Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac last week. After all, Beaver Lake bass and the weather are supposed to be on the same page by this time of year, but everything seemed out of whack by a month when the Tour visited Rogers, Ark." /> Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac last week. After all, Beaver Lake bass and the weather are supposed to be on the same page by this time of year, but everything seemed out of whack by a month when the Tour visited Rogers, Ark." />

UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Why the wheels fell off: Beaver Lake

Spencer Shuffield

April, was that really you? It was a fair question asked by the anglers who participated in the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac last week. After all, Beaver Lake bass and the weather are supposed to be on the same page by this time of year, but everything seemed out of whack by a month when the Tour visited Rogers, Ark. Kellogg's Pop-Tarts pro Greg Bohannan reckoned that the lake was fishing as if it was March. That is, water temperatures in the low to mid-50s deferred the largemouths' annual swim en masse toward the banks. It also meant that they were sulking somewhere between deep and shallow water. Otherwise, Beaver Lake's Kentuckies were true-to-form: stunted stringer-fillers patrolling the points for the most part, or else here today, gone tomorrow for the bigger spots that can make a difference at a weigh-in. Smallmouths filled a lot of the empty space in livewells, too, and meant better paydays for some anglers. However, they weren't to be found in enough numbers to dominate the event. It all boiled down to a matter of place and pattern that anglers chose and how their selections interfaced with changing water and weather conditions. Those whose practices accommodated transitioning largemouth bass at least put themselves in positions to win. Most, like those below, were the victims of the weather and, well ... Beaver Lake. Spencer Shuffield That 4-pound kicker largemouth certainly helped the cause on day two. Day 1: 15-05 (2nd place) Day 2: 13-11 (1st place) Day 3: 5-05 (12th place) I was on a jerkbait bite starting out, but then it warmed up so quickly during the tournament that the fish didn't want a jerkbait anymore. They got to where they were just nipping at it, or even following it back to the boat without taking it at all. The second and third days I should have had anywhere from 14 to 18 pounds a day if I had hooked every fish that chased it [Megabass 110] back to the boat without hitting it. I was in Indian Creek most of the time, and the water temperature went from 49 to 56 degrees. Absolutely, it was the warmer weather that came in that messed me up. I tried other things, but not like I should have. I got stubborn and hardheaded that third day because I had been catching them that way and figured it would turn around. Then, too, I didn't really have anything else dialed in. I thought I had a good swimbait pattern figured out in practice, but when I went to it I realized that that bite was gone too. There wasn't any wind the second day, and that didn't help. But the third day it was howling, and I thought, oh boy, they're really going to be on. Except they weren't. What's weird is that last year it was 58 degrees, and I caught 14-14 on the first day at Beaver using jerkbaits. I can't explain the difference between then and now. Steve Kennedy Steve Kennedy had to grind it out in the second round, settling for an 8-11 stringer that dropped him from 3rd to 19th place. Will his fish replenish for Saturday Day 1: 14-15 (3rd place) Day 2: 8-11 (19th place) Day 3: 6-06 (18th place) The first place I went to on day one, I caught a 4-10 fishing what the locals call "sawdust," which is just a bunch of leaves and sticks and stuff floating against the bank. The largemouths in the back of that pocket were in water from 6 inches to a foot deep. Then the lake began to fall slowly, and the sawdust wound up becoming part of the bank. Everything got high and dry. It must have fallen at least 8 inches in the backs of the pockets I was fishing, and that did it for the largemouths. I caught four more keepers in my next-best spot, but it got covered up with boats. If I had it to do over, I would have gone to two creeks I found in practice where I caught some fish. I wondered if at least one of the leaders was fishing there, too. In practice I broke off a big largemouth fishing flooded bushes in one area, and I believe Travis Fox [fourth place] caught it later on. I was throwing about the same stuff as everybody else, though on day two I caught two good keeper spots waking a Bomber Long A. I doubt too many others were doing that. John Voyles John Voyles getting his day started Day 1: 14-04 (9th place) Day 2: 6-14 (32nd place) It's definitely a gamble to bank everything above the bridge [Highway 12 bridge], but it used to be that if you could weigh five largemouths a day from up there, you were going to be fishing all weekend. Beaver Lake has changed a lot since the old days, though. Now a mixed bag from anywhere on the lake will win if they're good fish. Still, I went up there because it suits my style of fishing. The first day in this tournament, I caught a 5-12 up the White River and didn't see anybody else fishing my stuff. The second day, there were three boats. I wouldn't say fishing pressure hurt me, though. The fish were just moving around. Maybe it was a timing thing, and I was just running my milk run out of sync a little. Mainly I was fishing outside the bushes and on flat points with a Wiggle Wart and a square-bill. The fish were moving; I guess they were beginning to move toward where they're going to spawn. Bryan Thrift Sam Rayburn champ Bryan Thrift swings aboard a Beaver Lake keeper. Day 1: 16-02 (1st place) Day 2: 9-10 (8th place) Day 3: 10-07 (11th place) My first day was great, but it wasn't so much anything I did. It was just one of those magical days where every decision you make is the right one and you can't seem to do anything wrong. Everywhere I stopped I caught good keepers throwing a Damiki 6.5 Finesse Miki on a shaky head, or else fishing a swimbait. I never lost any fish all week, but I just couldn't get on the right kind of fish after that first day. Still, any time you can average more than 10 pounds a day on Beaver, you're doing some good. When the tournament started, it seemed like the fish were just in certain places, but then after the weather started warming up it turned into more of a pattern style of fishing. Adrian Avena Adrian Avena stayed in the title hunt Friday with a limit of 9-13 that moved him to 11th place. Day 1: 14-10 (5th place) Day 2: 9-13 (11th place) Day 3: 4-12 (19th place) Honestly, I just made poor adjustments; that's the story about it. I blamed a lack of wind on day two, but then on day three they were doing the same thing - just following the bait back to the boat without committing. A lot of lakes you go to, experience teaches you things about them that you can use next time. Beaver Lake, I don't know; it's one of those places where you're probably just better off fishing the moment and not trying to figure out things based on what happened before. I should have moved around more and tried different things, but long story short, I was getting enough followers to keep me casting. I alternated between a jerkbait and a soft swimbait: textbook Beaver Lake lures and presentations for that time of year and situation - or they should have been.

