UPCOMING EVENT: FLW Tour - 2019 - Lake Champlain

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Quick Bites: Wal-Mart Open, Day 2

Quick Bites: Wal-Mart Open, Day 2
Rick Clunn is greeted by his son, Sage, when he checks in for Wednesday's weigh-in.

Wal-Mart FLW Tour
Wal-Mart Open
Beaver Lake, Rogers, Ark.
Opening round, Thursday


Kids, the new PR stars ... It started with Bobby Curtis' 5-year-old son, Lincoln, who accompanied the Siloam Springs, Ark., pro to the stage. Lincoln was in total command of an interview with Evans, telling him in a brassy voice how his dad's day on the water had been and many bass he had caught. Evans asked Lincoln what Curtis had used to land his fish, and he replied matter-of-factly, "I have no idea. I wasn't out there with him." Lincoln continued to fill Evans and the weigh-in audience in on how his dad's career was going so far this year and other tidbits, until finally Evans stumped the youngster. "I don't know what to say about that," Lincoln said. "I'm out of words." All Curtis had to say while on stage was that he figured Lincoln's eloquence must come "from his mom." Pro Rick Clunn of Ava, Mo., got onstage help from his son, Sage, as well. Sage had told Evans that he had a good day in Arkansas Thursday because he got to play with his Power Rangers action figures. In fact, he indicated he would probably resume the activity after the weigh-in. Evans said the 2004 Wal-Mart Open "really wasn't the best Rick Clunn tournament" and asked Clunn - a 2000 Beaver Lake champion - what had happened on the water to lead to a one-bass day. Clunn said, "I played Power Rangers."

Got worms? ... Jighead worms, Shaky Head worms, Finesse Worms, Gambler Worms, Swebo worms. You name the worm, and chances are an FLW Tour pro or co-angler was fishing it on Beaver Lake Thursday. As the lure of choice for many a Wal-Mart Open competitor, plastic worms were a hot commodity in northwestern Arkansas as the opening round came to a close - so much so that some anglers who made the cut were discussing whether they'd have enough to last through the finals. In fact, pro Michael Black of Toledo, Ill., was ready to part with his lunch in exchange for some of his co-angler's worms today since that's what seemed to be on the bass' menu. "I was ready to trade about anything for a worm," Black said. "You want a sandwich? Give me a worm." Ironically, pro Mike Wurm of Hot Springs, Ark., bucked the trend and fished with a Minnow Hook, despite his name.

Connect the dots ... What do two bass, an NCAA powerhouse and an impossible request have in common? Not a whole lot, but the Arkansas triangle made for an entertaining weigh-in story on day two nonetheless. A former assistant basketball coach for the Arkansas Razorbacks, local co-angler Brad Dunn of Fayetteville, Ark., elicited the story from when he took the stage. According to Evans, FLW Outdoors CEO Charlie Hoover basically taught Dunn how to fish for smallmouth bass. Though Dunn wasn't having it, Evans playfully suggested that it was Hoover's coaching advice given casually to Dunn during fishing trips that paved the way for the Razorbacks' national championship in 1994. Almost as implausible as the former scenario, Dunn recalled, was a last-minute request from Evans on the eve of the conference championship finals. "Remember? You called the day before and asked me for four tickets," Dunn said. "Did you want me to call God?" As far as Dunn's fishing on the FLW Tour, which amounts to one event per year since 2001, he could only muster two bass over the first two days of this year's Wal-Mart Open. Evans said, "He's like a multiple vitamin - one a day." If fans can blame coaches when teams have losing seasons, does that mean Dunn can blame Hoover for his mediocre performance from the back of the boat?

Understated Powers ... Pro Craig Powers of Rockwood, Tenn., more than kept his cool after weighing in a day-two sack that launched him to the top of the leaderboard at the Wal-Mart Open. His demeanor suggested that he is almost as skilled at nonchalance as he as at angling. "I had a really good day," Powers said casually. "I did everything I could today - so, whatever." When asked by weigh-in host Charlie Evans what he thought of being in good position to run for the $200,000 first prize, Powers' reply was low-key, to say the least: "Yeah, that's a pretty good check."

FLW anglers on the run at Beaver LakeQuick numbers

1,245: Number of bass caught by pros in opening round of 2004 Wal-Mart Open.

854: Number of bass caught by pros in opening round in 2003.

556: Number of bass caught by co-anglers in opening round in 2004.

356: Number of bass caught by co-anglers in opening round last year.

476-2: Weight, in pounds and ounces, that the Pro Division's opening-round total surpassed last year's opening round.

210-3: Weight, in pounds and ounces, that the Co-angler Division's opening-round total surpassed last year's opening round.

Sound bites

"Primary weapon."
- Third-place pro Shinichi Fukae, describing the drop-shot rig, which is popular in his native Japan, he used to catch a nice five-bass limit.

"I'm really nervous right now. You'd have to ask my wife, I don't know."
- Fifth-place co-angler Mike Jones of Lebanon, Mo., when asked what he'd do with the $40,000 check if he went on to win the Wal-Mart Open.

Tags: patrick-baker  quick-bites  2004-03-31-wal-mart-open-beaver-lake 

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