Conditions keep catch rates low
A tough FLW Tour bass tournament at Beaver Lake got even tougher on Friday.
Big fish were few during Friday’s weigh-in at Prairie Creek park. A lot of anglers had trouble catching five-fish limits.
Even Matt Arey, “Mr. Beaver Lake,” struggled. Arey won the tournament in 2014 and 2015 and finished seventh last year. He didn’t make the top 20 this go around.
“Anytime you fish a lake that comes up three feet in a day, it’s going to be tough,” Arey said. He finished in 28th place, but got a check for $10,000. Pro division anglers finishing 50th or better get at least $10,000.
No weigh-in at Walmart today
Today’s weigh-in and FLW expo will not be held at the Rogers Walmart store on Walnut Street. Both will be held today at Prairie Creek park. The expo opens at noon and the weigh-in is at 4 p.m.
Stormy, wet weather predicted today figured into the decision, according to FLW officials. FLW stands for Fishing League Worldwide.
FLW anglers hit the road
It’s a two-day tournament for most of the anglers on the Walmart FLW Tour. Co-angler competition is over. The pro division is trimmed to the top 20 anglers for today and the top 10 for Sunday.
Some fishermen left Friday for other tournaments. Others have started thinking about the next FLW Tour event on the Mississippi River at LaCrosse, Wis., May 18-21.
Area co-anglers do well
Charley Slaton of Valliant, Okla., held on Friday to win the co-angler division and the $20,000 that comes with the victory.
Ken Harp of Springdale finished third and won $5,000. Scott Parsons of Rogers placed eighth and won $1,800. Drew Barnes of Bells Vista finished 10th and won $1,700.
Any co-angler in 50th place or higher received $1,000. Entry fee for co-anglers is $800.
Co-anglers work with pros
Fishing as a co-angler, in the back of the pro’s boat, is a world of it’s own. The pro calls the shots. The co-angler fishes where the pro wants to fish. There are some unwritten etiquette rules that co-anglers follow, according to FLW Outdoors.
Keep talking to a minimum. Fishing is serious business to a pro who is trying to support his family with tournament winnings. Co-anglers shouldn’t fish the water that the pro is fishing or cast in front of the pro. When the pro is ready to move to a new spot, the co-angler should be ready to go, too, and not be putting on his life jacket or storing tackle.
Always offer money for gas. Forty dollars is a standard offering.
Smallmouths more cooperative
Largemouth bass are typically the biggest of the three black bass species, so FLW anglers hope to catch a limit of those. Smallmouth bass were more cooperative than largemouths this tournament.
FLW pro Peter Thliveros said Beaver’s smallmouth fishing improves year to year.
“This lake has really come on with smallmouths, in numbers, primarily.,” he said. “There are a lot more now and the size is starting to get up there. Used to be you’d catch hot dog sized smallmouths. Now you can get a 3-pounder.”
Pro Tom Monsoor of Wisconsin weighed a limit of smallmouths on Friday.
Youth anglers willing workers
Young fishermen from the Arkansas Youth Anglers helped out at the weigh-in Thursday and Friday. They toted fish from the stage area to the catch and release boat at the courtesy dock. They made sure each angler got their receipt from the tournament desk.
What’s it like being around all these pro fishermen? “Pretty cool,” said Carter Williams, one of the youth anglers.
Quick with a story
Well-known angler Jimmy Houston is always good for a story at weigh-in time.
He noted on Friday that he signed 100 youth fishing rod outfits that will be given away to youngsters today.
“Signing 100 rods is easy,” Houston said Friday. “It’s signing those jerk baits with three treble hooks that really hurts. After signing 300 of those I couldn’t lift a fork for a week.”
Sports on 04/29/2017