There's a new Shuffield in town

Spencer Shuffield takes over the lead after day two at Beaver Lake on the Walmart FLW Tour.

ROGERS, Ark. - It's Beaver Lake Marathon Week on the Walmart FLW Tour, and the angler at the front of the pack is Arkansas pro Spencer Shuffield. The 24-year-old Shuffield (son of veteran pro Ron Shuffield) brought in a day-two limit that weighed 13 pounds, 11 ounces today to boost his two-day total to 29 pounds. He goes into the weekend with only a 1-pound, 1-ounce lead over Andy Morgan, though it seems like Shuffield is hitting the right stride to take home his first Tour title at this event, which is presented by Rayovac and hosted by Visit Rogers. The key to Shuffield's success thus far has been a prespawn pattern that looks like it can produce no matter what conditions Mother Nature throws at the field this week, assuming Shuffield can make the minor adjustments necessary each day to continue catching limits that break into the "teens." That's what he managed to do today. A fist pump is in order with that fish on board. "Today when it was tough I moved around a lot more," Shuffield said. "I was covering more water." The wind - actually, an unwelcomed lack of wind - is what made for the tougher bite throughout the field compared to yesterday, when gusts up to 30 mph had the lake's bass chomping. Today, most of the pros in the top 20, including Shuffield, did their damage early in the morning when they benefitted from overcast skies and a slight breeze that didn't last long. "I caught them quick this morning," Shuffield said. "I knew I was going to have to. Today I hit good stuff, but I can't tell you the number of 2 1/2- to 3-pounders I saw that just wouldn't eat. They didn't have that wind to break up the surface and get them to commit. The wind is what made a big difference." Shuffield's fish are relating to transitional banks, though they're out off the banks in deeper water. Within those areas, he's identified a particular type of rocky bank that produces best and has caught all of his fish on just two lures - he's not revealing them just yet. Today, Shuffield didn't weigh a single smallmouth. Brown bass have been an important part of his game plan since practice began. The fact that he still brought in a strong bag shows the potential of the schools he's located. He believes they'll stay put all weekend, and if he's right and the conditions get right to activate the fish, he'll be tough to beat. One potential change-up the young pro might have to navigate is a movement of bass to the banks. He says he's seen the water temperature climb in his primary areas. If it continues, his fish won't necessarily leave, but someone else at the top of the field could be in the right place to capitalize and jump up the leaderboard. The forecast for the weekend calls for more wind and the potential for storms. If the forecast is right and the gin-clear water of Beaver Lake gets broken up with a solid chop, plus a front slides in, Shuffield believes his pattern should turn back on for the next two days. "It should get better," he said. "It should be game on." Top-five story You can read a full recap of the top five anglers at Beaver Lake here. Rest of the best 2nd place - Andy Morgan - 27 pounds, 15 ounces 3rd place - Matt Arey - 27 pounds, 6 ounces 4th place - Troy Morrow - 26 pounds, 10 ounces 5th place - Micah Frazier - 26 pounds, 5 ounces 6th place - Cody Meyer - 26 pounds, 1 ounce 7th place - Casey Ashley - 25 pounds, 13 ounces 8th place - Bryan Thrift - 25 pounds, 12 ounces 9th place - David Dudley - 25 pounds, 10 ounces 10th place - Mark Rose - 24 pounds, 14 ounces For the full results, click here. "New" leader in the co-angler division Co-angler Bryan New sacked 12-10 on day two putting him in the top spot with a total weight of 18-12. North Carolina co-angler Bryan New was one of the last co-anglers to weigh in on Friday, but he was saving the heaviest co-angler bag of the tournament thus far - a 12-pound, 10-ounce limit - to show off to the Rogers, Ark. crowd. He now has a 1-pound, 6-ounce lead over second-place co-angler Braxton Setzer going into the final day of co-angler competition. "It was just my day," said New, who fished with pro Andrew Upshaw. "Andrew would catch one, and it would just be a keeper. I would catch one, and it would be a 2 1/2-pounder." Three lures duped fish for New today, though his two primary lures are both made by Charlie's Worms. He had most of his fish by 10 a.m. but was able to pick up one final keeper to cull up by a half-pound just 30 minutes before weigh-in. A slight breeze in the morning and again at the very end of the day were credited for his catch. What's at stake this week Pros are competing for a top award of up to $125,000 this week plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing. The top 35 anglers in the point standings from the six events on the 2014 Walmart FLW Tour will qualify. The 2014 Forrest Wood Cup will be in Columbia, S.C., Aug. 14-17 on Lake Murray and is hosted by Capital City Lake Murray Country. Anglers could win as much as $500,000 - professional bass-fishing's richest prize. Big Bass Award Pro: Shawn Murphy - 5 pounds, 15 ounces Co-angler: Nick Loeffelman Jr. - 4 pounds, 15 ounces Walmart FLW Tour event information Takeoff Location: Prairie Creek Park, 9300 North Park Road, Rogers, Ark. Time: 7 a.m. Weigh-in Saturday and Sunday: John Q. Hammons Center, 3303 Pinnacle Hills Parkway, Rogers, Ark. Time: 4 p.m. FLW Expo Date: Saturday and Sunday, April 12-13 Location: John Q. Hammons Center, 3303 Pinnacle Hills Parkway, Rogers, Ark. Time: noon to 4 p.m. Admission: FREE Free Concert: See country star Rodney Atkins live in concert Sunday at 3 p.m. Admission is free. Activities: Fans are welcome to join FLW for the FLW Expo at the John Q. Hammons Center in Rogers. Come meet Walmart FLW Tour pros, who'll be on hand signing autographs. Families can enjoy interactive games, explore the Walmart Kids Zone, receive free samples, drive a Ranger Boat simulator and have a chance to win a $500 Walmart gift card.

