UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Erie

Tharp off and running

Tharp off and running
Pro leader Randall Tharp holds up his two biggest bass from day one on Beaver Lake.

ROGERS, Ark. - As expected, Beaver Lake delivered a little bit of everything on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour Major. A few prespawn bass were caught, some spawners were plucked from beds and lots of postspawn fish made their way to the scale. As it always is on Beaver, quality was hard to come by. But considering the bright, calm conditions, the bite wasn't too bad.

Leading the pack is EverStart pro Randall Tharp, who claimed his first FLW Tour win less than three months ago on Lake Okeechobee. Although there are no giant 8-pounders or thick mats to flip on the White River impoundment, Tharp once again has that look in his eye - that scary gaze that means he's on something special.

The Gardendale, Ala., native said he caught 15 largemouths and five spotted bass on his way to a 15-pound, 7-ounce stringer. While his day was undoubtedly successful, he lost the biggest bite he received.

"I had a real good practice coming in," said Tharp. "I'm known for practicing from daylight to dark, but for this event I was finishing up around 4 p.m. each day. That was mostly because I did not want people to see where I was fishing. I made sure that I was real cautious today as well; I tried not to stay in one spot for too long and did a lot of running and gunning."

Tharp caught four quality largemouths within the first 15 minutes of the day and had a limit by 8:15 a.m. Once he determined the type of cover the largemouths were relating to, he ran a pattern the rest of the day.

"I ran pretty far up the river and I caught some up there, and I caught some in the clear water down in the lake. A few of the bass that I weighed in were prespawn, I saw two spawners and there were quite a few postspawn fish as well. I'm pretty pleased with how everything went, but I really think I can catch more fish tomorrow, especially if the wind is blowing."

Tharp said his pattern is so specific to location and lure selection that he was unwilling to divulge any of the details.

"I don't think anyone else is doing what I'm doing. I'm fishing a certain bait on certain banks with just the right structure. It's real unique."

Beaver Lake is notorious for delivering nice catches one day and then completely shutting down the next. Tharp, however, seems incredibly confident no matter the conditions and wants to start pouring it on tomorrow.

"I think that there is a bigger bag out there. I'm pretty confident in my pattern and believe I'm going to be fishing all four days this week. I'm as confident now as I was when I won at Okeechobee - maybe more."

Powroznik second

Second-place pro Jacob Powroznik holds up part of his 14-pound, 11-ounce limit.Second-place angler Jacob Powroznik is well known on tour as a sight-fisherman so it's no surprise he caught his 14-pound, 11-ounce bag looking at them.

"I had 21 on bed marked coming into today," said the Snapple pro. "I caught five and two left so I think I have 14 still out there. And I found five more new ones."

The Prince George, Va., pro was boat No. 129 out this morning yet he still got to his fish first.

"I never saw another person sight-fish all day. And I still think a big wave is coming. The water has just now finally stabilized. When the water is falling, the big ones do not spawn. Everything has to be right. Right now, this reminds me a lot of Buggs Island back home."

Powroznik said if the wind does blow as predicted, he won't be able to see these specific beds.

"The problem is you've got to be able to see these fish to get them to bite. But I'm not afraid to just go fishing either. I caught them during practice like that when it was windy."

Browne rebounds from poor practice
Glenn Browne sits in third place after catching a limit worth 14-8.
After three bad days of fishing, Ocala, Fla., pro Glenn Browne decided to gamble and run up the river to chase largemouths. It paid off to the tune of a 14-pound, 8-ounce stringer and third place overall. All five of his weigh fish were largemouths and he culled four times.

"I'm already qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup so I figured I didn't have much to lose," said Browne. "But I caught them a lot better than I thought I would."

Browne did some flipping and some shallow-water power fishing in the stained water. He caught his limit by noon and spent a large part of the afternoon running new water.

"I just cannot use those little worms here. The big Gambler tube still plays for me."

Blaylock fourth

Stetson Blaylock sits in fourth place after catching a limit on day one worth 14 pounds, 6 ounces.STP pro Stetson Blaylock caught a five-bass limit Thursday that weighed 14 pounds, 6 ounces, good enough for fourth after day one. Blaylock said several times he had nice largemouths come up to his bait, but they wouldn't quite commit to biting.

"I had an awesome day, but I left some big ones out there," said the Benton, Ark., pro. "My primary pattern fell through, but the back-up pattern was better than expected."

Blaylock had most of his weight by 11 a.m. and caught his last kicker at noon. He said he weighed only largemouths and he's targeting largemouths exclusively.

"Believe it or not, I had a couple of 20-pound sacks during practice. Considering what happened with my primary pattern, I'm still happy to have what I have."

Canterbury, Romans tie for fifth

Scott Canterbury is in fifth place after day one with 14-5.Straight Talk pro Scott Canterbury and Jackall pro Christian Romans each caught limits worth 14 pounds, 5 ounces. While Canterbury was reticent after weigh-in, Romans said he caught his fish flipping lay-downs and throwing a square-bill crankbait.

"They're chasing minnows in the area I'm at," said the Carrollton, Ky., native. "I'm using the Jackall Sasuteki craw and the Jackall Aska where there's still a little water up in front of the bushes."

Romans weighed four largemouths and one spot while Canterbury weighed all largemouths.

Christian Romans is in fifth place with five fish weighing 14-5.Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros on Beaver Lake after day one:

7th: Jay Yelas of Corvallis, Ore., five bass, 14-3
8th: Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., five bass, 13-12
9th: Luke Clausen of Spokane, Wash., five bass, 13-9
10th: Thanh Lee of Lake Havasu, Ariz., five bass, 13-4

Pipkens leads co-anglers

Fourth-year co-angler Chad Pipkens caught a five-bass limit Thursday weighing 10 pounds, 12 ounces to lead the opening day of competition. Pipkens' creel consisted of three spotted bass and two largemouths. His kicker fish, which weighed 4 pounds, 8 ounces, was the Snickers Big Bass of the day.

Co-angler leader Chad Pipkens works a drop-shot Thursday morning."I caught one fish on a reaction bait and one fish on a topwater walking bait," said the Holt, Mich., native. "The rest came with a drop-shot."

Pipkens said he likes fishing Beaver because he thrives in tough-bite tournaments.

"Every fish counts so much more. And I really like fishing clear water."

Dalbey second

Rich Dalbey of Greenville, Texas, is in second place, one ounce off the pace with five bass weighing 10 pounds, 11 ounces.

Blackwood, Cobb, Hicks round out top five

Local angler Kenny Blackwood of Rogers, Ark., caught three bass that weighed 9 pounds, 6 ounces for third place among the co-anglers.

Maurice Cobb of Kuttawa, Ky., caught four bass weighing 7 pounds, 14 ounces for fourth.

Rob Hicks of Lula, Ga., rounds out the top five with 7 pounds, 8 ounces.

Rest of the best

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

6th: Greg O'Neal of Winchester, Tenn., four bass, 7-7
7th: Ralph Myhlhousen of Council Bluffs, Iowa, five bass, 7-4
8th: Steven Meador of Bella Vista, Ark., five bass, 7-3
9th: Clint Williams of Fayetteville, Ark., five bass, 7-0
10th: Sam Loveless of Somerset, Ky., three bass, 6-14

Day two of the FLW Tour on Beaver Lake will begin Friday at 6:30 a.m. from Prairie Creek Park located at 9300 N. Park Rd. in Rogers. Friday's weigh-in will be held at Prairie Creek Park beginning at 3 p.m.

Tags: brett-carlson  headline-story  2012-04-26-beaver-lake 

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