UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir


Christie claims lead at Beaver

Day-three leader Jason Christie holds up part of his 20-pound, 4-ounce stringer.

ROGERS, Ark. - This year's Walamrt FLW Tour on Beaver Lake has proved to be a roller-coaster ride for many of the anglers. Many of the top leaders seem to have a good catch one day, but stumble the next. Jason Christie on the other hand has been drastically improving his weights all week and now holds a 2-pound, 8-ounce lead over Brandon Coulter with 47-7 overall.

Christie fished for smallmouth on the first day and kicked himself for doing so because it only produced a 10-5 stringer - he was not throwing the A-rig either. On his last day of practice he caught a few big fish in the final hours of the day and knew there had to be more quality bites to be had. So, on the second day he made some adjustments, joined the rig club and started throwing it.

He didn't have a fish by 11 o'clock and remembered he had a gift from his kids in his pocket for luck - something he forgot about on day one. He said he rubbed his charm and had his day-two weight of 16-14 in short order. Today, the Rayovac pro went back to work with A-rig and good-luck charm in hand to haul in the days largest weight of 20-4.

"I kind of stumbled on two good schools of fish yesterday when the wind was blowing," said Christie. "The fish showed me where they lived yesterday, so today with no wind I knew where they should be hanging. I was a little worried that I put too much pressure on those fish yesterday because I had to catch a good limit to make up some ground.

"I had three places I wanted to fish today and I picked the right one to start. I had five good ones pretty quick to start my day. The majority of my fish came from the same places I fished yesterday so they are reloading."

The Park Hill, Okla., native decided after he caught some good fish to go do some practicing for the final day.

"I wanted to go looking for some other places that setup like where I had found those two big schools of fish," said the Rayovac pro. "I told my partner today that he was going to be my practice partner and we just started running trying to find other areas. I have around 15 spots that I caught fish off, some of them were small fish, but it told me they live there."

The places Christie is focusing on are essentially staging areas for fish waiting to move shallow and spawn.

"Every fish I have caught in the last two days have been snow white from their head to tail," Christie said. "That tells me they are going to keep coming. The only thing that does worry me is if it's real sunny and warm tomorrow they might think about moving to the bank with one thing on their mind. If they get on the bank and think about spawning they could be tough to catch."

Christie has been catching suspended fish so depth isn't as important to him as location is.

Tomorrows forecast calls for wind and lots of it from the south, though Christie wishes it would blow from the north. Wind or no wind he has shown that he is on the right caliber fish to do some serious damage.

Coulter slips to second

Brandon Coulter holds up his fourth keeper bass of the day, a 15-inch largemouth. Brandon Coulter got off to a great start on Beaver Lake with a 17-pound, 3-ounce catch on day one. His morning bite dwindled some on day two but the Knoxville, Tenn., resident caught 14-12 to take the lead. Coulter's weight slipped a little more today with an even slower morning but with 13 pounds his overall catch stands at 44-15 and keeps him in the hunt heading into the final day.

"I only had one fish by 11:30 this morning," said Coulter. "My fish were coming in spurts, but I didn't panic today. I just never got a big bite. There was about a 4-pounder that swiped at my rig near the boat but she never got it."

His primary species for the week has been largemouths, although some spotted bass get mixed in from time to time. Today, Coulter noticed he had quite a few spots crush his rig but never get hooked.

Coulter worked the same creek that has produced all week for him but caught his fish in different parts of the creek than he has been.

The Alabama rig also continues to be the only thing Coulter is throwing and plans to stick with it tomorrow.

"The rig is either going to bring this tournament home for me or not. Either way I know that rig is going to send me to one way; to a chiropractor," smiled Coulter.

Murphy third

Kentucky pro Shawn Murphy caught a 16-pound, 11-ounce limit Saturday to rise to third place.Shawn Murphy of Nicholasville, Ky., caught his largest limit of the tournament today - 16 pounds, 11 ounces - to propel him into third place. Matched with his previous day weights of 14-6 on day one and 13-1 from day two, Murphy sits with 44-2 as a cumulative weight.

Initially this week Murphy was catching his fish on a Wiggle Wart as opposed to an A-rig.

