Appetitie for plastic
Going bass fishing at Beaver lake this week? Stick with your favorite soft plastic lures.
FLW anglers at Sunday’s weigh-in shared more information on how they caught fish now that the tournament is over. Nearly all mentioned some type of soft plastic lure, mainly plastic worms.
Rigging them Carolina, shaky-head or wacky style worked to catch bass. Tube baits or a jig with a soft-plastic trailer figured into the mix — except for winner Johnny McCombs of Alabama. He said he caught his two bass Sunday on a buzz bait.
Sponsors in the family
McCombs is one of few FLW pros who doesn’t have corporate sponsorship to help pay his tournament expenses.
“The only sponsors I’ve got right now are my mom and dad,” McCombs said at Sunday’s weigh-in. His parents joined him on stage after McCombs hoisted his winner’s trophy.
Watch your head
Sixth-place finisher Scott Caterbury of Springville, Ala., said Saturday he would fish the south half of the lake Sunday if his boat would fit under the Arkansas 12 bridge. It did, barely.
Canterbury said there was about 6 inches of clearance for his boat when he took off Sunday morning. He fished two hours, then returned north under the bridge again. This time there was only 4 inches to spare.
Improved for McMillan
Brandon McMillan finished ninth and he’s pleased as punch with his finish.
“I’ve never finished better than 100th here,” he said. Ninth place was good for $15,000.
He used plastic worms and jig and pigs to catch his bass Sunday.
Thrift grinds it out
Third-place pro Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., caught a couple dozen smallmouths during Saturday’s stormy weather. Sunday was tougher.
“I caught them today on a small swim bait, but it was a grind,” Thrift said.
Only Thrift and Keith Bryan of California caught five-bass limits on Sunday. The 10 pros on Sunday caught a total of 28 bass that weighed 55 pounds, 2 ounces. All were released alive.
FLW has a 98.9 live release rate in their tournaments, said weigh-in emcee Chris Jones.
Better weather brings crowd
Fishing fans took in the FLW expo with vendor booths, free product samples and a trout fishing tank for kids. A sizable crowd packed the weigh-in area at Prairie Creek park under partly cloudy to cloudy skies and cool temperatures. Only a handful of people attended Saturday’s weigh-in held mostly in the rain.
High water helps spawn
Some anglers cuss the high water, but it’s great for bass spawn, said Jon Stein, Northwest Arkansas’ fisheries biologist with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Bass fishing has improved in part because high water occurred during spring in recent years. Those bass are now catchable size, Stein said.
High water provides habitat and shelter for fry as they hatch and grow into fingerlings, then adult bass.
Ozarks anglers fish varied waters
FLW anglers from the Ozarks do well in pro fishing because most fish different kinds of lakes in local and regional circuits before joining FLW. Beaver, Table Rock, Truman, Stockton, Lake of the Ozarks and Bull Shoals are all different lakes to some degree, says the FLW magazine, Bass Fishing.
Two tournaments to go
FLW Tour anglers have two regular season tournaments left. The next is on the Mississippi River at La Crosse, Wis., May 18-21. They’ll wrap it up on the Potomac River at Marbury, Md., June 15-18.
Walleyes are king on the upper Mississippi River, but there are plenty of largemouth and smallmouth bass for FLW anglers to catch.
Charity tournament benefits hospital
Several FLW pros will fish today in the Will Fish for Kids tournament to benefit the Northwest Arkansas Children’s Hospital being built in Springdale. People pay $1,000 to fish the tournament with an FLW pro. They’ll start weighing their bass today at 2 p.m. at Prairie Creek park.
Sports on 05/01/2017