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Gordon and Gagner Crowned TBF Champs

Two more anglers qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup today by winning the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship on Grand Lake in Grove, Okla. Shawn Gordon of Russellville, Ark., earned the TBF crown on the boater side by catching a three-day limit of 50 pounds, 2 ounces, capped by the largest limit caught today – 18 pounds, 10 ounces. Gordon earned $5,000 for his win, but more importantly, he’ll be competing against the best pros in the business in August at the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Gordon also won the TBF “Living The Dream” package, which includes paid entry into the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour, a travel stipend, and use of a wrapped truck and Ranger bass boat. READ MORE »

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Beaver Lake Day 3 Coverage

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Make Way for Morgan

“Hidden largemouths” is quickly becoming the buzz term at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac, as those atop the leaderboard are using the term to refer to spawning largemouths that are so well hidden that other competitors never found them. These hidden fish are covered by thick brush, hidden so deep that they were only found during the very rare windows of sunshine during practice or located off the beaten path. The latter are not in obvious pockets or places where one would expect to find beds, but rather out on the main bluff channels where few ever look. On day one, Jacob Wheeler caught hidden largemouths to take the lead. On day two, former Beaver Lake champion Andy Morgan caught hidden largemouths to take over the pole position going into the weekend. His catch of 15 pounds, 7 ounces today gives Morgan a two-day total of 28-09 to take the lead by just 11 ounces. READ MORE »

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Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 2

At halftime of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac, the top five reads like a who’s who of Beaver Lake. Leader Andy Morgan is a former Beaver Lake champion. Behind him, Darrel Robertson has been very close to winning here with a runner-up finish in 2005. In third is 2014 Beaver Lake champion Matt Arey. Bryan Thrift, in fourth, has never won on Beaver Lake, but has led here before. And finally, fifth-place pro Stetson Blaylock knows his way around this lake pretty well, too, with a couple of top 10s. READ MORE »

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Heckman Heads up TBF Championship Field

Some bass are still spawning in Grand Lake, and others are yet to make their way up to the shallows, but none of that interests Sam Heckman. Diligent commitment to his postspawn plan here Friday landed Heckman atop the boater field with 34 pounds, 3 ounces and locked up his Southwest Division win at the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship. Saturday, the top boater from each of seven TBF divisions will vie for the TBF National Championship and the “Living the Dream” package that goes with it. The package includes paid entry in the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour as a pro, a Forrest Wood Cup berth and use of a custom-wrapped truck and Ranger boat on Tour for the year, as well as a travel stipend for each event. Seven non-boaters – one from each TBF division – also will fish in tomorrow’s final round for a chance at paid entry into a Rayovac FLW Series division of choice. READ MORE »

