UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Potomac River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Day 3 of Practice with Mr. Beaver Lake

Day 3 of Practice with Mr. Beaver Lake

Much like the protagonist in a certain children’s book, Matt Arey is having a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad practice. The veteran Quaker State pro, who won FLW Tour events here in 2014 and 2015, will be the first to admit that his practice days for the FLW Tour event presented by General Tire have not gone to plan.

“On a scale of one to 10, I’d give this about a two,” says Arey as we motor away from Prairie Creek ramp Tuesday morning. “It’s been one of the most challenging and frustrating practices I’ve ever had at this event. Nothing’s clicked and I haven’t dialed in to what the fish are doing.”

On Monday, Arey’s lower unit went out, and he lost over a half a day of practice getting it repaired. And then, when he did get back on the water, he couldn’t find fish.

Not a good kick-off to a tournament on what Arey describes as his all-time favorite – and most lucrative - lake.

“That’s what makes it even more frustrating. I’ve won more money here than anywhere else.”

Beaver has definitely been good to Arey. He’s had two wins, a fifth, and a seventh in Tour events here, but right now?

“I don’t feel I’m on fish I can even cash a check with. You get spoiled when you have success on a lake, and then you struggle.”

But Tuesday, which dawned bright and clear, is a new day, and after Arey leaves the ramp he makes a short run up the river toward a creek arm he wants to check out.

“My expectations have always been high for this lake,” he says as he flips a jig along the creek arm bluffs. “The last few times I fished here I got exactly dialed in to what was going on, but this time I’m still searching.”

Arey places the blame squarely on the wild weather swings that northwest Arkansas has endured in the past month.

“They had a big-time warming trend here a month ago that sent a lot of fish to the banks, but a lot of them haven’t come up, and then the lake went up four feet in the span of a few days, so it seems the fish are just in this sort of in-between funk.”

The first time Arey won at Beaver, he won on a jig. In 2015, it was a swimbait. Today Arey is switching between a jig, a jerkbait, a hookless Lunkerhunt Lunker Stick, and a bait Arey would rather not disclose just yet.

“Today I’m just going to focus on trying to tap into a largemouth bite,” he says. “And try to figure out what stage they’re in up the lake. Down the lake I feel there’s a lot of fish pulling up to spawn, and that’s my backup plan. I’m just going to go down there blind.”

Despite his motor issues, Arey has managed to check out most of the lake the first two days of practice, hitting anywhere he thinks he might get a bite or find a pattern.

“I’ve really spread it out. I’ve been all the way to the dam and I’ve been all the way to the split in the rivers, which is pretty much everything I want to see. Beyond the split in the rivers it looks like chocolate milk.”

As he casts, Arey is constantly observing the water, and he suddenly notices something that piques his interest.

“Look at that!” he exclaims as he gestures toward patches of floating leaves in the dingy, off-color water in the middle of the creek arm. “That’s shad spawning right there. Right out there in the middle of the water under that trash. Hmmm, that’s interesting. That’s something I haven’t seen in practice yet.”  

Arey decides to make a run to another spot across the lake to see if he can find other areas where shad are spawning, and as we bounce around from area to area, trying to beat the end of this newfound morning shad spawn, Arey discovers that some spots have what he’s looking for, while others don’t. He picks up fish in a few areas, and, according to him – gets more bites than any other day of practice, so his mood is decidedly upbeat.

“I at least feel like I can get a limit now, but it may not weigh anything. This is a morning bite, but I’m hoping I can expand it throughout the day,” he says. “Although the shad stop spawning, the bass will still be hanging out in the area, and you can still get a few bites off of it. The way my practice has been, that would suit me fine.”

He continues probing with his undisclosed bait, but with his shad bite cooling off, he begins concentrating on finding an additional afternoon pattern to supplement his newfound bite.

“I’m gonna check out a couple little spawning pockets here to see what I can see. I figure post-spawn fish are going to be the dominant deal this week, and I’ve got to figure out something they’ll eat throughout the day.”

As the morning heats up Arey begins having more luck with the hookless wacky rig, trying to determine the size of fish before gently shaking them off.

“I’m just going to try to junk fish my way around this afternoon,” he says. “I’m fishing areas where they would spawn, but I’m not seeing them because of the water level. I feel like there’s fish there, along the original shoreline. Stabilizing the water will go a long way toward helping the bite.”

