UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart FLW Tour - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Five to watch at Beaver

George Foreman pro Dan Morehead.

Beaver Lake marks the fourth of six regular-season stops on the Walmart FLW Tour. This trip will be the 16th time the Tour has made a stop to the White River impoundment. With the season half finished at this point every decision becomes more vital for those looking to earn valuable points toward qualify for the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray presented by Walmart and hosted by Capital City/Lake Murray Country Aug. 14-17.

After a much colder winter than usual on Beaver - cold enough to cause ice to form on parts of the lake for the first time that many locals can remember - the fish are behind schedule. Recent rains have water quality in the lake lower than normal, and when coupled with lower water temperatures you have a recipe for a tough bite. Prespawn bass will be the focus this week with a slim shot at some early bed fish by the weekend if the weather warms up. With that in mind, below are five pros that bear monitoring as competition begins Thursday.

Greg Hackney fishes his signature Strike King swim jig through the cover.Greg Hackney - The 2009 Forrest Wood Cup champion has one of the hottest hands in the sport right now. Hackney fishes both FLW and B.A.S.S., so his practice time has been limited. Surprisingly, that has been working to his advantage since he has posted back-to-back finishes in the top 10 over the last two weeks. His approach has been to simply go fishing and "feel the lake out" as the week rolls on. That mentality sets him up perfectly for Beaver since he just spent a week on Table Rock - located just up the road - for the B.A.S.S. event where he finished third. This essentially extended his practice period for the week and helped him keep the vibe of what these Ozark bass are up to. Hackney is in his element flipping a jig in stained water, which means fishing up the river - where Jason Christie won the event last year - may suit him well.

James Watson holds up the kicker that anchored his 20-pound, 15-ounce day-four stringer.James Watson - I wouldn't consider him a local, but Watson is no slouch when it comes to catching bass in the Ozark region. The Waynesville, Mo., resident lists Table Rock as his favorite lake - posting numerous top 10s there. However, he has seen his share of success on nearby Beaver and Grand as well. Watson is a pretty diverse angler who can adapt to whatever a particular lake throws his way. That should be helpful for dealing with daily changes that are sure to occur during the tournament this week. His season started out with a strong third-place finish at Okeechobee but has since been on a downward spiral. This tournament will offer a chance for Watson to turn things around and make up some ground on the road to qualifying for the Forrest Wood Cup.

Repel pro Cody Meyer with his best from the 16-4 bag he caught on Thursday to sit in eighth place.Cody Meyer - You can't talk about Beaver Lake without mentioning a finesse-fishing guru. In this case it would happen to be the guy leading the Angler of the Year race - Repel pro Cody Meyer. He is fishing one of his best seasons to date at this point and is showing no signs of slowing down. In his last three trips with the Tour to Beaver he has finished no lower than 26th. That should come as no surprise considering how well the deep, clear impoundment fits his strength of finesse fishing. The conditions should be perfect for Meyer to do some damage on prespawn bass with a drop-shot or shaky head. The fact that Beaver contains spotted bass, largemouth and smallmouth only opens up more opportunities for the California native.

Kerry Milner holds up an Okeechobee giant.Kerry Milner - The 2013 Walmart BFL All-American champion continues to impress with how well he can compete at the highest level. After finishing in fourth place at the Forrest Wood Cup last year, Milner went on to take 12th in the season-opener on Okeechobee. He has stumbled some since, but I bet it won't last long. Milner is from Arkansas but hails from the opposite side of the Natural State from Beaver, which means he's not a true local, though he has finished in the top 10 at a BFL event held on Beaver in the fall. Milner should have a good base of what to expect. The Tour rookie possesses the strengths to excel up the river or by the dam in this tournament. Being able to fish close to home could be what the doctor ordered to keep his confidence up as he starts the final leg of the season.

George Foreman pro Dan Morehead sits in 12th place with a 27-4 two-day total.Dan Morehead - If Morehead can get on a pattern that he is comfortable with, expect to see him make some sparks fly. He is one of the few guys who truly understand the shallow-crankbait bite - namely the Wiggle Wart bite - that happens on Beaver Lake. He holds a pair of top-10 finishes on Beaver as well as a win back in 2003, in which he utilized a shallow-running crankbait. The George Foreman pro is coming off a seventh-place showing on Grand Lake in the Rayovac FLW Series event held last week. While Beaver and Grand are different lakes, they are still Ozark bodies of water, and you can bet his recent "practice" from Grand should help cue Morehead into what the Beaver bass are thinking.

Tags: kyle-wood  article 

/tips/2016-02-05-an-ill-wind-at-okeechobee-

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 »

/tips/2016-02-04-aquatic-plant-id

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 »

/tips/2016-02-02-poche-services-set

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 »

/tips/2016-02-02-time-to-shine-for-setzer

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 »

/tips/2016-02-01-ambassador

Ambassador

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-29-glenn-browne-s-timeout-is-over-

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 »

/tips/2016-01-28-flw-podcast-109-mike-surman

FLW Podcast 109 - Mike Surman

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-28-john-cox-gives-himself-a-makeover

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 »

/tips/2016-01-27-austin-felix-is-ready-for-the-big-time

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 »

/tips/2016-01-27-flw-canada-sets-tournament-sites-dates

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 »

/tips/2016-01-26-jigging-spoons-for-winter-bass

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 »

/tips/2016-01-24-how-bryan-thrift-got-to-be-so-good

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 »

/tips/2016-01-22-high-school-fishing-makes-the-grade

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 »

/tips/2016-01-22-flw-mexico-at-the-starting-gate

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 »

/tips/2016-01-22-making-the-case-for-haynes-as-aoy

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 »

/tips/2016-01-21-flw-podcast-108-jason-lambert

FLW Podcast 108 - Jason Lambert

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-20-bfl-choo-choo-division-postponed

BFL Choo Choo Division Postponed

The FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Choo Choo Division tournament on Lake Guntersville originally scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 23 has been postponed due to impending inclement weather. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-20-tigerodz-aligns-with-auburn-team

TIGERODZ Aligns With Auburn Team

Custom fishing rod manufacturer TIGERODZ of Scottsboro, Ala., has signed an agreement to become the official rod brand for the Auburn University Bass Sports Club. Scott Dobbins, president of TIGERODZ, is an Auburn alum, and he says the pairing involved a natural progression of involvement. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-20-becoming-aware-of-your-angler-strengths

Becoming Aware of Your Angler Strengths

The ongoing sentiment among fishermen is that versatility is the key to becoming a successful professional angler. While I’m certain that statement holds some weight, I think there is an alternate perspective that is worth entertaining. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-18-pundits-picks-for-aoy

Pundits Picks for AOY

Winning the Angler of the Year title is a tremendous feat. It can solidify a budding career or affirm a veteran’s status among the best. It also comes with a hefty reward – $100,000 and early entry into the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup. READ MORE »