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Beaver Lake Day 2 Coverage

Beaver Lake Day 2 Coverage
Co-angler JR Ball stands ready with the net for pro Tim Malone as he lands another keeper on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour on Beaver Lake.

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2:21 p.m.: Cloud cover moving back in as pros try to upgrade before weigh-in

We're less than an hour from the day-two weigh-in, and there's still no clear front-runner. Bryan Thrift, who opened the day in second place, has a decent bag but not huge. Leader Jacob Wheeler is struggling though, with only three keepers. He has several 4-pound-plus fish on beds that just won't bite.

Matt Arey and Scott Canterbury each have solid bags too, which means the top five will be all knotted up when weigh-in ends today.

The weather continues to change. Just an hour ago the sun was shining bright, and the wind had tapered to little more than a breeze. It's starting to pick up again now. By the end of weigh-in, we'll probably receive another round of rain, depending on how far north an approaching storm system travels when it crosses the area.

You can check out all the drama of what's sure to be a close weigh-in via FLW Live at 3 p.m. CT.

 

Jacob Wheeler is targeting bed fish on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour on Beaver Lake.

1:19 p.m.: The bed-fishing bite is heating up in the White River, with plenty of visible fish starting to bite

"They just started biting," Scott Canterbury told one of our On The Water reporters moments ago. He's fishing up the river and targeting spawners around laydowns and buck brush. There are plenty of visible beds, and the fish are starting to cooperate. Jacob Wheeler is capitalizing too. He just caught a 2-pounder and now has three keepers.

Tracy Adams checks in with a 12-pound limit, and several others have added quality keepers in the last hour.

One On The Water reporter commented that the pros always run around a lot on Beaver, but today is ridiculous. They're running around all over, hopping from spot to spot as quickly as they can. The door's still open. Who will capitalize?

 

12:55 p.m.: Beautiful weather and ideal sight-fishing conditions send pros packing in search of key late-day kickers

Small fish abound in the livewells of the 154 pros fishing the FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake today. But right now, wonderful mid-60s temperatures, sunshine and slacking winds have the pros running and gunning in search of bigger bites. New fish could be moving up, but even if not, the conditions are perfect for sight-fishing. Just one big bite could change the outcome of this event in a big way.

A lot of the field is fishing shallow, targeting a mix of flooded bushes and laydowns, "sawdust piles" of floating pollen and debris, and gravel spawning areas. The top 20 will likely be decided in the final hours of the day.

 

11:27 a.m.: Sunshine offers key sight-fishing window

In the time it took to pound out the last update, the sun finally broke the clouds over Prairie Creek Marina. This window of bright, relatively calm conditions should give the sight-fishermen a chance to pluck a few off beds. Wheeler was hoping for sunshine; now he's got it. Could this be his opportunity?

 

11:18 a.m.: Key fish propels Thrift as Wheeler grinds it out

North Carolina pro Bryan Thrift is the unofficial leader as of right now. He pulled a 3 1/2-pound largemouth out of a flooded bush to cull out a tiny squeaker, and that's plenty enough to surpass Wheeler, who had a 5-ounce lead over Thrift coming into today and who has only two keepers, with one a runt.

Thrift was a favorite coming into this event. He's the type of angler who can run new water and figure out new patterns on the fly, which is always critical at Beaver Lake, but he's also a grinder who can pluck five fish from here and there while running a lot of water.

The approaching rain will likely make Wheeler's sight-fishing program very difficult, but it could turn on these Ozarks smallmouths and spotted bass, opening the door other anglers to make a move too. This should be an interesting afternoon.

 

10:52 a.m.: The door is open for a new leader

There's not a whole lot of news to report right now, but that in and of itself is the news. Tournament leaders Bryan Thrift and Jacob Wheeler are struggling a bit right now. Thrift caught a limit early, but it's very small, and Wheeler has only two keepers. They've left the door open for someone else to make a run at the lead.

Clark Wendlandt has a couple of nice fish, and David Dudley has four keepers, including three largemouths. This tournament is so knotted up with pros in the 9- to 11-pound range that truly anyone could move into contention today.

 

9:39 a.m: It's a grind on Beaver Lake on "Survival Day"

Fish catching is slow but steady right now. Matt Arey has three keepers, but they're all small. Cody Meyer has a 2-pounder. Bryan Thrift has culled, but he still only has small ones.

Darrel Davis is the only angler in the top 10 who we've spoken to who claims that his fish are biting good this morning. He's flipping buck brush with soft plastics and has a couple of decent largemouths in his livewell.

Pros are still sight-fishing and targeting spawning areas for fish they can't see, but there's no sunshine or warming trend to push new bass into those areas. To offer up the classic bass fishing cliche: It's a grind today. In fact, it's starting to feel like today is just about surviving. Sunshine and warmer weather are in the forecast for the weekend, and the fishing should be fantastic ... for the 20 pros who manage to get there.

 

8:51 a.m.: Plenty of small fish, but the big ones are playing hooky

Our On The Water crew is monitoring the top five right now, and they're catching fish. Arey and Wheeler are on the board, and Thrift has a limit. Of course, they're all small fish. Wheeler is struggling to get his fish to bite. Arey is singing the blues because his fish "keep getting smaller." And Thrift has yet to encounter a good one.

It's still plenty early, but we just did a radar check, and it's fixing to get ugly this afternoon. These guys need to get busy catching fish this morning and through lunchtime. There's a major storm moving across parts of Texas and Oklahoma. It looks as if the most severe parts of the system will skirt by Beaver Lake to the south, but plenty of rain is coming our way. The forecast calls for the wet stuff to start falling at about 2 p.m.

 

8:15 a.m.: Bass still on beds but tough to make bite

This morning's storms didn't push Beaver Lake's spawning largemouths off their beds, at least not where Jacob Wheeler is fishing. His fish are there but not cooperating. "They're being weird today. I'm having a hard time getting them fired up enough to bite," he says.

Bryan Thrift, however, isn't having as much difficulty. He already has two smallmouths and a largemouth in the boat. Thrift's fish aren't very big, but on a rainy, nasty day, having three in the box so early is a nice comfort. Also, Thrift isn't looking at his fish, which he believes are on beds. Maybe the extra stealth is what's helping him get bites.

 

Pro Brad Knight launches early but is staying close to shore ready to take shelter if the predicted thunderstorm arrives as scheduled.

7:20 a.m.: Thunderstorm delays day-two takeoff until 7:15

They're off, finally. A pretty wicked thunderstorm rolled over Prairie Creek Marina at about 6 a.m. Tournament Director Bill Taylor initially delayed takeoff until 6:45 a.m. due to lightning and low visibility, but the rainfall and lightning increased at about that time, prompting another delay until 7. Finally, the system passed, and following prayer and the national anthem, the boats left the marina at about 7:15.

A few sprinkles continue to fall at Prairie Creek, as scattered showers continue across Beaver Lake. A cool wind is blowing too. That spells bad news for the sight-fishermen. They might need to fall back on Plan B with reduced visibility. Tournament leader Jacob Wheeler, while huddled under the Folgers coffee tent, admitted that he'd have a tough time catching his bedding fish with these conditions. Cody Meyer said the same thing at yesterday's weigh-in. Bryan Thrift, who was catching bedding bass yesterday but wasn't looking at them, might be safe today with his program, but it's probably a good bet that day two will present anglers with a typical Beaver Lake challenge: figuring out how to deal with changing conditions. Rarely does someone fish the same pattern every day on Beaver Lake and win - Matt Arey being the exception last season. 

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

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