UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - James River

Beaver Lake Top 10 Patterns

Beaver Lake Top 10 Patterns
Jeff Sprague

Things were changing fast on Beaver Lake for the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Jack Link’s this time around, and as a result patterns were wide open from one end of the lake to the other.

Bass were changing from a prespawn to spawn mode by the day. Rapidly changing weather and water clarities kept the pros on their feet, and those who adapted to the changes fastest were the ones who ended up on top.

Tournament winner Scott Canterbury, the Quaker State pro, worked a single pattern of fishing jigs in spawning pockets in the White River, but he tweaked his jigs and presentations each day as the fish moved from prespawn to spawn.

Many others in the top 10 detected this change as well and observed that the action seemed to shift shallower as the tournament progressed.

Here is a look at the rest of the top 10 and how they handled Beaver Lake.

Canterbury's winning pattern

Top 10 baits

Complete results

 

Darrel Robertson

2. Robertson finishes runner-up by fishing bushes

Darrel Robertson of Jay, Okla., took the runner-up spot at Beaver Lake with a total of 61 pounds, 4 ounces.

He played a two-part program at Beaver Lake, spending the first two days down in the lake’s clearer section throwing a wacky worm and sight-fishing.

On day three, his clear-water pattern went flat, and with just an hour left in the day, Robertson retreated closer to the ramp to pitch bushes. In the closing minutes of day three he caught a 4 1/2- and a 2 1/2-pounder, which not only saved his day, but also gave him a starting point on day four.

On the final day Robertson discovered just how strong his bush-pitching pattern was as he caught 3-pounder after 3-pounder from bushes that were in just a foot of water or less. His best bushes were in the Rocky Branch area in shallow, flat pockets.

“I really don’t think the fish were spawning in those bushes,” Robertson says. “I think they were up there in those bushes feeding. Those flat pockets had wind blowing into them, which had colored up the water. Those fish were eating.”

Robertson’s wacky rig the first couple of days consisted of a green pumpkin Zoom Trick Worm and a Yamamoto Senko tied to 12-pound-test braid and a 10-pound-test fluorocarbon leader. His pitching jig was a 1/2-ounce homemade jig featuring the old-style brown rubber skirt teamed with an Uncle Josh Meat Craw trailer.

 

Jeff Sprague

3. Sprague cranked and looked for third

Jeff Sprague of Point, Texas, posted the highest finish of his Walmart FLW Tour pro career at Beaver Lake, finishing third with a total of 60 pounds, 13 ounces.

Sprague’s strategy for the week was to crank rock banks in the morning for a limit and then run up the river and fish for spawning bass that were just starting to make beds.

When cranking, Sprague relied on a Lucky Craft 1.5 crankbait in a custom-painted craw color tied to 12-pound-test fluorocarbon. He fished parallel to the banks in the mid-lake creeks and tried to connect the crankbait to the ends of laydowns where bass were staging to spawn.

Once he secured a limit, Sprague would run up the river and throw a floating worm (bubble gum) in areas where visible fish were spawning. He did catch some by sight-fishing as well, but his goal was to use the floating worm to catch the bigger females hanging around bedding areas.

 

Scott Martin

4. Martin all over the map for fourth

Perhaps no one fished in more places and with more lures during the week than Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla., who posted a fourth-place finish with a total of 59 pounds, 8 ounces.

Martin’s tournament week started with sight-fishing in the lake’s lower end. On day two, wind and clouds began to negatively impact his sight-fishing, so he switched up and headed up the rivers into the colored water.

On day three he stayed in Prairie Creek near the takeoff and the adjacent river area and cranked a red Livetarget HFC (hunt for center) Crawfish crankbait and a red SPRO Little John MD on 10-pound-test P-Line on 45-degree banks. He also mixed in pitching a Tightlines UV Beaver in watermelon red color with a Trokar TK 130 flipping hook on a 5/16-ounce weight tied to 17-pound-test P-Line fluorocarbon.

On the final day, Martin changed up once again by moving to shallow bushes with an Impact swim jig and a 1/4-ounce black/blue Z-Man ChatterBait.

