The national spotlight for tournament fishing is on Beaver Lake this week, site of the annual Walmart FLW Tour bass competition that begins at 6:30 a.m. today.
Bass anglers from around the globe will compete on the lake through Sunday. The tournament field includes 161 pro division anglers and 161 co-anglers who fish from the back deck of the pro’s boat.
The FLW Tour at Beaver Lake presented by General Tire is Thursday through Sunday. Weigh-ins Thursday and Friday are 3 p.m. at Prairie Creek park. The public is welcome at no charge.
Saturday and Sunday weigh-ins are at 4 p.m. at the Rogers Walmart store, 2001 W. Walnut St.
The FLW fishing expo is at the store from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. FLW fishing derby for kids is 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Lake Bentonville.
— Staff report
Winner of the pro division gets $125,000. The top co-angler wins $25,000. Entry fee for the pro division is $4,500. Co-anglers pay an $800 entry.
Weigh-ins today and Friday are at 3 p.m. at Prairie Creek park. The public is welcome at no charge. Saturday and Sunday weigh-ins are 4 p.m. at the Rogers Walmart, 2110 W. Walnut St.
The full field of pro division anglers and co-anglers compete today and Friday. Co-angler competition ends with Friday’s weigh-in. The top 20 pro division anglers compete Saturday. The field is cut to the top 10 for Sunday.
Anglers may weigh five black bass each day. Black bass species include largemouth bass, spotted bass and smallmouth bass. Weights are accumulated each day. The pro with the heaviest four-day weight is the winner. Prize money of at least $10,000 is awarded for 50th place and higher in the pro division.
This is the fifth tournament of the 2017 FLW Tour season and the 19th time the tour has competed on Beaver Lake.
Rain last week has muddied the upstream end of the lake. Several miles of the reservoir are unfishable, said Greg Bohannan of Bentonville, an FLW pro. Muddy water is the norm south of Horseshoe Bend park.
“That’s actually made it a smaller lake for fishing, and Beaver isn’t that big of a lake for 160 boats to fish,” Bohannan said Tuesday. The water is clear from Prairie Creek park north to the dam. That gives anglers their choice of water clarity.
Bohannan said bass fishing at Beaver is better now than it has been in the history of the lake.
“This year it could turn into a power fishing tournament in the stained water,” he said. Heavier line and bigger lures may be in order, including large spinner baits and chatter baits.
Scott Canterbury of Springville, Ala., won last year with a four-day total of 20 bass that weighed 62 pounds, 7 ounces.
Matt Arey of North Carolina is the only angler to win consecutive FLW tournaments at Beaver. He won in 2014 and 2015.
“Beaver Lake is easily my favorite stop on the tour,” Arey said.
“This lake basically built the house that we live in right now, and I also love coming to the Ozarks this time of year. It’s beautiful, and the lake has been on an upward trend the last few years. I expect it to be nothing less this time around.”
Sports on 04/27/2017