UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Ouachita

Walmart FLW Tour Preview: Beaver Lake

Randy Blaukat of Joplin, Mo., snared fourth place overall with a total catch of 20 pounds, 3 ounces during the first day of Grand Lake competition.

Editor's Note: The writer's opinions and observations expressed here are his own, and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views, policies or positions of FLW.

After the bitter cold much of the nation experienced during the past winter, the dogwoods of April will be a welcome sight for the Walmart FLW Tour anglers arriving at Beaver Lake this weekend. With the exceptions of just a couple events, April is traditionally the month that the Walmart FLW Tour stops at Beaver, and it's become one of the more predictable destinations.

Despite such regular visits, from year to year anglers often find different conditions to test their skills. Sometimes the water is high; in other years, low. Some April events at Beaver have been prespawn, with others have occurred right on the spawn, and even a few in the postspawn. The spawn is several weeks behind schedule in most lakes around the country this year, and Beaver is no exception. The 2014 Walmart FLW Tour presented by Rayovac will be dominated by prespawn techniques. The pros will see Beaver a couple of feet low, with water temperatures in the 50-degree range, depending on what part of the lake they're fishing.

Since we've visited Beaver so many times in past springs, the methods and areas anglers choose will be fairly predictable. Next week, all the anglers will be faced with the following choices:

• Do I go down the lake where the fishing pressure is less, even though fishing in that clear water is so dependent on wind and clouds?
• Do I stay around Prairie Creek and take a number to fish a bank in the zoo that is the release area?
• Do I go up the river and go after the very unpredictable and reclusive river fish?

Such are the questions of those who fish Beaver Lake each year and, depending upon an angler's style, the answer usually involves one of the three options mentioned above.

The 2013 Tour event had inflated weights because umbrella rigs were allowed then. They're not now, so I look for the weights to be down a bit from what we saw last year. Look for the top 20 cut to be around 25 or 26 pounds, and the 60th place $10,000 check weight to be approximately 19 or 21 pounds.

There will be several dominating patterns. If we have some wind and clouds, jerkbaits and squarebills will account for some good catches. Light winds and abundant sunshine will see shaky heads, drop-shots and grubs bringing in the consistent limits.

Speaking of shaky heads, you can never underestimate their effectiveness on Beaver. It's one of the few lakes we visit where you can win with it. Consequently, I expect half of the top 10 to have relied on shaky heads to make their way into the finals.

While the shaky head will produce from one end of the lake to the other, power-fishing on Beaver is very conditional on the weather. It's a gamble, but it's a good gamble if things line up right. Most pros are like amateur meteorologists, and will study the extended forecasts in great detail before deciding to go big.

Power-fishing with shallow crankbaits, spinnerbaits and various flipping baits could win this event, especially if an angler can survive massive pounding that 180 of the best bass anglers in the world will inflict on the lake during the first two days.

Given this, the winning technique will be totally dependent upon the weather, and we can't control that. At this time, it looks like we're in for normal winds, partly cloudy skies and air temperatures a bit on the cool side. If conditions stay as they are, I see half of the top 10 making it with a spinning rod, the other half by fishing skinny water.

Regardless, the Walmart FLW Tour anglers once again will experience what has become almost a spring ritual for us: trying to coax reluctant bass to bite while enjoying the beauty of Beaver Lake's rugged shoreline and clear water.

Best of luck to everyone!

Tags: randy-blaukat  blog 


Fishing the All-American

My wish is that everyone who competes in BFL tournaments will get to experience the All-American. It truly is an amazing experience, and a goal that everyone who competes on the weekends should strive to achieve. READ MORE »


Eric Jackson Q&A

We caught up with Jackson just prior to his Tour debut on Lake Okeechobee to learn more about his background in the outdoors and how he got started in tournament fishing. READ MORE »


FLW Podcast 111 - Bradley Hallman



An Ill Wind at Okeechobee?