“Due to the water level, the bushes were real shallow, but they had fish in them,” Martin says. “The best bushes were on those flatter gravel banks. I even caught a real nice smallmouth out of them.”

 

JT Kenney

5. Kenney changed every day to reconnect with the fish

After leading the event on day one, JT Kenney of Palm Bay, Fla., fell to eighth and ninth on days two and three, respectively, and rebounded on day four to finish fifth with a total of 57 pounds, 15 ounces.

Kenney’s day-one limit of 18 pounds, 5 ounces came on a 6th Sense Crush 250 MD, which runs 7 to 11 feet. He fished it on 12-pound-test Sunline.

On day two his cranking pattern fizzled, and Kenney had to resort to a Gambler shaky head to survive. By day three, he switched to a Nichols spinnerbait and jig, both in “JT’s the best color ever.” He fished both on 16-pound-test Sunline fluorocarbon to hang on inside the top 10.

On the final day, Kenney ran down the lake into the Clifty area and began pitching a 3/8-ounce Nichols jig with a Gambler Mega Daddy (black and blue) to cracks, crevices, shelves and pieces of wood in the rock banks. He caught multiple keepers and ended the day with 16 pounds, 15 ounces.

“In all the years I’ve been coming here, I’ve never experienced a Beaver Lake like the one I fished this week,” Kenney says. “It was like a totally different fishery. I could literally call my shots on where the next fish was going to come from, and I’ve never been able to do that here. It was a lot of fun.

“I think as the tournament wore on, the fish went from prespawn to spawn,” Kenney adds. “They seemed to move shallower. That might be why my crankbait bite went away on me so fast and it turned into such a good jig bite. I think the bass began spawning in those little nooks and crannies, and when a jig dropped in there, they thumped it.”

 

Andy Morgan

6. Morgan moves shallower for sixth

Since his win at Beaver Lake in 2007, Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., has become a perennial shoo-in to make the top 10 at this White River impoundment. Including his sixth-place finish this time at Beaver, Morgan has five top-10 finishes there. His most recent tournament total was 57 pounds, 12 ounces.

Morgan says that his increased success at Beaver Lake is about removing the lulls in his day.

“That’s what I mean about timing here,” Morgan details. “They seem to bite in windows. I try to fish the water with the most potential during those times. But when it’s lull time, I’ll jump around to new water and change baits. If I get one or two bites when I’m experimenting, it’s something to put in the arsenal the next day. It’s like a building process as the week goes on.”

As an example, Morgan started the week cranking out deeper with a Storm Wiggle Wart and pitching a jig to laydowns. By day two he noticed his jig bite was getting stronger, but long lulls were occurring with his Wiggle Wart bite. He kept playing the jig but started experimenting with shallower baits such as a spinnerbait and a square-bill during the lulls. That resulted in more bites on the shallower baits.

“As the nights got warmer, the fish moved shallower and started bedding,” Morgan says. “Everything basically moved shallower, so I moved the shallower baits into my lure rotation and weaned the Wiggle Wart out.”

By the last two days Morgan had whittled his arsenal down to two moving baits and a pitching bait. When covering water, he would parallel the banks with a 1/2-ounce War Eagle spinnerbait (double willow, sexy shad) on 16-pound-test fluorocarbon and a Livingston Lures Primetyme SQ 2.0 square-bill. When he came across a piece of wood or any steep piece of rock with ledges or crevices, he pitched a 5/8-ounce green pumpkin War Eagle Flipping Jig with a Zoom Big Salty Chunk trailer to catch fish he thinks were spawning.

 

Matt Arey

7. Matt Arey fishes similar to ’14

Two-time Beaver Lake champion Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C., dipped into his deep well of Beaver Lake knowledge to finish seventh with a total weight of 55 pounds, 1 ounce.

The Quaker State pro felt like the lake set up similar to how it did in when he won there in 2014. During that event he used a jig to target prespawn and spawning bass on vertical rock banks in pockets off the White River.

This time around he used the same jig in some of the same areas but was able to expand his pattern farther up and down the lake due to more stained water.

The jig is a 7/16-ounce homemade compact pitching jig teamed with a twin-tail trailer.

