UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - James River

Wendlandt works Beaver Lake magic … again

Wendlandt works Beaver Lake magic … again
Pro Clark Wendlandt of Cedar Park, Texas, turned in a two-day catch of 20 pounds to grab the top qualifying position heading into tomorrow's competition.

Cameron grabs top spot in Co-angler Division, top-20 cut announced

ROGERS, Ark. - If there was any doubt before that Clark Wendlandt had mastered the nuances of fishing on Beaver Lake, it was dispelled late this afternoon. After winning the FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake in 2001 and 1999 - not to mention a 10th-place finish in 2000 - Wendlandt served notice that he plans a vigorous defense of his title in 2002. Turning in a masterful two-day catch of 20 pounds, Wendlandt stormed into the lead in the Pro Division heading into tomorrow's semifinal round of competition.

Although many anglers complained of the stubborn bite and difficult conditions - water levels are up nearly 10 feet above normal - Wendlandt seemed to have little trouble shaking off any and all distractions on route to yet another top-20 finish.

"I had a good day yesterday and an even better day today," said Wendlandt, a resident of Cedar Park, Texas. "Beaver Lake is just a great place to fish. I feel really comfortable here. Anytime you can come to a lake and not have to second-guess yourself, it feels good."

Despite his success over the first two days of the tournament, Wendlandt said he was only looking as far ahead as tomorrow's round of competition.

"I'm not really worried about winning this tournament right now," he said. "I'm only concentrating on making the top 10 cut."

When asked by a reporter what it would mean to capture three different FLW titles on Beaver Lake, Wendlandt didn't miss a beat.

"I really can't imagine winning this tournament three times," said Wendlandt, momentarily allowing himself to soak in the full meaning of the question. "I just feel confident here."

Wendlandt, a sight-fishing specialist, said that Beaver Lake has indeed fished differently this year than in the past. However, he also appeared unfazed by this year's difficult fishing conditions.

"I've done some sight fishing this tournament, but there aren't nearly as many fish on the beds as there were last year," said Wendlandt, who has alternated tackle between Gambler tube baits, Gambler floating worms and assorted jigs. "I have caught some fish on the beds, but I also have a secondary pattern that is working pretty well right now."

Wendlandt said that in addition to the higher-than-average water levels, the weather could also play a key role in determining which technique prevails over the remainder of the tournament.

"In 1998 the water here was about 6 feet above normal and I really did well with spinner baits," he said. "But I think what I will do for the rest of the week will depend on the weather to a certain extent. I'll definitely do some more sight fishing. But we'll have to see. As of right now, I don't even know where I'm going tomorrow."

Pack attack

Mark Pack of Mineola, Texas, used a two-day catch of 19 pounds, 8 ounces to capture the second qualifying position heading into the semifinals.

"Oh yeah, it feels good," said Pack of his second-place finish. "I knew sight fishing would be key here, but when I first arrived the water was very cold. So I went with my backup plan of a Carolina rig and crankbaits. But then the water warmed up and sight fishing started to come more and more into play. And so far, everything has worked out for me."

Pack, who finished in fourth place at the Beaver Lake event in 2001, said that his strategy in the semifinals would include fishing for the smaller Kentucky spotted bass.

"I'm going to start out tomorrow morning trying to catch of a limit of Kentucky spots," he said. "And then I'm going to go sight fishing and try to catch some of the bigger largemouth bass. I think if I can catch anywhere from 6 to 7 pounds, I should be able to make the cut."

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top five qualifying positions were: Bernie Schultz (third) of Gainesville, Fla., with a two-day catch of 19 pounds, 1 ounce; Aaron Martens (fourth) of Castaic, Calif., with a catch of 18 pounds, 9 ounces; and day-one leader Mark Rogers (fifth) of Naples, Fla., with a catch of 18 pounds.

Martens also won a check for $1,250 and the day's big bass award after landing a 5-pound, 7-ounce bass.

Cameron vaults atop leaderboard in Co-angler Division

In 2001, Vandy Cameron of Rogers, Ark., finished the first day of the FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake in fifth place. Unfortunately for Cameron, the second day of competition wasn't so kind as he failed to bring a fish to the scales. However, although Cameron ultimately missed last year's cut, he chalked up his disappointment in 2001 as a valuable learning experience. Clearly, he was right on the mark. On the strength of a two-day catch of 11 pounds, 7 ounces, Cameron not only made this year's top-20 cut, but he also found himself sitting alone in first place heading into tomorrow's co-angler finals.

"It really feels good to be leading the tournament," said Cameron. "Once you get to the finals, you have a one in 20 chance of winning (the first-place prize of) $40,000. And that's not bad odds."

Cameron, who has been throwing a War Eagle spinner bait all week, will be paired with Wendlandt in tomorrow's competition. However, Cameron said that fishing with the reigning champion is a bit of double-edged sword.

"Clark is a sight fisherman and that makes it difficult to fish as a co-angler because I won't really be able to target the same fish," he said. "So, It's going to be important for me to do something different than Clark is doing tomorrow. It's going to be a challenge. But it should be a lot of fun as well. I'm looking forward to it."

Overall, Cameron said he couldn't have asked for a better outcome.

"My goal was to come in here and make the top 20," he said. "And I did that. So I'm very happy right now."

Cameron also managed to win the day's big bass award in the Co-angler Division after netting a 3-pound, 10-ounce bass. The fish earned Cameron a check for $750.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top five co-angler finalists were: Fred Hill (second) of Roxboro, N.C., with a catch of 10 pounds, 5 ounces; day-one leader Kendall Martin (third) of Tremont, Ill., with a catch of 10 pounds; Bud Goeke (fourth) of Pinckneyville, Ill., with a catch of 9 pounds, 7 ounces; and Randy Clark (fifth) of Mobile, Ala., with a catch of 9 pounds, 6 ounces.

Tomorrow's s is scheduled to take place at 8 a.m. at Prairie Creek Marina, located at #1 Prairie Creek Marina Dr. in Rogers, Ark.

Related links:

Quick Bites: Wal-Mart Open, Day 2
Photos
Results
Results of day-two pairings
Day-three pairings
Press release

Tags: gary-mortenson  headline-story  2002-04-17-beaver-lake 

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