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

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Beaver Lake Day 1 Coverage

Clark Wendlandt races to the next honey hole on day one of the FLW Tour on Beaver Lake; he is hoping this will be the year that he regains his title of "Mr.Beaver Lake".

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2:55 p.m.: Action slows in waning minutes

There's little to report from the water as we prepare for the day-one weigh-in. A few sprinkles fell at the ramp moments ago, and a hazy cloud cover continues to filter the sunlight. It does feel like the wind has slacked a tiny bit, but not enough to make sight-fishing possible in any pockets positioned in such a way that the wind can blow into the shoreline. For pros in the early flights, it's time to head in. Those who lucked out with later boat draws need to get busy if they want to surpass Dudley and Gagliardi, who are both flirting with weights in the "teens."

Check out FLW Live now for weigh-in.

 

2:05 p.m.: With weigh-in only an hour away, pros try to separate themselves from the pack

Right now there is a massive logjam of anglers with about 11 pounds, including Luke Clausen, John Cox, Scott Canterbury, Clark Wendlandt, Zack Birge and a few others. Behind them is another cluster of pros at about 9 pounds. Basically, there's a pack of 20 or 30 anglers who are one good fish away from having a serious shot at leading this tournament on day one.

Out in front right now are David Dudley, who just landed a fat smallmouth to upgrade to about 12 pounds, and Anthony Gagliardi with a 12- to 13-pound limit of smallmouths.

We experienced a flurry of fish-catch updates from about 1:15 to 2 p.m., after a long drought that set in after the morning bite, which favored the largemouth seekers, fizzled out.

Now's the time for pros to make a move and find that big kicker bite. The shallows experienced a temperature drop of several degrees since the last day of practice, but the water should have warmed a little during the day. Might there be a Beaver Lake hawg lurking near the bank that could boost a pro to the top?

Weigh-in starts at 3 p.m CT. Check back for a final update at about 2:30, and then watch along on FLW Live.

 

12:25 p.m.: More smallmouths and some chunky spots headed for weigh-in

Gagliardi isn't the only one catching keeper smallmouths. Larry Nixon upgraded with a few too. His apparently weren't as big becuase he's just now flirting with double-digits.

Also, Zack Birge's 10- to 11-pound limit is all spotted bass, so maybe the "other" species can compete with the largemouths today.

Elsewhere, Scott Canterbury is in the 11-pound cluster, as is Clark Wendlandt. It seems pretty tough for pros to get over that 11-pound hump.

The wind is still blowing here, but it has warmed up, and the sun pokes through every now and then. Expect the bite to heat up and for pros with a late boat draw to have a little bit of an advantage today.

 

Anthony Gagliardi is targeting smallmouth on day one of the FLW Tour on Beaver Lake. He had an early limit of brownies for about 12 to 13 pounds.

11:39 a.m.: Gagliardi unlocks smallmouth bite to take the lead

It's unofficial, of course, but Anthony Gagliardi is your tournament leader right now. He has 12 to 13 pounds in his livewell. The best part: All his fish are smallmouths. There aren't many pros down in Gagliardi's area, since most were tempted by shallow patterns and spawning fish in the mid- and upper lake. That sounds like good news for the reigning Cup champ, who's the only pro to unlock the smallmouth bite thus far - at least that we've heard of.

This morning, Gagliardi requested that we not rig an iON in his boat. He wasn't being unfriendly. Rather, he says he has a pretty unique pattern going, and he wants for it to remain a secret at least until the final round. Don't worry, we'll get him wired up tomorrow so we can share a video of how he's catching them on Saturday.

Last year several pros, including top-10 finishers Eric Olliverson and Micah Frazier, used a technique called "scrubbing," which involves slowly fishing small swimbaits or grubs on ultra-light line in deep water to catch smallmouths on or near their beds. They caught good limits of smallies early in the tournament. Unfortunately, that pattern didn't hold up. It's very weather-dependent, so a change in sunlight or wind can shut off the fish.

Gags is being hush-hush about what he's doing, so we can't say if he's scrubbing or not. But if that bite turns on, other pros (especially Ozark locals who know the program) might get in on the smallmouth action too.

 

11:06 a.m.: Spots and largemouths continue to trickle in as pros look for upgrades

No one is exactly lighting up the leaderboard right now. That said, a couple of pros who hinted at being on some better quality fish have managed to escape the eyes of our OTW team this morning. That's understandable, of course (but we're hunting them down now). With as much time as these guys have spent on Beaver Lake over the years, a secret pattern or location is very valuable. They're trying to keep those fish hidden from other pros and the media.

As in typical years, there's a logjam of anglers in that 9- to 11-pound range.

A quick rundown: Michael Wooley has a limit for 9 pounds, as does Cody Meyer. Nick Hensley and Richard Peek have four small fish apiece. Tom Redington and Adrian Avena have three each, fishing on opposite ends of the lake. David Dudley has an 11-pound limit and is upgrading. Vic Vatalaro has a limit of about 9 pounds fishing deep water. Scott Martin had two quality keepers this morning, and we'll check back in with him later today for another report.