The wind can be a bass fisherman’s best friend or worst enemy. On its best behavior, it creates a temporary current, positions baitfish and helps an angler move around more stealthily in shallow water. READ MORE »


Aquatic Plant ID

Val Osinski, the owner of Gambler Lures and winner of the 2015 Costa FLW Series event on the lake, knows as much about the Big O as anyone and is an expert on finding and targeting bass in its various grasses. When we had the opportunity to ride along with him for a tour of the lake and to learn to identify some of the grasses, it was a no-brainer to accept. READ MORE »


FLW Podcast 110 - JT Kenney and Kyle Monti



Poche Services Set

Funeral services for Dylan Poche, the 18-year-old Bass Fishing League angler who was stabbed to death Saturday night, are scheduled for Thursday at 2 p.m. at Freedom Life Church in Natchitoches, La. Visitation will take place at Freedom Life beginning at 5 p.m. Wednesday. READ MORE »


Time to Shine for Setzer

With three years on Tour and a Co-angler of the Year (COY) award under his belt, Braxton Setzer believes now is his time to start casting from the front. READ MORE »





Glenn Browne’s Timeout is Over

By his own admission, Glenn Browne isn’t the most organized guy. After the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division opener on Lake Okeechobee, he spent hours returning stuff to its proper place and tossing out the usual flotsam and jetsam that accumulates in a bass boat during a tournament. READ MORE »


FLW Podcast 109 - Mike Surman



John Cox Gives Himself a Makeover

Last fall there was a rumor going around that John Cox was entering the electronics age and souping up his boat with sonar gear. Just to clear the air, the Florida pro reports that though he did flirt with the notion of incorporating an offshore strategy centered on depth finders into his act, he eventually abandoned the idea. READ MORE »


Austin Felix is Ready for the Big Time

Back in the spring of 2014, Austin Felix and his University of Minnesota teammate Chris Burgan were on the top of the FLW College Fishing world. With a win in the National Championship on Lake Keowee, Felix was headed to the Forrest Wood Cup as a pro. READ MORE »


FLW Canada Sets Tournament Sites, Dates

FLW Canada, one of four partners in FLW’s International Division of the Costa FLW Series, recently released its 2016 tournament schedule. The season includes three two-day regular-season qualifying events and a three-day championship. Anglers fish as two-person teams. READ MORE »


Jigging Spoons for Winter Bass

Of course, the application of the spoon hinges on finding bass in the first place, which is the biggest challenge. Walmart FLW Tour pros Jason Johnson and Clark Reehm are experts at finding winter bass in their respective regions of the country and offer FLW readers some advice on where to look and how to get them to bite the spoon. READ MORE »


How Bryan Thrift Got to be so Good

My No. 1 focus out here is to support my family and make a living. Whatever I have to do to make that happen, I’m going to make a valiant effort. READ MORE »


High School Fishing Makes the Grade

Jacob Smith and Daniel Clark are typical teenagers, at least in everything except bass fishing. In that, they are above average, as the two juniors from Travelers Rest High School in South Carolina proved in the TBF/FLW High School Fishing Florida Open held Jan. 17 on Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »


FLW Mexico at the Starting Gate

Our excitement is so great that we wanted to share this important news with all of you. Believe me, fishermen in Mexico are talking it up as if it were dock talk surrounding the Forrest Wood Cup. What really matters at the end of the line is knowing that FLW is showing its true devotion to promoting bass fishing and making it a truly international sport. READ MORE »


Making the Case for Haynes as AOY

As many have noted, the Walmart FLW Tour schedule for this season looks a lot like it did in 2014. Back then, in his sophomore year on Tour, Randy Haynes had one of the strangest seasons you’ll ever see. He finished 104th at Okeechobee, 149th at Sam Rayburn (ouch) and cranked out top-30 finishes everywhere else. READ MORE »


FLW Podcast 108 - Jason Lambert