“I switched between two colors based on water color,” Arey says. “In the clearer areas I used green pumpkin, and when I got in areas where it was muddier I went to the darker black and blue.

“Those fish spawn on those little bluff tops and shelves on that flat rock,” Arey adds. “As I pitch along, I’m always feeling for those little ledges. When I feel one, I’ll make an extra couple of pitches to that area to make sure I didn’t miss anything,”

 

Chris Whitson

8. Rookie Whitson scores with a different look

FLW Tour rookie Chris Whitson of Louisville, Tenn., notched his first top 10 this week with a total weight of 53 pounds, 4 ounces.

Whitson started the event with a spinnerbait and ChatterBait on day one but then switched to jigs and spinnerbaits over the last three days.

“I drew co-angler Mike Devere on the second day, and he caught three pretty good fish behind me on a jig,” Whitson says. “So I backed out, picked up a jig and started catching better fish too.”

From there, Whitson forced himself to slow down and fish more thoroughly by going to a 1/4-ounce Showboat Lures jig with a Zoom Big Salty Chunk trailer on 15-pound-test line.

“The lighter jig with a big chunk falls slowly,” Whitson says. “There were a lot of boats fishing around in the same muddy waters where I was, so I wanted to fish something different, something slower. Also, I happened to see a couple of crawdads in the water, and those things were huge, which is why I went to the biggest chunk I could find.”

In an effort to fish differently, Whitson also used a Showboat Lures 9/16-ounce spinnerbait called “Rocky Top.”

“It’s a bright orange spinnerbait with orange blades,” Whitson says. “It’s a heavy spinnerbait, and I would slow-roll it down the rocks and wood, giving those fish a different-looking bait than anything they had seen.”

 

Stetson Blaylock

9. Blaylock cranks up ninth place

Stetson Blaylock of Benton, Ark., committed himself to cranking banks in the colored water of the mid-lake for a ninth-place finish with a total weight of 51 pounds, 4 ounces.

Blaylock’s primary weapons for the week included a pair of Livingston Lures crankbaits. Both were Primetyme 2.0 bodies, but one was a square-bill in yellow craw and the other a coffin-bill in Guntersville craw. He fished both on 15-pound-test Seaguar line.

Like others in the top 10, Blaylock felt the fish were moving from prespawn to spawn, and consequently he had to mix in a shaky head and a Yamamoto Flappin’ Hog to pick off fish that were starting to set up in crevices, shelves and laydowns.

“I’ve never seen this lake when I could fish places like I did this week,” Blaylock says. “Normally here I have to move around a lot and fish new water. But this week it’s like the fish were actually replenishing on specific places, and I could go back to those places and catch one or two each day. In the past, that’s been rare here.”

 

Andrew Upshaw

10. Ned Rig and sight-fishing put Upshaw in 10th

Andrew Upshaw of Sapulpa, Okla., ran a two-part program at Beaver Lake to log a 10th-place finish with a total of 51 pounds, 1 ounce.

In the mornings, Upshaw used a Ned Rig to fish deeper flat points, but once the sun got up and the water warmed a bit, he headed to the shallows to sight-fish.

The Ned Rig consisted of a 1/10-ounce mushroom-shaped jighead teamed with a Gene Larew Salt Flick’R that was cut in half. He fished the light rig on 6-pound-test Lew’s APT Fluorocarbon Speed Line on a Lew’s Custom Speed Stick with a Team Lew’s Pro Speed Spin Series reel.

“I take the Salt Flick’R and cut it down to about 3 1/2 inches to put on the Ned rig,” Upshaw says. “That Salt Flick’R has a nice taper on the tail for that technique. Each day I caught a couple of keeper smallmouths on that rig to get my day started.”

For his sight-fishing, Upshaw used a white Gene Larew Salt Craw and a green pumpkin Biffle Bug Jr. on 25-pound-test line.

“One thing I found here was that the males would eat that white color pretty quick,” Upshaw says. “But those females wanted that more natural green pumpkin color.”

Tags: beaver-lake  spring    rob-newell  post-tournament  2016-04-14-beaver-lake 

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