About 10 other anglers that we've seen have one or two keepers apiece - almost all spots and largemouths.

There's still a long time to go in this one, and we have no real frontrunner at this point. Stay tuned.

 

10:06 a.m.: Smallmouths are no-shows as largemouths push pros out in front

David Dudley has had pretty good luck this morning in Beaver's lower end. He's culled up to about 11 pounds. Other than that, the lower end is incredibly quiet. Adrian Avena was hunting smallmouths, perhaps chasing ghosts where he fished down there last year, but hasn't found any yet. He does have three "green" keepers though.

Several pros have landed nice spotted bass, but they'll be lucky to reach double-digit weights with limits of spots. The middle part of the lake has been kind of slow too. Fish are being caught off beds, but most of the bigger spawners have vanished. Right now, the morning has been "won" by pros fishing for largmouths upriver in stained water.

No one has put together a limit there yet, at least that we've heard about, but several largemouths weighing from 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 pounds have been caught from the White River and War Eagle Creek. It'll be interesting to see how that bite holds up. Traditionally, the river bite starts to taper off as Tour events go on, usually because the fish get picked through early and don't replenish. It held up for Arey last year, but he had a pretty specific pattern going for "fresh" fish that were moving in and staging to spawn.

 

9:13 a.m.: Many beds are empty this morning

The story in the middle part of Beaver Lake is that many of the bass that were all over the beds in practice have been "shocked" back to deep water by the cold. Some have been caught, as referenced by an earlier post here, but the big ones that several pros had marked with waypoints aren't there anymore.

The stained water up the White River still seems to be the place for big fish - all largemouths, of course. As for the lower end of the lake, the action is pretty slow. We've had very few reports from that area, but our crew is retrieving photos down there now, so we should have a better idea of what's happening in "smallmouth territory" in a few minutes. Those big brown fish can easily push a pro into the top 10, but they're moody, roaming fish that are tough to track down.

 

8:58 a.m.: Big largemouths are starting to bite

Scott Martin checked in a little before 9 a.m. with a pair of chunky largemouths in the boat. By his estimate, the two fish weigh about 3 1/2 and 2 1/2 pounds. If he can fill his limit even with small keepers he'll be in prime position in this event, plus he's already near the top of the AOY race, so there's a lot to gain if he has a good tournament. Let's not get ahead of ourselves too much, though. There's a lot of fishing left. But still, to have about 6 pounds in the boat with only two fish puts Martin in a great place.

Martin's catch also shows that the largemouths are biting. They produced the win last year for Matt Arey, and Travis Fox caught a couple of big bags of largemouths last year. Typically, the big largies come from up the White River, where the water is a little more stained. A pre-tournament report said that the White was a little clearer than normal this year, but one of our OTW reporters says there's a nice stain to the water, prompting the pros up the White to wind spinnerbaits and flip Texas rigs - both great tactics for intercepting a big shallow largemouths.

 

That makes four for the Bentonville, Ark., pro Greg Bohannan on day one of the FLW Tour on Beaver Lake.

8:23 a.m.: Action starting to heat up for sight-fishermen

Yeah, the wind is blowing, but the steep terrain of Beaver Lake creates plenty of protected pockets where pros can sight-fish. The bed bite is picking up a little too, with a few pros reporting small keepers that were plucked off beds. Some pros are working through spawning pockets quickly with spinnerbaits and mixing in pitches with Texas rigs. Others are targeting spotted bass in deeper water.

Local Greg Bohannan is off to a strong start. He has four keepers, with the biggest a 2 1/2-pounder. The unofficial leader, however, is David Dudley. He's already culling and is up to about 11 pounds. It'll take more than that to hold the lead by day's end, but that's a solid foundation just two hours into this tournament.

 

And they're off to find the first honey hole on day one of the FLW Tour on Beaver Lake.

7:53 a.m.: Windy, chilly conditions challenge the pros early on

If bass are on the beds, as most pros say they are, conditions aren't promoting the sight bite right now. A 12-mph wind blowing steadily across the lake is making it tough to spot spawners in unprotected areas. Elsewhere, pollen on the surface of the water has created another visual barrier.

Of course, the brisk 46-degree air temperature this morning likely isn't helping to push new fish into spawning areas anyway. Blake Nick was on the hunt for a reported 5-pounder that he spotted in a cove in practice, but it wasn't back on its nest this morning. He thinks the cold shocked her and she left. Elsewhere, pros are tossing jerkbaits on points outside spawning creeks and coves. The cool air and surface chop are prime for a jerkbait bite, but we'll have to wait and see if the prespawn bass are cooperative.

So far, Nick and Matt Arey are the only pros to report much action, but Nick's two keepers are small. Arey has a 3-plus in the livewell, his only keeper. Stay tuned to the FLW On The Water feed for live updates.

 

Tags: flw-tour  beaver-lake  headline-story  2015-04-23-beaver-lake 

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