith to invoke some Divine intervention. “I’m serious,” smiled Ebare. “He prayed ‘Lord, please just let him catch a 4-pounder’. And right after that, I made a long cast and caught that 4-pound fish!”

Ebare (3 pounds, 3 ounces off the lead) admits he has a tall task cut out for him if he plans to take the Cup on the final day. But it’s an opportunity he looks forward to. “It would be a proud accomplishment. Bryan Thrift – he’s a bad man – one of the best guys on the planet right now. I like the challenge.”

“It’s just about getting the right bites. Those fish are still there. There’s plenty of them there.”

Martin is fishing differently than Ebare which helps both anglers as they split up what might have been the winning pile of fish; may very well still be.

Thrift is running, and ‘running’ is the right word, a different program on the lower-to-mid-lake area, mostly hitting brush with a handful of techniques. He has a pound-and-half lead over Kyle Walters who landed a double on a crankbait today and each fish was a difference-maker.

“The trick was I kept grinding and had an epic moment. I was able to catch 2 on a crankbait,” said Walters. “Went 20 yards from there and caught 2 on a worm. If something magical like that happens tomorrow . . .”

Walters is committed to the plan that has gotten him this far. “I’m not going in (shallow). I’m going to lose it staying out. Dance with who brung ya.”