On the way back to the Prairie Creek ramp, Arey is much less gloomy than he was when we left.

“I had a lot better day today, that’s for sure,” he says. “Not great, but better. I don’t think it’s going to be as good as it’s been the last few years, weight-wise. The last couple years it’s taken 60 pounds to win this, but if you gave me 55 pounds this week I’d take my chances.”

 

Tournament details

Format: All pros and co-anglers will compete for two days. The co-angler champion will be crowned on day two, and the field will be cut to the top 20 pros on day three and the top 10 pros on day four. The winners will be determined by total cumulative weight.

Takeoff Time: 6:30 a.m. CT

Takeoff Location: Prairie Creek Recreation Area, 9300 North Park Road, Rogers, AR

Weigh-In Time: 3 p.m. CT on days one and two; 4 p.m. CT on days three and four

Weigh-In Location: Prairie Creek all days

 

Check out the FLW Expo and Evinrude Test Rides

Test rides – Evinrude will be hosting test rides for its popular E-TEC G2 motors at Prairie Creek Recreation Area on Saturday, April 29, from 7 to 11 a.m. All participants will receive a free Evinrude hat. Come demo Evinrude’s most powerful and fuel-efficient two-stroke motor in history.

Expo – The FLW Expo will take place at Prairie Creek on Saturday and Sunday, April 29-30, from 12 to 4 p.m. Kids’ activities include a Ranger Boat simulator, casting pond and more. Concessions will be available, along with vendors selling tackle and other outdoor gear.

Complete details

Tags: chad-love  pre-tournament  2017-04-27-beaver-lake 

Smith Honored with Sportsmanship, Community Leadership Award

Smith Honored with Sportsmanship, Community Leadership Award

Capt. Blake Smith was presented with the 2019 Forrest L. Wood Sportsmanship & Community Leadership Award by the award’s namesake, Forrest Wood, at the 2019 FLW Cup pre-tournament banquet in Hot Springs, Ark. Smith, of Lakeland, Fla., has fished the FLW Tour since 2015. READ MORE »

Day 3 of Practice with Scanlon

Day 3 of Practice with Scanlon

Casey Scanlon won the FLW Tour season finale at Lake Champlain, which he almost had to do to make the FLW Cup. Now that he’s here at Lake Hamilton, he’s got a shot at $300,000 and a possible edge over the competition due to his momentum and extensive Ozark experience. READ MORE »

Hard Lessons and the FLW Cup

Hard Lessons and the FLW Cup

Two terrible tournaments to end the season cost Miles Burghoff his shot at the Polaris Rookie of the Year title. This week at the FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton, he's hoping to apply the lessons learned at the end of the season to his preparation for the championship event. READ MORE »

Thrift Roams Hamilton on Day 2

Thrift Roams Hamilton on Day 2

In seemingly any tournament that Bryan Thrift shows up to he is without a doubt one of the favorites to win. With two FLW Tour Angler of the Year titles, six Tour wins and five Costa FLW Series wins – including his most recent on Lake Champlain just a few weeks ago – it’s easy to understand why. READ MORE »

Riding Around Practice on Day 2

Riding Around Practice on Day 2

In a Ranger Z520L with a 250-hp Evinrude G2, it takes about 15 minutes to run from Carpenter Dam, which impounds Lake Hamilton, to the Blakely Mountain Dam that separates Hamilton from Lake Ouachita. If you stop and chat with 11 pros along the way, however, you’ll need most of the morning, but you’ll also wind up with a pretty sound idea of what’s going on at Hamilton for this week’s FLW Cup. READ MORE »

The First Morning with B. Lat

The First Morning with B. Lat

You won’t hear Brian Latimer complain about hot weather and tough fishing in Arkansas during this week’s FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton. For B. Lat, sweating it out on the water is vastly better than working in the heat installing landscaping and mowing lawns for a living, which is what he was doing just a few years ago. A lot’s changed since those days. Now, Latimer is an FLW Tour champion, with a growing fishing media company and his first shot at a Cup title. READ MORE »

