April 12, 2014 by Curtis Niedermier
ROGERS, Ark. - Matt Arey is trending in all the right ways. This morning, the North Carolina pro bagged a nice Beaver Lake keeper in front of the FLWOutdoors.com camera crew during an on-the-water interview. The footage, available here and on the FLWFishing YouTube channel, has already been viewed by hundreds of FLW fans.
Then this evening, he continued the trend of showing up to weigh-in with a better limit than the day before. Arey increased from 13 pounds on day one to 14 pounds, 6 ounces on day two to 16 pounds, 4 ounces today. His day-three limit is the heaviest of the tournament thus far and only the third bag to top 16 pounds. He did it on a day when seven of the top 20 pros didn't even crack double digits.
The eighth-year pro now has a 2-pound, 8-ounce lead over the reigning Kellogg's Angler of the Year and current 2014 AOY favorite Andy Morgan. He'll launch his Ranger on Sunday morning for the final day of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour Beaver Lake event presented by Rayovac and hosted by Visit Rogers with his best-ever chance at winning his first Tour title as a professional.
The scariest part for the rest of the field is that Arey has been holding back just a bit all week and trying not to pressure his areas too much.
"Tomorrow I'm going to let loose on them," he said. "I pushed a little bit harder on them today."
All but one of the 15 keepers Arey has brought to weigh-in this week has been a largemouth, which partially explains why his weights have been so strong. He's targeting six to eight areas where small rock shelves create underwater transitions. He thinks the bass using the areas are getting extremely close to spawning, if some aren't already, and there will be more up tomorrow.
"I can tell by how white those fish are," said Arey. When bass move up from deep water prior to spawning, their coloring is often very pale.
"The three biggest ones today were all white," he added.
One lure, cast to specific targets and fished with a very refined technique - not too fast, but not really slow - has carried Arey this week.
The only bright side for some of the pros trailing Arey is that Sunday's forecast calls for storms and wind, which helps the deep-water bite for pros fishing the lower end, but isn't ideal for the leader's program. Warm weather and sunshine would just push more fish to the bank for Arey, and his pattern isn't in the lake's clearer areas, so a heavy chop offers little benefit to him. "I would rather have the sunshine, but I hope it won't hurt me," Arey said of the approaching weather. "These fish want to spawn so bad they can't stand it." Looking over his shoulder, Arey can see some of the biggest names in professional bass fishing, an Ozarks local and a few clear-water experts who hope to snatch away his lead. There's a storm coming to Rogers, Ark., tomorrow. In less than 24 hours, we'll see just how bad it shakes up Beaver Lake. Top-five story To learn about the patterns of the top five from day three at Beaver Lake, click here. Rest of the best 2nd place - Andy Morgan - 41 pounds, 2 ounces 3rd place - Travis Fox - 38 pounds, 9 ounces 4th place - David Dudley - 38 pounds, 5 ounces 5th place - Micah Frazier - 38 pounds, 3 ounces 6th place - Cody Meyer - 38 pounds, 2 ounces 7th place - Scott Martin - 37 pounds, 8 ounces 8th place - Troy Morrow - 37 pounds, 5 ounces 9th place - Casey Ashley - 37 pounds, 2 ounces 10th place - Mark Rose - 36 pounds, 4 ounces Full results For the full results, click here. 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. Walmart FLW Tour event information Takeoff Location: Prairie Creek Park, 9300 North Park Road, Rogers, Ark. Time: 7 a.m. Weigh-in Location: John Q. Hammons Center, 3303 Pinnacle Hills Parkway, Rogers, Ark. Time: 4 p.m. FLW Expo 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.