UPCOMING EVENT: TACKLE WAREHOUSE PRO CIRCUIT - 2020 - Lake Erie

Quick Bites: FLW Tour, Beaver Lake Day 1

Quick Bites: FLW Tour, Beaver Lake Day 1
FLW Tour pro Jay Yelas of Corvallis, Ore., shows off the day's biggest bass at 4 pounds, 13 ounces. Yelas is currently in 31st place after the first day of competition at Beaver Lake.

Walmart FLW Tour
Walmart Open
Beaver Lake, Rogers, Ark.
Opening round, Thursday

Anybody's game ... After the first day of FLW Tour competition on Beaver Lake, it's really starting to look like this tournament will likely be decided by a few crucial ounces one way or another. With big bass as scarce as stable weather in the northwest Arkansas area over the past few weeks, weights are incredibly bunched up. To underscore this point one need only look at the 4-pound weight differential between the seventh- and 90th-place competitors. The difference between the 18th-place competitor and the 85th-place competitor is an amazingly scant 3 pounds. With Jay Yelas bringing in the largest bass in the Pro Division at 4 pounds, 13 ounces, it's obvious that one big bite is all that it will take to make a dramatic move up the leaderboard. In short, don't expect to see the same pros in the top 10 after tomorrow's crucial round of competition. In fact, the way things are going, anything less than a 50-percent turnover would be surprising at this point.

Mark Rose of Marion, Ark., currently leads all pros after the opening day of competition at the Walmart Open with a total catch of 13 pounds.Rosie outlook ... While the majority of the pro field struggled to find that elusive big bite during today's competition, Mark Rose of Marion, Ark., managed to find enough pieces of the Beaver Lake puzzle to string together a tournament leading 13-pound sack. However, it wasn't easy by any stretch as Rose had to struggle to land nearly every bite he got today. "It was an interesting day," said Rose. "I went head over heels trying to land one fish and then I had another fish hung up over a limb. It was kind of crazy."

FLW Tour pro George Cochran was back in top form after having gall bladder and kidney stone surgery last month, netting a 20th-place finish during the first day of Walmart Open competition.Back in action ... After battling through multiple surgeries last month which caused him to miss the FLW Tour event at Lake Norman, 2005 Forrest Wood Cup Champion and Walmart FLW Tour pro George Cochran of Hot Springs, Ark., is once again back on the tournament scene. Although the legendary pro looks better than ever, Cochran had quite the story to tell about his recent debilitating condition. "It was the last day of practice at Lake Norman and I was deathly sick," said Cochran. "I had only missed one tournament in the last 28 years so I tried to stick it out. But then it just got too painful. I called me doctor and he convinced me to fly home immediately to have surgery." As it turned it, Cochran was battling problems with his gall bladder while simultaneously suffering from kidney stones - which were both successfully removed as part of the procedure. "Now I feel better than I have felt in a long time," said Cochran. "Really, the only thing I have is a few scars which, at this age, I don't care about. It's not like I'm going to be running around in a bathing suit." So what did Cochran do with his newly supercharged body? He simply turned in a top-20 finish on his first day back in tournament waters. Pretty impressive stuff, even for a legend.

David Young of Mayfield, Ky., continues to persevere despite having one of the tougher tournament weeks in recent memory.Tough week for Young ... While FLW Tour pro David Young of Mayfield, Ky., has experienced plenty of ups and downs in tournament fishing over his career, this week probably tops them all for sheer craziness. After finishing in second place after losing a heartbreaking tiebreaker to Tennessee pro Mike Ward in the Stren Series Central Division tourney on Kentucky Lake this past Saturday, Young was allegedly shot out by a disgruntled homeowner while practice fishing at Beaver Lake this past Monday. If that wasn't enough, Young also lost a boatload of fish and suffered significant mechanical problems during today's opening round of competition on Beaver Lake - which directly contributed to a 131st-place finish. "I thought I'd won the Stren event last week but I wound up losing the tiebreaker. And today, I lost four fish and blew up my engine," said Young. "And then I was shot at during practice - I've never been shot at before. So, I'm just about ready to go home right now. I'm not having a good week." For the record, FLW Outdoors is continuing to work with local authorities to further investigate the allegations of the shooting.

If you're in town ... Why not come down Saturday, May 16, and participate in the Ranger/Evinrude Test Ride event. Starting at 10 a.m. and lasting until 2 p.m., interested persons can head down to the Prairie Creek Marina, jump in the latest Ranger boat powered by Evinrude's innovative E-TEC motors and take it for a test ride with professional anglers on Beaver Lake. The event is free and open to the public. In addition, participants will also receive a free hat. For more information, contact Rogers Outdoor Sports at 479-986-8227.

Quick numbers

1.1: Total purse in millions at stake at this week's Walmart Open at Beaver Lake.

4-13: Total weight in pounds and ounces of largest fish caught during the first day of Walmart Open competition.

5: Total pounds separating the first- and 85th-place pro competitors after the first day of tourney action at Beaver Lake.

13-0: Total weight in pounds and ounces recorded by first-place pro Mark Rose.

22: Current place of FLW Tour 2009 Angler of the Year leader Brent Ehrler after today's Beaver Lake competition.

118: Total number of limits caught by the pro field after the first day of competition on Beaver Lake.

1233-15: Weight in pounds and ounces of the total catch by all pros at Beaver Lake after day one.

Sound bites

"I thought I had the biggest smallmouth of my life on the line." - FLW Tour pro Robert Blosser bemoaning the fact that the fish, in actuality, turned out to be an 8-pound walleye.

"It's a good thing we had Chevy Pro Night last night because I don't think a lot of people would want to come up and talk to me tonight." - Chevy Pro angler Anthony Gagliardi joking about his fans would now react to his less-than-stellar performance in today's competition.

"I don't think I've ever seen somebody weigh in an entire sack of smallmouth on Beaver Lake before." - FLW tournament host Charlie Evans, noting Mark Hardin's amazing five-fish stringer of smallmouth bass which was good enough for 26th place.

"Getting those big fish are the key here." - FLW Tour pro Brett Hite, arguably with the understatement of the day, explaining the importance of landing keeper fish over 2 pounds at Beaver Lake.

"I'm not picking up that Shaky Head. I'd just as soon go out on a date with you than pick up that Shaky Head." - FLW Tour pro Fred Contaoi signaling that a candlelight dinner with FLW tournament host Charlie Evans was preferable to fishing a certain style of bait.

"Today made me really appreciate that win more than anything. I had a really tough day out there today." - FLW Tour pro Stetson Blaylock, putting into perspective the joy of becoming the youngest angler to ever to win an FLW Tour event (which occurred last month at Lake Norman).

"I had a good first day at Lake Norman too but then the wheels fell off. This time around, I'm going to try and keep the wheels on." - FLW Tour pro Joe Thomas keeping his sixth-place finish in today's competition in perspective.

"We ain't going to add to that this week." - FLW Tour pro David Dudley, after a dismal day on the water, responding to FLW tournament host Charlie Evans announcement that Dudley is the current all-time FLW Outdoors' money leader.

Tags: gary-mortenson  quick-bites  2009-05-14-beaver-lake 

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