UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Erie

FLW Tour Recap: Beaver Lake

FLW Tour Recap: Beaver Lake
Second-place pro Dave Lefebre shows off his biggest bass from day two on Beaver Lake.

(Editor's note: Veteran bass pro Dave Lefebre has agreed to take time to share his insights into each FLW Tour event of the 2011 season. After every event, Lefebre will give his thoughts on tournament strategy, winning techniques and other behind-the-scenes stories/information that is compelling to our readers. The following blog represents his second installment. Lefebre ultimately finished the Beaver Lake event in seventh place and walked away with $16,000 in winnings.)

Well I didn't quite get my wish for snow in Rodgers, Ark., for our first Wal-Mart FLW Tour Major, but it sure did feel like home with morning temps in the 20s and frost all over the boat.

It looks like fishing Beaver Lake in early March was a great idea and I hope we do it again and again...and again. This was actually earlier than normal for the FLW Tour to visit and the weights were obviously quite a bit higher than usual. I think we even broke some all-time Beaver Lake records! After the three-day practice period finished on Tuesday I don't think too many people saw those big weights coming because fishing was extremely tough - as bad as it gets actually. Personally, I had a grand total of 10 bites in three days and didn't manage even a single fish on the second day, and that was good when compared to some stories I'd heard.

On Tuesday, the final day of practice, I decided to try a few different things and some techniques I've been successful with in the past when the water temps were cold and the bite was tough. This was a pre-spawn event, so it was fairly obvious to me where the fish should be and were they wanted to go. I planned on spending my last practice day fishing secondary points and channel swings with a variety of baits, but I ended up striking gold on my very first idea, a Swarming Hornet (Fish Head Spin) paired with a Tiny Tim Baby swimbait as a trailer. After getting three bites the first day and one the second, the six bites I had on this last day were quite encouraging and my confidence quickly grew sky high.

I came to Arkansas a few days early to pick up my new Ranger Z-521 from the factory. I had a lot of work to do, packing the boat and getting my tackle organized before getting out on the lake to practice. Then on that first practice morning I had to begin the break-in procedure on my outboard motor, which meant I had to idle for 10 minutes. I put the boat in the water close to our campground and instead of idling aimlessly across the lake, I followed the contour of the shoreline and fired up my Structure Scan. As I idled around the second point from the ramp, I found a huge boulder with a single tree beside it in 30 feet of water. I didn't know it at the time, but in that first two minutes of idling, I found the spot that would give me a seventh-place finish and the day one lead on a lake that has plagued me over the course of my career.

Late in the evening on the final day of practice I decided to check that deepwater tree and rock I had found back on the first morning. I had a single bite on the Tiny Tim, which I did not set the hook on and, at that point, I made up my mind to start there on the first morning of the event.

KelloggThat was a good plan as I caught four fish in 15 minutes, including a 4 pounder. I started there again on day two and had a limit in less than an hour. On the final two days however the cold front, wind, and cloud cover changed everything and I never caught another fish from that spot. On day three I caught all my fish on two jerk-baits, a Rapala X-Rap and Mega Bass Vision 110, but caught a 4-pounder late in the day on a Storm Wiggle Wart. On the last day I threw the Wiggle Wart all day and managed four fish. Then, at the very end of the day, I caught my limit fish on a Tiny Tim off of a deep tree on the end of a point. That single clutch fish, a little 13-inch spotted bass was worth a $1,000!

Beaver Lake showed its true colors this year with some really big limits and some extra large lunkers - not to mention the fact that the fish were caught a number of different ways and in many different areas of the lake. After the tournament was over I talked to guys who were catching them in a foot of water on shallow crankbaits way up the river and other anglers who were swimming small grubs through standing timber in 80 feet of water by the dam. I and many others also found success in the middle portion of the lake fishing both deep and shallow with a variety of different techniques.

The main baits that seemed to shine were really not that much of a surprise - a jerkbait and the Storm Wiggle Wart were definitely king. Bryan Thrift, who won the event, primarily used a jerkbait as did several anglers in the top 10. For others, like Ron Shuffield, the Wiggle Wart played a bigger role. I even talked to a friend who said that slowly swimming a smoke grub around points worked well. A Hollow Belly swimbait accounted for some big fish for Stetson Blaylock; Dudley caught most of his fish on a shakey head worm; and Stacey King pulled out a tail-spinner that was more than 25 years old to bag a 16-pound, 12-ounce final day sack and finish second ...What?

I like events like this one where many different techniques are working and fish are caught all over the lake because it makes the lake fish much bigger. I never thought I'd say this, but I can't wait to go back to Beaver Lake next year. I hope it's freezing cold again, and yes...a little snow would be nice next time too.

Our next event is on a lake I have never been to before and for me that is always exciting. Lake Hartwell in South Carolina should be another great tournament with some really big bags. I'll see you there!

To read more about Dave's life on the road, check out On Tour With Dave and Anne, sponsored by Chevy. Throughout the 2011 FLW Tour season, Dave and his wife, Anne will be keeping a detailed blog of their experiences while traveling the country in their Chevy Trucks.

Tags: dave-lefebre  blog  2011-03-03-beaver-lake 

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