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Beaver Lake Day 2 Coverage

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Wheeler with a Slim Lead

Jacob Wheeler has a plan to win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake this week. That plan involves primarily the largemouth species, a target weight of 14 pounds per day and a lot of fish management. Today, Wheeler surpassed his target by nearly 2 pounds with a 15-pound, 14-ounce catch that puts him in the driver’s seat at Beaver Lake, in the lead by just a scant 5 ounces over second-place pro Bryan Thrift. “Largemouths are the way to win here at Beaver Lake,” Wheeler says. “They are the fish to go the distance here, and that’s what I’m focusing on.” READ MORE »

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Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 1

Though there were plenty of fish caught off beds at Beaver Lake on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac, the top five is rounded out by a group of anglers who relied on sight-fishing very little. Opinions on where exactly bass are in the spawning cycle at Beaver Lake vary greatly from angler to angler, but a few common denominators did come to light on day one. For starters, most agree that one major spawning cycle has already occurred. Plenty of empty beds and a lot of gaunt, postspawn fish at the scale were evidence of that. Second, there are still some bass (of all species) trying to spawn, but the ones left on beds are extremely wary. Finally, the order of difficulty to catch each species ranks as follows: smallmouth bass – extremely easy; spotted bass – not as easy; largemouth bass – extremely difficult. READ MORE »

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Griffith Grabs TBF Lead

By midday, the prospects were unclear for Jon “Scooter” Griffith here in The Bass Federation National Championship on Grand Lake, but in a roundabout way it provided just the clarity he needed to dial in a pattern that helped him take the day-one lead with an 18-pound, 13-ounce limit. Griffith began his day by sight-fishing the clear water down by the Pensacola Dam. This opening move, he says, gave him some early comfort, as it matched the transparent water he’s used to fishing near his home in Mesa, Ariz. Targeting windblown points, Griffith got his early bites with reaction baits in about 4 to 8 feet of water. Unfortunately, the plan turned out to be less productive than he had expected. READ MORE »

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Beaver Lake Day 1 Coverage

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TBF Championship Tips Off

The spawn is on at Grand Lake, but that’s not the only game in town. As the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship plays out for the next three days, anglers will find this northern Oklahoma impoundment abounding with lots of fishing options. Brian Maloney, the 2012 Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American champion, says he was impressed with what he found in practice. “The quality of fish on Grand is just amazing,” notes the Missouri angler. “This lake continues to put out 3- and 4-pounders, and right now there’s a variety of things we can do. “There are guys sight-fishing for spawning fish, and we’re probably looking at another wave or two of fish coming in soon. I’m sure the full moon coming up in another week or so will move them in.” Adding that the lake currently has fish in all prespawn, spawning and postspawn stages, Maloney thinks that TBF contenders will be greeted by a mix of water conditions typical for Grand this time of year. READ MORE »

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Top 10 Baits from Lake Murray

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Jig Bite Carries Holmes on Wateree

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Bryan Slows Down for Chickamauga Win

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Morfis Dominates With 34-Pound Limit

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. – Joshua Morfis of Cape Coral, Florida, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 34 pounds, 14 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Gator Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Okeechobee. For his victory, Morfis earned $6,336. READ MORE »

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Salzman Cracks 31 Pounds on Guntersville

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Lanter Wins on Rend Lake

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Top 10 Patterns from Lake Murray

As contestants in the FLW College Fishing National Championship on Lake Murray discovered last week, fishing the blueback herring spawn can be backbreaking work. All that stooping over to grab a different rig to cast at bass busting their favorite forage, and then quickly straightening, is hard on the old spinal column. Flexing up and down is what it took to contend in the championship, however, as bass couldn’t make up their minds whether they wanted their grub served on the surface or closer to the bottom. Typically, the collegians were fan-casting Carolina rigs, umbrella rigs, hard jerkbaits and even crankbaits to likely looking points and broad flats. Sometimes they caught fish with such random prospecting, but perhaps more bass were taken when anglers found themselves within casting distance of blowups and were quick enough to grab a soft jerkbait rig or topwater lure and virtually spoon-feed it to the fish. READ MORE »

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Gamecocks Win College Title

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Gamecocks Win National Title

As any good Palmetto State bass fisherman will tell you, home lake advantage only works if you’re consistent in your catches from day to day. Anthony Gagliardi proved it here on Lake Murray last summer in the Forrest Wood Cup, and the University of South Carolina proved it again in the FLW College Fishing National Championship that concluded Saturday. READ MORE »