UPCOMING EVENT: YETI FLW COLLEGE FISHING - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Boom or bust at Beaver

FLW Tour anglers patiently wait for the start of competition Thursday morning.

ROGERS, Ark. - After a one-year hiatus, the Walmart FLW Tour has returned to Beaver Lake. The White River impoundment has a long and storied history in professional bass fishing, hosting some of the first events for both major tournament organizations. While Beaver has been a fixture on the FLW schedule, few anglers have ever fished it this early in the season.

What they've found in three days of practice has been startling. Instead of receiving numerous bites, anglers have been lucky to get five per day. And instead of seeing a plethora of dinks, the pros are stunned at how large the fish are. In other words, Beaver Lake is doing a 180.

The main culprit for the differences is water temperature. Like much of the country, the Ozarks have experienced a harsh winter. Only recently have the creeks thawed and the snow melted. Chevy pro Anthony Gagliardi prepares for the first day of competition on Beaver Lake.
The water has started to climb to the upper 40s, but the cold winter caused a major shad kill. And right on cue, the opportunistic bass have capitalized. The result is some extremely fat and healthy fish.

But getting those lethargic fish to bite is trying, to say the least. This time of year, three techniques tend to loom large. When the water temperature is in the low to mid-40s, the grub is effective. That was the technique used by pro winner Brent Ehrler last year on nearby Table Rock Lake. When the water temp increases to the upper 40s, jerkbaits and crankbaits, especially the Storm Wiggle Wart, tend to be productive.

"It's tough, but even when it's not tough, it's still tough here if that makes sense," said Chevy pro Anthony Gagliardi. "I think we'll probably see a higher top-10 weight than in the past, but after that it's going to drop off significantly.

"And of the three baits, I think most guys are going to be throwing jerkbaits. The grub is such a specific bite. Few guys have enough knowledge and experience to do it. Anybody can throw a jerkbait."

Techniques aside, this will be an interesting tournament in terms of strategy. During the prespawn, quality fish tend to group up. And while these little honeyholes are nearly impossible to find, they are Two FLW Tour anglers cast towards a point Thursday morning.incredibly generous. But questions remain as to whether or not the tournament can be won on just one of these little sweet spots like it was for Ehrler last year.

"It's possible," said Gagliardi, who won the 2009 Table Rock event in similar conditions. "But I don't think that's how it will be won, and I certainly don't have anything like that. But every lake has those kinds of places. But Beaver doesn't have nearly as many as Table Rock."

The consensus among the anglers is that approximately 24 pounds will be needed to make the top-20 cutoff. But many pros are predicting a few 20-pound stringers will be brought to the scale.

Logistics

Anglers will take off from Prairie Creek Park located at 9300 N. Park Rd. in Rogers at 7 each morning. Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will also be held at Prairie Creek Park beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday's final weigh-ins will be held at the John Q. Hammons Center located at 3303 Pinnacle Hills Pkwy. in Rogers beginning at 4 p.m.

Fans will be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at the John Q. Hammons Center on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-ins. The first 300 kids 14 and under on Sunday will Pretournament favorite Greg Bohannan is all smiles Thursday morning.
receive a free rod and reel combo compliments of Power 105.7. Fans can also register to win a Can-Am ATV courtesy of KNWA-TV which will be given away following the final weigh-in. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public.

In FLW Tour competition, pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, controlling boat movement and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. The full field competes in the two-day opening round. After day two the field is pared to the top 20 pros and co-anglers. The co-angler competition concludes at Saturday's weigh-in and the top-10 pros continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.

On the Web

For those who can't catch the weigh-in action in person, FLWOutdoors.com offers FLW Live, an online application that brings fans real-time weigh-in results, streaming video and audio.

In addition to FLW Live, FLWOutdoors.com is offering real-time updates from the water throughout each day of the Beaver Lake event. Simply click on the "On the Water Coverage" banner from any of the home pages.

Thursday's conditions

Sunrise: 6:44 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 45 degrees
Expected high temperature: 68 degrees
Water temperature: 43-48 degrees
Wind: SSE at 15 mph
Maximum humidity: 52 percent
Day's outlook: partly cloudy

Tags: brett-carlson  morning-story  2011-03-03-beaver-lake 

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