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

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

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 

/news/2019-02-06-roaming-kissimmee-with-douglas

Roaming Kissimmee with Douglas

Hailing from Minnesota, Josh Douglas is in his third year on the FLW Tour and looking for his first FLW Cup qualification. Were it not for a disqualification in the final event of the year at St. Clair in 2018, Douglas would have sailed into the Cup. After a tough start to the year at Rayburn, he’s planning to get back on track at the FLW Tour event presented by Ranger on Lake Toho. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-05-burghoff-checks-out-toho-on-day-2

Burghoff Checks Out Toho on Day 2

FLW Tour rookie Miles “Sonar” Burghoff kicked off his freshman season with a strong performance on Sam Rayburn, where he just missed fishing the final day with a 12th-place finish. Now, the Tour is on a system he is more than familiar with, having spent countless hours on Lakes Toho and Kissimmee while attending college at the University of Central Florida. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-04-a-look-at-lake-toho

A Look at Lake Toho

Stop No. 2 of the 2019 FLW Tour takes us to Lake Toho and the several other lakes strung along the Kissimmee River. Presented by Ranger Boats, the tournament will take off from Big Toho Marina on the north end of the namesake lake, but competitors will be able to spread out down the Kissimmee River into Cypress Lake, Lake Hatchineha (Hatch), Lake Kissimmee, and perhaps even Tiger Lake and Lake Rosalie if they’re feeling adventurous. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-29-spawn-on-the-horizon-at-okeechobee

Spawn on the Horizon at Okeechobee

Florida is a familiar place for FLW competition, and Lake Okeechobee is probably the best-known fishery the Sunshine State has to offer. So there shouldn’t be many surprises when the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division kicks off the season Jan. 31–Feb. 2 on the Big O with an event presented by Power-Pole. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-29-by-the-numbers-lake-toho

By the Numbers: Lake Toho

The FLW Tour season opener on Sam Rayburn was a slugfest for sure. Fortunately for fans and anglers alike, the second stop of the season could be just as good, as the Tour heads to Central Florida and Lake Toho and the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes in Kissimmee, Fla., on February 7. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-25-2019-lake-toho-preview

2019 Lake Toho Preview

Lake Tohopekaliga (Toho for short) is the first of four lakes on the menu for pros in the second stop of the FLW Tour. At the south end of Toho, a lock and a series of canals leads to Cypress Lake, Lake Hatchineha (Hatch) and Lake Kissimmee, which are all fair game for the pros. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-09-cecil-s-final-morning-of-practice

Cecil’s Final Morning of Practice

Russell Cecil is one of a number of standout Texas anglers fishing the FLW Tour opener this week on Sam Rayburn. After a lackluster rookie campaign in 2018, fishing near home is a great opportunity for the Willis, Texas, pro to get the year started off strong. Though the conditions are far from normal, a few hours on the final day of practice reveal that Cecil certainly has a read on the bass. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-08-flw-live-schedule-for-sam-rayburn

FLW Live Schedule for Sam Rayburn

The 2019 FLW Live seasons kicks off on the big bass factory of Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Brookeland, Texas. Watch your favorite stars such as Scott Martin and Bryan Thrift weigh-in at the FLW Tour season opener, and then follow the weekend action live with the top pros. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-07-figuring-out-rayburn-with-powell

Figuring Out Rayburn with Powell

Hensley Powell has quickly and quietly amassed quite a record with FLW. In just three years fishing the Costa FLW Series, he’s earned over $90,000, and he got a win at Table Rock in the Central Division in 2018. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-07-sam-rayburn-lake-tour

Sam Rayburn Lake Tour

This year, the FLW Tour kicks off in Texas with a showdown presented by Polaris on Sam Rayburn. Big Sam hasn’t hosted too many FLW Tour events in the past, but it’s loaded with bass and bass fishing history. The lake is much higher than normal right now, which will no doubt produce different fishing than is typical for winter on Rayburn. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-06-practice-starts-at-rayburn

