Arey arrives

Matt Arey celebrates his victory at Beaver Lake with his wife and daughter.

ROGERS, Ark. - Prior to this week, if you tried to define the current status of Beaver Lake's largemouth bass spawn and the career of Shelby, N.C., pro Matt Arey, you needed only one phrase: close, but not quite there. After today's weigh-in at the John Q. Hammons center in Rogers, Ark., Arey proved that both he and the bass have arrived in a big way. At previous stops on Beaver Lake, Arey has logged two top-10 finishes, but he was never able to close the deal until now. In four days, Arey hauled in a total of 59 pounds, 3 ounces of Beaver Lake bass to win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac and hosted by Visit Rogers. While other pros went looking for bass stuck in those in-between transitional areas, Arey refined a perfect shallow, stained-water pattern that allowed Beaver's prespawn and early spawning bass to come to him. Then he made the gutsy call to commit to that pattern all week despite four consecutive days of shifting weather patterns. His steadfastness earned him his first Walmart FLW Tour title as a professional and one more piece of hardware to display next to his 2006 Forrest Wood Cup co-angler trophy. "This is what I've dreamed of since I was a kid," Arey said as he choked back tears on the weigh-in stage. "I really didn't think I had near as much as I had. I thought I might have 13 pounds, and that's what the on-the-water crew thought. I thought I might have 14 at most. But it all came together. When it's your time, it's your time." Matt Arey Arey's final-day limit weighed 15 pounds, 9 ounces. He finished less than 2 pounds ahead of reigning Kellogg's Angler of the Year Andy Morgan and survived a final-day slugfest in which three anglers in the top-10 field weighed more than 16 pounds each, matching the total number of 16-pound limits weighed in the first three days combined. Most of the pros that made it into the weekend committed to "fishing the conditions" - altering their approach to match the wind, light and water temperature encountered each day. Not Arey. He was dialed in perfectly. "I was looking for something that was going to be consistent no matter the weather," Arey said. "I knew the clear-water guys would struggle when the weather changed. I looked for places where big female largemouths would be moving up to stage or even pulling up to spawn." Matt Arey Arey found consistency on transitional areas near the backs of spawning pockets. He found bass staging on underwater rock shelves formed where small bluffs transitioned to a flatter bottom. On the final two days, Arey believes four or five of his keepers were actually spawning on the shelves. All of his fish were caught by hopping a 1/2- or 3/8-ounce green pumpkin ball-head jig rigged with a Wackem Crazy Baits twin-tail trailer through the rocks. The "clicking" sound created by the jig tapping the rocks was the perfect attraction to get those dirty-water bass to bite. "Those fish were really, really dialed in on crawfish," Arey added. "I had crawfish pinchers all over my boat. I've never been on a good jig bite here, but my best bait was that little ball-head jig. "What I always try to do during practice is adjust my cadence to see what the fish want," Arey added. "So many people get caught up just dragging a jig or swimming it. I tried different cadences, and that [hopping retrieve] was the one. About 80 percent of my bites were on the fall. The others were there when I picked up on it after the cast." Pros at Beaver really had three choices for what type of water to fish: clear, dirty and in-between. Arey gravitated toward dirty to in-between water, focusing on the Prairie Creek community hole and the first four miles of the White River upstream from the Highway 12 bridge - what most pros consider to be the dividing point between lake and river. Just going there was a gamble. "That river is notorious for producing 40 to 50 largemouths one day and 10 of them being keepers, then only catching one keeper the next day," Arey said. "I've seen people get burned there so many times." For Arey, it was worth the risk. The river is where some of Beaver's biggest largemouths live, and it's not as reliant on wind to activate the bite. In practice, he scouted areas in the river that are similar to where he caught the winning fish, but spent the first day of the tournament applying what he learned to new water. Each day, he continued to refine, to the point that he improved his limit on days two and three. Today, the plan all came together. The fish show up with the same regularity as they displayed all week. It was a consistent pattern for a consistent pro who has is now a Walmart FLW Tour champion. Top-10 story To see the patterns of the top 10 pros at Beaver Lake, click here. Rest of the best 2nd place - Andy Morgan - 57 pounds, 10 ounces 3rd place - David Dudley - 54 pounds, 14 ounces 4th place - Travis Fox - 54 pounds, 8 ounces 5th place - Casey Ashley - 53 pounds, 2 ounces 6th place - Micah Frazier - 52 pounds, 7 ounces 7th place - Troy Morrow - 52 pounds, 0 ounces 8th place - Scott Martin - 48 pounds, 14 ounces 9th place - Cody Meyer - 48 pounds, 13 ounces 10th place - Mark Rose - 46 pounds, 11 ounces Full results For the full results, click here.

Tags: headline-story 

/news/2015-06-29-dobson-sticks-with-jerkbait-for-win

Dobson Sticks With Jerkbait for Win

Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division tournament of 2015 on Lake St. Clair. For his victory, Dobson earned $5,804. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-johnston-targets-beds-for-big-limit

Johnston Targets Beds for Big Limit

Cory Johnston of Cavan, Ontario, Canada, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 25 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Northeast Division tournament of 2015 on 1000 Islands. For his victory, Johnston earned $5,632. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-football-jig-helps-bates-net-title

Football Jig Helps Bates Net Title

Matthew Bates of Greenville, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds even Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Ferguson. For his victory, Bates earned $3,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-hipsher-hops-ledges-for-victory

Hipsher Hops Ledges for Victory

Craig Hipsher of Benton, Kentucky, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League LBL Division tournament of 2015 on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. For his victory, Hipsher earned $4,385. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-lauer-wins-on-ohio-river

