UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Overcoming the Beaver Lake curse

Overcoming the Beaver Lake curse
Day-one leader Dave Lefebre boats his fifth keeper.

ROGERS, Ark. - For much of his professional fishing career, Beaver Lake has been the bane of Dave Lefebre's existence. Without the northwestern Arkansas impoundment on the schedule every year, Lefebre would likely have several Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year trophies on his mantel. But over the last few years, he's slowly started to figure it out. And today he put that knowledge and experience to work - sacking the tournament's biggest limit.

Despite warmer temperatures, the bite Thursday was still poor. Nearly a third of the field either caught a single keeper or zeroed. While some predicted 20-pound stringers would be caught, Lefebre's 16-4 sits on top of the leaderboard. And even the pro leader was confused until the very end of practice.

"I got three bites Sunday, one bite Monday and six bites Tuesday," said the Erie, Pa., pro. "Late in the day Tuesday I found one great area. But you still never really know what you have in these tough Pro leader Dave Lefebre holds up part of his 16-pound, 4-ounce limit. tournaments because you're shaking off most of your bites."

Now that he's fished his best stuff hard, Lefebre's confidence is growing. The spot he's fishing is what he called a small, prespawn honeyhole. When asked to clarify "small" he explained that you can make two different casts on it. He fishes from one position for a while and then repositions the boat and focuses on a new stretch. His Frosted Flakes-wrapped Ranger sits in 80 feet of water, but Lefebre wouldn't say what depth he casts into.

"I can catch keepers on it all day long, I think," Lefebre added. "It was a place I thought I could catch two or three to get the day started at least and I'd be struggling from there on, but this spot seems to be replenishing itself. It's a perfect prespawn type of deal.

Lefebre's limit consisted of four largemouths and one spotted bass. In total, he caught approximately 15 keepers on the day. As for baits, Lefebre said he didn't want to go there yet. He did he say he's making long casts and fishing extremely slow in clear water.

"I'm not going to get my hopes up yet. I'm real happy to be leading. This lake has been a thorn in my side for many years, and now I'm starting to understand it."

Lucas second

National Guard pro Justin Lucas weighed in five bass for 15 pounds, 13 ounces to begin the event in second place. Lucas, the recent Guntersville, Ala., transplant, said he too is fishing deep, clear water.

Second-place pro Justin Lucas shows off his two biggest from day one on Beaver Lake. "My last day of practice was good; I found one key area and caught a 7-pounder," he said. "But this morning my goal was to just start with a limit and then get to 10 pounds."

All of Lucas' keepers came during a one-hour, mid-morning flurry. Four were largemouths and one was a spotted bass. His biggest fish, a 5-6 largemouth, was the Snickers Big Bass of the day in the Pro Division. Lucas said all of his fish fell to Lucky Craft jerkbaits presented over water 20-30 feet deep. The bass were suspended over the deep water in approximately 5 feet near a bed of standing timber.

"I'm fishing slow and patient and I really have to make accurate casts. If I'm off just a little bit I'll get hung up in the trees and that will spook the fish in my spot."

Looks describes his primary spot as a prespawn area, not a small spot like fellow National Guard pro Brent Ehrler won on last year. He's got company in the area too, but he believes it will replenish.

"I actually pulled the bait away from three or four fish today. They were just 2-pounders, but they will help tomorrow."

Kerr third with mixed bag

Justin Kerr caught five bass Thursday weighing 14 pounds, 4 ounces, good enough for third place in the Pro Division.Simi Valley, Calif., pro Justin Kerr had never seen Beaver Lake until four days ago. Like most, he struggled during the majority of practice. But today the fishing improved considerably as he brought in a 14-pound, 4-ounce limit. Three of his fish were largemouths, one a smallmouth and one a spot.

"I was surprised I caught what I did today," Kerr said. "I just went to one part of the lake and stayed in one small area."

Kerr used finesse jigs, jerkbaits and crankbaits, but the jerkbaits accounted for the most fish.

"The jerkbait early was the deal, but my two biggest fish came on a 3/16-ounce Evergreen finesse jig."

Kerr also said he fished in 10-25 feet of clear water.

"I think I know where they're coming from but I don't where they're going. I only have this spot and I don't know where else to go."