Practice Starts at Rayburn

Day one of practice for the FLW Tour presented by Polaris on Sam Rayburn started this morning. We hung around takeoff to see friends we haven't seen in months and to get the season underway.  READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-05-childs-holds-on-for-co-angler-win

Childs Holds on for Co-angler Win

Jay Childs caught two giant largemouths on day one, along with a smaller keeper, to take the early lead at Lake Amistad. Then he survived today for the win with a pair of keepers that included one smallmouth. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-04-high-water-will-factor-at-rayburn

High Water will Factor at Rayburn

Typical winter fishing on Sam Rayburn would call for a lot of lipless crankbaits, Carolina rigs and a focus on offshore structure and submerged grass. However, for the FLW Tour opener January 10-13 a lot of that may be out the window – or at least a lot different than many of the Rayburn sticks in the field are used to. Sam Rayburn has risen steadily since December 10th, and as of January 3, the lake is at 171.43 feet, which is 7 feet over full pool of 164.4 feet. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-03-by-the-numbers-sam-rayburn

By the Numbers: Sam Rayburn

The 2019 FLW Tour takes to the waters of Sam Rayburn Reservoir Jan. 10-13 for the opening event of the new season. Rayburn can produce some absolute giants in January, and if the weather cooperates, there’s potential for an abundance of massive bags. READ MORE »

/news/2018-12-28-big-bass-expected-at-opener-on-amistad

Big Bass Expected at Opener on Amistad

Lake Amistad might not kick out quite as many massive stringers of largemouth bass as it used to, but the legendary south Texas border reservoir is still a factory for big fish. According to local guide and always tournament favorite Ray “Hanselmania” Hanselman, there are some real giants to be caught at Amistad, but they’ll be at a premium when the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division rolls into Del Rio to kick off the 2019 season on Jan. 3 READ MORE »

/news/2018-10-31-guntersville-lake-tour

Guntersville Lake Tour

Winding through Tennessee, north Alabama and Kentucky, the Tennessee River is studded with some of the most legendary reservoirs in bass-fishing history. Many would argue that Lake Guntersville is the best of the bunch, and though that is up for debate on any given year, Guntersville’s place in fishing history is undeniable. This week, the lake is under heavy pressure from a local championship event, anglers out to have fun and the 198 pros and co-anglers in the Costa FLW Series Championship. Here’s a look at what they’ll encounter on the water. READ MORE »

/news/2018-10-30-guntersville-showing-out-for-costa-finale

Guntersville Showing Out for Costa Finale

Few things are certainties in life, but you can certainly count on anglers catching a ton of huge fish when the Costa FLW Series Championship rolls into Guntersville this week. With bass settled into fall patterns and gobs of vegetation still giving plenty of cover to fish feeding in the shallows, there’s a good chance the lake produces 20-plus-pound limits early and often in the championship event. READ MORE »

/news/2018-10-30-costa-championship-fact-sheet

Costa Championship Fact Sheet

Up to 430 of the world’s best bass anglers will descend on Alabama’s Lake Guntersville Nov. 1-3 for the no-entry-fee 2018 Costa FLW Series Championship. READ MORE »

/news/2018-10-10-dock-talk-all-about-docks-at-ozarks

Dock Talk All About Docks at Ozarks

Greg Bohannan, the 2017 Central Division Angler of the Year, believes the warmer-than-usual weather as of late will make the topwater bite a secondary tactic. In his opinion, it’s going to be docks that deliver the winning fish this year. READ MORE »

/news/2018-10-02-question-marks-abound-at-fort-gibson

Question Marks Abound at Fort Gibson

Fort Gibson Lake has the quality and quantity of fish to churn out massive bags nearly all year long, but finding those fish might be harder now than it’s been all year. That’s not great news for anglers ahead of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division tournament on Oct. 4. READ MORE »