"I had been catching my fish all week on a Wiggle Wart," said Murphy. "I threw the rig a few times this week but I really like to catch them cranking. The conditions changed today and there was little wind so I made a change to an A-rig from my crankbait early in the day. I caught a 5-pounder off a dock early with it and just ran a dock pattern."

Aside from the lack of wind that put the fish off of his Wiggle Wart bite, Murphy also noticed his water cleared up. He was able to run the same areas with the A-rig that he fished with a crankbait all week and plans to stick with those same places tomorrow.

"I am fishing from the dam all the way to within three miles of Prairie Creek. I like the clear water so I'm going to stick with what I was doing. I will probably have two rods on my deck tomorrow, both tied up with A-rigs."

Kreiger up to fourth

Fourth-place pro Koby Kreiger makes roll casts to isolated wood and lay-downs on the bank.Coming off of a top-10 finish at Smith Lake - the location of the previous Walmart FLW Tour event - Koby Kreiger of Okeechobee Fla., is carrying some serious momentum. He also seems to be refining the tactic of using small umbrella rigs to roll cast at lay-downs - something Kreiger did at Smith and is utilizing on Beaver Lake this week.

Kreiger has been a model of consistency this week and it is reflected in is weight. He caught 13 pounds, 15 ounces on day one and backed that up on day two with 14-15. He matched his day one stringer today with another 13-15 catch. His three days of fishing gives the 2012 EverStart Series Championship winner a three-day total of 42-13.

The third day of this event presented cloudy and calm conditions hurting Kreiger's bite.

"I didn't get as many bites as I had yesterday," said Kreiger. "I really think the sun has more to do with my bite than anything but the wind does help. The bites I did get today just weren't getting the bait that well. A lot of my fish weren't hooked too well. It was like they could see the rig better and it kept them from eating it good."

Kreiger remains optimistic that he could catch a better bag on the final day, especially with some sun and wind.

"My better bites have come late in the day. I caught five keepers in 45 minutes this afternoon. I just need to be patient because there is a window when they start to eat and I'll have the opportunity to catch them."

Suggs fifth

Scott Suggs caught a 17-pound, 9-ounce limit of Beaver Lake smallmouths Saturday.Just an ounce behind Kreiger sits Folgers pro Scott Suggs. He has steadily increased his weights throughout the week with 11-10, 13-9 and 17-9 on days one, two and three, respectively. One of the most impressive stats for Suggs this week is that with a three-day total weight of 42-12 only one largemouth has been a part of his bag - the rest have been smallmouth.

"I always have played it safe when I come to Beaver by throwing a shaky head and just trying to cash a check," said Suggs. "This week in practice I started playing the wind and catching big smallmouth. I called my wife to tell her what I was on and she told me that they always burn me. But I was pretty confident in what I found so I stuck with it."

Considering the wind is what helped put Suggs on his bigger fish in practice, he surprisingly caught his largest limit today with barley much wind.

"I think the fish I was catching on the first two days were mostly males," the Bryant, Ark., native said. "Today, I noticed the females were showing up because that is what most of what I caught. I saw three more big ones today that my co-angler had so I think there is potential for a big sack."

Suggs originally got on his pattern of brown fish by throwing the A-rig in practice but the wind changed and his water temps fell and he couldn't get bit with the rig. So on the last day of practice he spent some time trying to find places he could fish with a north wind. He graphed several areas with his electronics and never made a cast to find what he was looking for.

"I have a certain area that around 1 o'clock I can catch them pretty good. Yesterday I went there around that time and culled everything I had. When I pulled up there again today I culled nine times."

His main fishing area is three different spots that are about a mile square.

Suggs is looking forward to the weather tomorrow because it should play out just like the weather he had in practice when he was getting his bigger bites.

Rest of the Best

Rounding out the top 10 pros who made the cutoff after day three:

6th: Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C., 41-9
7th: Mark Rose of West Memphis, Ark., 40-14
8th: Barry Wilson of Birmingham, Ala., 39-15
9th: Stacey King of Reeds Spring, Mo., 39-9
10th: Jim Dillard of West Monroe, La., 38-0

Day four of the Walmart FLW Tour will begin at 7 a.m. from Prairie Creek Park located at 9300 N. Park Road in Rogers, Ark.

Related links:

FLW Tour pros sound off - Day three Beaver Lake

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