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

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

No spawn in sight

Clouds and wind greet anglers on Beaver Lake for the third event of the Walmart FLW Tour season.

ROGERS, Ark. - When planning for this event after the last Walmart FLW Tour stop on Smith Lake about a month ago, many pros were thinking a sight-fishing tournament could prevail this week. However, Mother Nature quickly changed that thought with cooler temperatures and plenty of rain. Considering Beaver was nearly 12 feet low a month ago, the lake now sits just a few feet below normal pool and, as such, the third event of the tour season should feature a solid prespawn bite.

The weather during practice this week was warm - mid 70s - and fairly stable, until yesterday. A massive storm system blew through the Midwest bringing rain and wind. During takeoff this morning remnants of the system remained with some light sprinkles, but the bigger factor from the storm is the nearly 20-degree drop in the high temperature from what the anglers saw in practice.

Bridgford Foods pro Randy Blaukat is used to fishing Ozark lakes and knows how these fish are affected by the weather. So just what will the weather change do to these Beaver Lake bass?

Randy Blaukat organizes some rods early in the morning. "As long as the wind stays up today the fish shouldn't be affected that much," said Blaukat. "The water temps shouldn't drop that much today either so it should be all right. Tomorrow the bite should be worse if the wind lays down like it's being forecasted to.

"When it comes down to it, this is the month of April and the fish want to be shallow. With the full moon coming up and longer days, the fish just want to be shallow."

With this being the FLW Tour's 15th visit to the White River impoundment, one thing many anglers have learned is what parts of the lake hold the better fish. The area around Prairie Creek seems to be the usual suspect for anglers who have done well in the past. One of the more interesting notes to Beaver is how every year no one bait dominates - it seemingly changes from year to year. The common suspects this year are jerkbaits, finesse rigs and yes, the umbrella rig. David Dudley used the A-rig to accumulate most of his winning fish last year, but this year the question is: Will the rig dominate the event?

"I hope it (umbrella rig) doesn't play this year," said the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup champion, Scott Martin. "I have one tied on but I will be sticking with more traditional stuff. I am going to have three rods on the deck and keep a simple approach. These fish are close to their spawning areas and I bet in the next 10 days they will be spawning."

Since the spawn has yet to occur, most of the field hopes to see bigger bags of fat, prespawn bass.

Scott Martin gives a look at one of his jigs. "I think we are going to see some typical Beaver weights this year," Martin continued. "With a prespawn bite there are going to be lots of fish caught. It normally takes around 11 pounds a day to make the first cut, but with how fat these bass are, I think it will be a solid 11-pound average to make the cut."

Beaver Lake requires a 15-inch minimum length to keep both largemouth and smallmouth, and only a 12-inch minimum on spotted bass, so finding a kicker bite can quickly help an angler jump to the top of the leaderboard. While bucketmouths traditionally offer the big-fish opportunity, rumors of 4- to 5-pound smallies have been surfacing this week. Although the smallmouths in Beaver are generally reclusive, the prespawn period is ideal for anglers to capitalize on key bites from bass that aren't green.

Beaver is known as a lake that produces plenty of fish, just no giants. But after a wicked spring cold front, it remains to be seen what kind of toll it will take.

"Last year the fish were biting a little better than now, but the quality has gotten better this year," said Blaukat, who is a Joplin, Mo., native. "There will be some isolated big stringers of fish, but the tournament is going to get tougher every day. I think today will be the heaviest weight day of the entire week."

Logistics

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

A look down at Prairie Creek where many anglers will spend some time this week. 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 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. On Sunday the first 300 children 14 and under who are accompanied by an adult will receive a voucher to redeem for a free rod and reel combo courtesy of KMCK Power 105.7 FM after Sunday's final weigh-in. Also on Sunday one lucky fishing fan will win a Can-Am ATV courtesy of KNWA. The ATV giveaway is free to enter but the winner must be present at the conclusion of Sunday's final weigh-in to win.

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 either the FLW or FLW Tour home pages.

Thursday's conditions

Sunrise: 6:48 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 34 degrees
Expected high temperature: 50 degrees
Water temperature: 55-58 degrees
Wind: W 10-20 mph
Maximum humidity: 97 percent (morning)
Day's outlook: overcast early, partly cloudy in the afternoon

Tags: kyle-wood  morning-story  2013-04-11-beaver-lake 

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