Greg Bohannan of Bentonville rolls out the red carpet when it comes to welcoming black bass into his boat as a top angler on the FLW Tour professional bass circuit.
He’s on the home stretch of his 11th season on the tour with two tournaments to go. Bohannan is close to qualifying for another Forrest Wood Cup, which is the FLW championship event. FLW stands for Fishing League Worldwide.
A goal of FLW anglers is to finish the season in the top 40 out of nearly 200 pros to qualify for the championship. Anglers earn points for their finishes during the season. Bohannan is in 17th place in point standings and has the Forrest Wood Cup in his sights.
If he finishes higher than 80th place in the last two tournaments, Bohannan, 46, figures he’ll qualify. That shouldn’t be a problem considering his performance this season.
The 2018 season got off to a slow start for Bohannan. The first tournament this year was in January at Lake Okeechobee in Florida, one of his favorite lakes. But Bohannan finished near the bottom of the pack in 155th place.
He bounced back in February and March with good finishes, but April was the charm. Bohannan finished fourth at Lake Cumberland in Kentucky in mid-April and 11th at Smith Lake in Alabama two weeks later.
“When we got to Cumberland, the lake was flooded” like Beaver Lake is now, Bohannan said. “I got on a good spinner bait bite.”
Smith Lake gave Bohannan some jitters.
“Typically that’s been the worst lake in my career,” he said.
Not this time. He finished in 11th place.
The tour starts competition Thursday on Kentucky Lake, another waterway that’s been good for Bohannan. He finished sixth at the lake last year during an FLW Costa Series tournament. Costa Series is another circuit many FLW pros fish. There’s a cheaper entry fee, but less prize money.
“Kentucky Lake is a world class fishery, but a big issue now is an invasion of silver carp. There’s millions and millions of them,” he said. Bass fishing isn’t as good as it has been, he added.
The last FLW tournament is in June at Lake St. Clair, near Detroit. Bohannan looks forward to making the trip.
“It has an incredible smallmouth fishing, but it can be easy not to finish well because everybody will be catching them,” he said.
Two decent finishes, and Bohannan will realize his goal.
“I want to make this Forrest Wood Cup more than I ever have because it’s in Arkansas, and I missed the last two that were here,” he said. The Forrest Wood Cup is set for August at Lake Ouachita.
Bohannan’s 17th place in point standings is solid, but he’s proud of his buddy, Mark Rose of West Memphis, the current FLW points leader. “I’d love to see him win it,” Bohannan said. The points leader is crowned FLW Angler of the Year and gets $100,000.
He and Rose room together at FLW tournaments, and Rose always stays with the Bohannan family when the tour stops at Beaver Lake.
Area anglers are used to seeing Bohannan’s truck and boat emblazoned with the logos of Old Spice, his former lead sponsor. Now it’s Pringles potato chips, a Kellogg’s brand, that primarily sponsors Bohannan.
FLW skipped Beaver Lake this year, but Bohannan knows how he’d wrangle some bass from the lake right now.
“A buzz bait is going to be a big player at Beaver for the next few weeks. Square-billed crank baits should be good, too,” Bohannan said. Work either along gravel banks, he added.
“Really though, this is the time of year when people can catch bass any way they like.”
Flip Putthoff can be reached at email@example.com
Sports on 05/15/2018