Tags: article 


T-H Marine Buys HydroWave

T-H Marine Supplies, Inc., of Huntsville, Ala., has acquired HydroWave LLC of Carrollton, Texas. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. HydroWave designs, manufactures, and sells a patented line of marine sound technology devices that attract bass and other fish species. READ MORE »


Bailey Lands Possible Record Spot

“I was torn between killing the fish [or letting it go],” says Bailey. “If it was a largemouth bass and it was a record-class fish, that’s a once-in-a-lifetime deal. These spotted bass are just getting started, and I know the record is going to be broken again. It just wasn’t worth it to me to kill the fish and go through it all.” READ MORE »


How Bryan Thrift Catches Winter Bass

You might not always catch bass as well as Bryan Thrift, but in early December you sure can fish like him by throwing the same three baits he usually has tied on when he’s out fishing in the winter. READ MORE »


Forrest Wood Cup Show Airs Tonight

Tune in for the epic finale of the FLW season and watch east Tennessee native Brad Knight earn the win on Arkansas’ Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »


Staff Picks for Holiday Gifts

With Christmas just around the corner, perhaps you could use some help with your shopping. Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for an angler or thinking of what to put on your own list for Santa to deliver, Christmas shopping can be a daunting task. Luckily our staff of elves has some pretty good suggestions to cover just about any taste or budget. READ MORE »


An Angler’s Thanksgiving

A number of pros have reasons to be grateful this Thanksgiving holiday as they contemplate the season behind them and what they managed to accomplish. Yet there are others who didn’t make quite as many ripples in the tournament waters this year, but nevertheless have cause to celebrate and look to the future. READ MORE »


Black Friday Deals



Fishing 101: Soft-Plastic Swimbaits

While all swimbaits accomplish the same thing – imitating a prey fish swimming through the water – there are now hundreds of baits from which to choose, and there are models for tackling just about any scenario. READ MORE »


Critter Shots of the Year

You see some things when you’re on the water for 10 months covering tournaments from Florida to California. Most of the time our on-the-water team has its cameras trained on the anglers, but every once in a while something from nature intervenes that is just too cool to pass up. READ MORE »


How to Succeed as a Co-angler

Fishing tournaments as a co-angler is a great first step to take toward a more advanced level of competitive bass fishing. Not only do you get more time on the water, you often end up fishing behind some very experienced anglers that can teach you some valuable lessons. READ MORE »


Episode 9 of FLW TV Airs Tonight

Watch as Ontario native Curtis Richardson qualifies for the Forrest Wood Cup and earns the title of Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American Champion on Kentucky Lake. READ MORE »


Peek Will Sit Out 2016 Tour

Alabama pro Richard Peek will forego the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour season to resolve back problems. Peek, of Centre, Ala., was told by his doctor that he should take off a year from tournament fishing so that surgery or other measures could be performed to correct a spinal deformity and relieve his pain. READ MORE »


2016 BFL All-American Qualifiers

With the completion of the Walmart Bass Fishing League Wild Card at Lake Hartwell – won by Mike Devere – all but The Bass Federation National Championship qualifiers are in place for the 2016 BFL All-American June 8-11 on Lake Barkley presented by the Cadiz-Trigg County Tourism Commission. READ MORE »


Jigging Up Late Fall Smallies

In the North Country, as fall fades and sportsmen settle in for the arrival of winter, many people put the boat away and forsake the water for the woods. For those willing to brave the elements on the lake, however, the reward is some of the best smallmouth bass fishing of the year for some of the biggest fish of the season. READ MORE »


Rayovac FLW Series Registration Opens

This is the week to register for everyone planning on fishing the FLW Series in 2016. Registration has been open for the top 40 pros and co-anglers from each division of the 2015 FLW Series and the top 50 boaters and co-anglers from each division of the 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League (BFL) for some time. Tuesday is when everyone else can begin to get in on the action. READ MORE »


College Championship Airs Tonight

Tune in for the 2015 FLW College Fishing National Championship to see Patrick Walters and Gettys Brannon of the University of South Carolina capture the title in front of the hometown crowd at Lake Murray. READ MORE »


5 Pros Weigh in on Hanselman

When Ray Hanselman won the 2015 Rayovac FLW Series Championship to cap his season-long dominance of the Texas Division just about everyone tuned in. It wasn’t just the stunning sweep that captivated pros and fans alike; it was how he did it – leading after the second day in every event he fished and winning with stunning margins of 5 pounds, 8 ounces at Amistad, 7-2 at Sam Rayburn, 12 pounds even on Texoma and 8-2 at the Championship. READ MORE »


Episode 7 of FLW TV Airs Tonight

Watch as Shawn Gordon pulls off the win on Grand Lake in Oklahoma and qualifies for the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita in his home state of Arkansas. READ MORE »


How Hanselmania Happened

In case you’ve been stuck in a tree stand or out of social media range and didn’t already know it, Hanselman won all three regular-season Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournaments in 2015. And at the end of October he topped off his stellar run by winning the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River out of Paducah, Ky. READ MORE »


2014 Cup Wins Sports Tourism Award

The 2014 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray in Columbia, S.C., was recently named the 2015 Champion of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism for the mid- to large market category by Sports Destination Management magazine. READ MORE »