FLW Cup Schedule of Events

FLW Cup Schedule of Events

The FLW Cup goes down August 9-11 on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark. As the crowning event of the FLW Tour season, there’s naturally a lot that goes with it, from takeoffs, the FLW Expo, a Trace Adkins concert and of course the weigh-ins at the Bank OZK Arena. Below you’ll find everything you’ll need to follow or attend the Cup, from the times to each event and seminar to each giveaway going on. Keep in mind, everything is free to attend and all times are Central. READ MORE »

Pre-Practice Report from Hamilton

Pre-Practice Report from Hamilton

For some, preparation has been in the form of map study and online research, while others have made the trek to Lake Hamilton to get eyes on the playing field, which went off limits July 22. READ MORE »

The FLW Cup Playing Field

The FLW Cup Playing Field

It’s been 14 seasons since the FLW Cup has been held at Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark. In the years since, FLW fans have likely developed some familiarity with nearby Lake Ouachita, which has been a frequent destination for the Cup and, in fact, hosted last year’s championship event. Hamilton is less-known because it hasn’t gotten the nod to host the finale since July 2005, when George Cochran won his third bass-fishing world championship . READ MORE »

McCaghren Ready for Hamilton

McCaghren Ready for Hamilton

Billy McCaghren spends a lot of his free time coaching 8- to 10-year-old boys on how to swing and catch; but when the FLW Cup visits Hot Springs August 9-11, the Arkansas pro is hopeful that some of his young baseball players will be able to swing by and see the Lake Hamilton bass he plans on catching. READ MORE »

Summertime on Champlain

Summertime on Champlain

For three years running now, the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits has kicked off on Lake Champlain. The tournament, which is presented by Polaris, should offer great fishing like usual, but it’s going to be far different than the last two FLW Series tilts on the big Northern lake. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Champlain

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Champlain

FLW Live is back for the season finale of the FLW Tour on Lake Champlain. The event, which is presented by T-H Marine and hosted by the City of Plattsburgh and Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau runs Thursday, June 27 through Sunday, June 30. READ MORE »

Exploring Champlain with Strelic

Exploring Champlain with Strelic

Living about as far as possible from Champlain, Wade Strelic is looking to finish his rookie season strong at the FLW Tour finale. Hailing from Alpine, Calif., near San Diego, Strelic is sitting 28th in points and has made the check cut in three out of six events so far – another good derby will lock him in to the FLW Cup. READ MORE »

Nelson Wraps Champlain Practice

Nelson Wraps Champlain Practice

Ron Nelson is easily in the group of favorites in the event and a bonafide Northern expert, so I was eager to hop in the boat for a morning with the smallie snatcher. Champlain isn’t fishing quite like it was the years he won, but Nelson is still guaranteed to have a lot of eyes on him come day one. READ MORE »

Scouting for Smallies with Felix

Scouting for Smallies with Felix

Over the years, a lot of anglers have established impressive records on Lake Champlain, but few have done it as quickly and authoritatively as Austin Felix. READ MORE »

Get to Know Lake Champlain

Get to Know Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain is a giant of a lake. It stretches 100-plus miles from its beginning down south at Whitehall, N.Y., and runs all the way up to the Canadian border between the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Adirondacks in New York. Though the competitors aren’t allowed to venture into Canada, there is still plenty for anglers to break down for the final event of the 2019 FLW Tour season. READ MORE »

Top High Schoolers Headed for Pickwick

Top High Schoolers Headed for Pickwick

This week, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) reservoir touching Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama pulls double duty for a joint production of the High School Fishing National Championship (Wednesday-Friday) and the 10th annual Student Angler Federation High School Fishing World Finals (Wednesday-Saturday). READ MORE »

2019 Lake Champlain Preview

2019 Lake Champlain Preview

Champlain is such a fun location for a tournament in large part because of the unpredictability involved. Nelson winning last year’s Costa FLW Series tilt with all smallmouths was something of a surprise, but given the conditions, it made plenty of sense. Exactly what will go down this year is legitimately up in the air. READ MORE »

By the Numbers: Lake Champlain

By the Numbers: Lake Champlain

The 2019 FLW Tour season comes to a close later this month on Lake Champlain, a lake that just about guarantees a fun finish and lots of smallmouths. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 1

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 1

In today’s morning story, James Biggs made several predictions for the first day of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Based on what our media team saw this morning, Biggs’ predictions are basically spot on. Two-thirds of the field is fishing up shallow, and there aren't many big bass to speak of. READ MORE »