Schenck fourth

Indiana pro Shad Schenck gets to work Thursday morning. Waynetown, Ind., pro Shad Schenck owns the fourth-place spot after day one with 13 pounds, 9 ounces. Schenck weighed four largemouths and a spot. The Purdue University alum is on a bit of a roll after finishing the Okeechobee event in 18th place.

"I just had a really good day, especially with how the lake is," he said. "I caught nine keepers moving around a lot and working a pattern. And I think tomorrow can be even better."

Schenck focused on the clear, mid-lake section of the impoundment. In that clear water, he said his Berkley fluorocarbon line was key. As for baits, he won't reveal what he's throwing just yet.

"My practice was pretty bad, but I learned a lot from those few key bites. And I'm used to that being from Indiana. That's what we do every tournament; we put the puzzle together with just a few clues."

Brauer junk-fishes for fifth

Chad Brauer of Osage Beach, Mo., is in fifth place with 13 pounds, 4 ounces. Despite considerable Fifth-place pro Chad Brauer caught a limit Thursday weighing 13 pounds, 4 ounces.experience in the Ozarks, Brauer said he did not expect to have that kind of success.

"I caught five fish on three different baits in three different areas," he said. "Basically I'm looking for fish that have moved up and are in prespawn mode. But there's just not a lot of fish up. Most are still in their winter patterns."

Brauer's shallow-water sack consisted of all largemouths. Two of those were caught flipping, something he wants to do more of.

"I thought that would be the deal, especially in the afternoon, but it didn't happen."

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros in the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake after day one:

6th: Stacey King of Reeds Spring, Mo., five bass, 12-4
7th: Bobby McMullin of Pevely, Mo., five bass, 12-3
8th: Roy Hawk of Salt Lake City, Utah, five bass, 12-0
9th: Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., four bass, 11-6
10th: Matthew Stefan of Chicago, Ill., five bass, 11-5

Blaylock blasts 13-6 for co-angler lead

Keeton Blaylock leads the Co-angler Division after catching a 13-pound, 6-ounce limit.Keeton Blaylock, brother of Amp pro Stetson Blaylock, leads the Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 6 ounces. While only one other co-angler caught a limit, Blaylock said he caught at least a dozen keepers on the day.

"I started catching them pretty quick," said the Benton, Ark., native. "I had a limit by 10:30 this morning and it was pretty much all day after that. It was the best day of fishing I've ever had on this lake."

Blaylock weighed in three largemouths and two spotted bass. He fished the deep, clear water with pro Gene Eisenmann.

"It's pretty amazing to be leading. I just need to go out, stay calm and catch me another sack tomorrow."Jeffrey Cummins is in second place in the Co-Angler Division with 9-15.

Cummins second

FLW Tour rookie Jeffrey Cummins of Marion, Ohio, is in second place with three bass weighing 9 pounds, 15 ounces.

Cummins finished third at last year's Lake Okeechobee FLW Series event.

Foster, Nation, Lawson round out top five

Van Foster Jr. of Dalton, Ga., caught the only other Beaver Lake limit Thursday weighing 8 pounds, 1 Van Foster of Dalton, Ga., is in third place in the Co-angler Division.ounce. His catch, which consisted of three spotted bass and two largemouths, came from cranking the deep, clear water. Foster, who finished fourth last year at Table Rock, starts tomorrow in third place.

"I really like these cold-weather tournaments," he said. "The prespawn just seems to fit my style."

In fourth place was Tony Nation of Springdale, Ark., with two bass weighing 7 pounds, 6 ounces. Two ounces behind him was Ronnie Lawson of Hollister, Mo.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers in the Beaver Lake event after day one:

6th: Jacques Fleischmann of Lampe, Mo., three bass, 7-0
7th: Jim Campbell of Maryville, Tenn., four bass, 6-15
8th: Johnny Carr of Loxley, Ala., four bass, 6-13
9th: Maurice Cobb of Kuttawa, Ky., one bass, 6-10
10th: Moo Bae of West Friendship, Md., three bass, 6-8

Day two of the FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake will begin Friday at 7 a.m. from Prairie Creek Park located at 9300 N. Park Rd. in Rogers.

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

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