Lauer Wins on Ohio River

David Lauer of McConnelsville, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 12 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division tournament of 2015 on the Ohio River. For his victory, Lauer earned $6,289. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-creature-bait-does-it-for-berhorst

Creature Bait Does it for Berhorst

Dennis Berhorst of Holts Summit, Missouri, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Ozark Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Truman. For his victory, Berhorst earned $5,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-wendlandt-back-at-the-top

Wendlandt Back at the Top

It’s been 14 seasons since Clark Wendlandt last stood on a Walmart FLW Tour stage and hoisted a tournament championship trophy. Since that time, the Texas pro has experienced ups and downs, including an Angler of the Year title (his third) in 2009 and a major medical issue that sidelined him for most of the 2014 season. All that’s in the past now, however, and Wendlandt is right back where he belongs in the world of bass fishing – in first place after the final day on the Potomac River in the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-top-10-patterns-from-the-potomac-river

Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

Clark Wendlandt didn’t pull off any secret techniques to win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. He simply found an area with the right quality of bass to win and managed it perfectly despite facing a medley of Mother Nature’s toughest challenges. The rest of the top 10 stuck with the standard Potomac targets too, namely grass, docks and wood cover. The only underlying trend of the top 10 is that they found areas to themselves. Here’s how the rest of the top 10 got it done at the 2015 Tour finale. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-potomac-river-day-4-coverage

Potomac River Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on the Potomac River presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-wendlandt-receives-helping-hand

Wendlandt Receives Helping Hand

Not to discredit Clark Wendlandt’s skills as a bass fisherman, but if it wasn’t for an extreme act of kindness on the part of fellow competitor Shin Fukae, Wendlandt wouldn’t be where he is this evening – leading through three days of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-top-5-patterns-from-potomac-river-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Potomac River Day 3

Pouring rain, gusting winds, a remarkable act of kindness, an Angler of the Year title on the line – day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River certainly was not boring. To say the top 20 anglers were waterlogged after Saturday would be any understatement, but as nasty as the weather was, it wasn’t the biggest story of the day. Shinichi Fukae generously helped Clark Wendlandt retain his lead, while Scott Martin sealed the deal on his first AOY title. Meanwhile, a number of other anglers scrambled to adjust with what the weather and the Potomac are throwing at them. Here’s how the rest of the top five caught their fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-potomac-river-day-3-coverage

Potomac River Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on the Potomac River presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-26-wendlandt-in-familiar-territory

Wendlandt in Familiar Territory

A lot of flip-flopping took place on the second day of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. When the scale closed, it was three-time Tour Angler of the Year Clark Wendlandt who found himself on top with a two-day total of 32 pounds, 10 ounces. Wendlandt caught 17-13 today – the day’s second-heaviest limit – and leads Potomac local Bryan Schmitt by 1-12 going into the weekend. Wendlandt missed part of last season after suffering a heart attack but has rebounded with good success this season. He has won three times on Tour but hasn’t finished in first place since Beaver Lake in 2001. Details to come on the patterns of the top five. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-26-potomac-river-day-2-coverage

Potomac River Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-jersey-boy-leads-the-pack

Jersey Boy Leads the Pack

Talk about a traffic jam. And, no, we’re not talking about the streets around the Washington, D.C. area. We’re talking about the standings at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. Adrian “Jersey Boy” Avena leads the way with a 16-pound, 12-ounce limit, but a total of 41 pros weighed in at least 12 pounds. Many pros lamented the tough bite today, but the results say otherwise as 114 limits were brought to the scale on the pro side. Troy Morrow trails Avena by just 1-06, and 1 ounce behind Morrow is one of the most successful tidewater bass anglers of all time, Bryan Schmitt. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-top-5-patterns-from-potomac-river-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Potomac River Day 1

It might seem impossible for 405 miles of water to fish small, but space was hard to come by on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. The creeks near takeoff at Smallwood State Park have seen as much traffic as a Washington, D.C. highway at rush hour. On the flip side, anglers who were able to develop patterns that got them away from the crowds, such as day-one leader Adrian Avena, have been able to reap the benefits of what has been a stingy fishery. Here’s how the rest of the pros in the top five caught their fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-aoy-shake-up-martin-makes-his-move

AOY Shake-Up: Martin Makes His Move

Scott Martin has been talking about winning the Angler of the Year title since before the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour season started. It’s on his mind and for good reason: Angler of the Year is the only major FLW title he hasn’t won in what Martin has built into one of the most decorated professional fishing careers in FLW Tour history. Today, on the first day of competition at the Tour finale on the Potomac River, Martin has unofficially moved into the lead in the AOY race for the first time all season. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-potomac-river-day-1-coverage

Potomac River Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-20-richardson-wins-all-american

Richardson Wins All-American

Curtis Richardson has a way of surprising people – even himself. The Ontario angler had all but written himself off in the championship round of the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American, thinking his limit of five bass wouldn’t hold up for long with the likes of Jeremy Lawyer and Bill Schroeder breathing down his neck. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-20-all-american-midday-update-day-3

All-American Midday Update Day 3

Big changes might be coming in the standings of the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American on Kentucky Lake, as some of the top 10 leaders struggled this morning to catch limits. Canadian angler Curtis Richardson, who currently is leading, had only one 3-pound keeper by midmorning. And second-place boater Billy Schroeder, who had fished just below the Paris Landing Bridge for the first two days, finally bailed out from there after catching four keepers this morning. READ MORE »