(Apr 28, 2017 - ROGERS, AR.)
Pro Cody Meyer of Auburn, California, caught a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds, 1 ounce Thursday to take the lead on opening day of the four-day FLW Tour event at Beaver Lake. The event, presented by General Tire, features a field of 322 of the world’s best bass-fishing professionals and co-anglers casting for top awards of up to $125,000 cash in the pro division and up to $25,000 cash in the co-angler division.
A rainy week has brought Beaver Lake water levels up drastically – as much as 8 feet – in the last seven days. As anglers launched from Prairie Creek Park Marina they faced a very different fishery than the one that they had experienced during practice. While many competitors fished shallow water, Meyer ran into a few smallmouth in deeper water with a drop-shot rig.
“Today was awesome, but I got really lucky,” said Meyer, an eight-time Forrest Wood Cup qualifier. “I pulled up on a deep spot where I had gotten a bite in practice and caught four good smallmouth. It happened really quickly. I had a limit around 13 pounds or so, and I ended up making my way back to the check-in at Prairie Creek to end my day. I ended up catching two largemouth shallow just before checking in – my two biggest of the day. It was so random, but those big ones really helped.”
Meyer’s five-bass limit consisted of two largemouth and three smallmouth bass.
"I caught them on four different baits,” he said. “I flipped a couple, threw some little swimbaits and had a couple of different drop-shot rigs.
“I’m looking forward to going back out there tomorrow, but who know what’s going to happen,” Meyer went on to say. “I’ve been here so many times that I know it is very possible to go out tomorrow and not even get a bite. I’m very happy to be where I’m at, though.”
The top 10 pros after day one on Beaver Lake are:
1st: Cody Meyer, Auburn, Calif., five bass, 16-1
2nd: Christopher Brasher, Longview, Texas, five bass, 15-11
3rd: Mud Hole Custom Tackle pro John Cox, DeBary, Fla., four bass, 14-4
4th: Johnny McCombs, Morris, Ala., five bass, 14-3
5th: Daniel Kweekul, Bryant, Ark., five bass, 13-14
6th: Jason Reyes, Huffman, Texas, five bass, 13-13
7th: Keith Bryan, Novato, Calif., five bass, 13-5
8th: Nick Gainey, Charleston, S.C., five bass, 13-4
9th: Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., five bass, 12-15
10th: Timmy Thompkins, Myrtle Beach, S.C., four bass, 12-10
John Devere of Berea, Kentucky, earned the day's $500 Big Bass award in the pro division thanks to a 6-pound, 4-ounce largemouth.
Overall there were 637 bass weighing 1,217 pounds, 11 ounces caught by 156 pros Thursday. The catch included 85 five-bass limits.
Charley Slaton of Valliant, Oklahoma, leads the co-angler division with four bass weighing 12 pounds, 2 ounces, followed by Rex Jaeger of Hamilton, Ohio, who weighed four bass totaling 11-0, good for second place.
The top 10 co-anglers after day one on Beaver Lake are:
1st: Charley Slaton, Valliant, Okla., four bass, 12-2
2nd: Rex Jaeger, Hamilton, Ohio, four bass, 11-0
3rd: Steve York, Bronson, Mich., five bass, 10-15
4th: Tim Cales, Sandstone, W.Va., five bass, 10-0
5th: Scotty Villines, Ponca, Ark., five bass, 9-12
6th: Wataru Iwahori, Palestine, Texas, five bass, 9-2
7th: Scott Parsons, Rogers, Ark., three bass, 9-1
8th: Scott Easter, Gentry, Ark., four bass, 8-8
9th: Don Harvey, Franklin, Tenn., four bass, 8-7
10th: Steven Meador, Bentonville, Ark., five bass, 8-6
Kevin Medine of Port Allen, Louisiana, earned $250 for the Big Bass award in the co-angler division with a largemouth weighing 6-pounds even.
Overall there were 336 bass weighing 569 pounds, 9 ounces caught by 127 co-anglers Thursday. The catch included 18 five-bass limits.
In FLW Tour competition, pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, controlling boat movement and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. The full field of 322 anglers competes Thursday and Friday. Co-angler competition concludes following Friday’s weigh-in, while the top 20 pros based on their two-day accumulated weight advance to Saturday. Only the top 10 pros continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from the four days of competition.
Throughout the season, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of professional bass fishing. The 2017 Forrest Wood Cup will be on Lake Murray in Columbia, South Carolina, Aug. 11-13.
The FLW Tour has visited Beaver Lake 18 times previously, with 2017 marking the 19th visit in FLW’s 22-year history. The total purse for the FLW Tour at the Beaver Lake presented by General Tire is more than $800,000, including $10,000 through 50th place in the Pro Division. The tournament is hosted by Visit Rogers.
Anglers will take off from the Prairie Creek Park Boat Ramp located at 9300 N. Park Road in Rogers at 6:30 a.m. each day of competition. Friday’s weigh-in will be held at Prairie Creek Park beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s final weigh-ins will be held at Walmart, located at 2110 W. Walnut St., in Rogers beginning at 4 p.m.
Prior to the weigh-ins Saturday and Sunday, FLW will host a free Fishing Expo at Walmart from noon to 4 p.m. each day. The Expo is a chance for fishing fans to meet their favorite anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by FLW sponsors, and learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities.
Also for youth, the FLW Foundation’s Unified Fishing Derby will be held at Lake Bentonville Park, located at 2204 SW I St., in Bentonville on Saturday, April 29, from 8:30-10:30 a.m. The event is hosted by FLW Foundation pro Cody Kelley along with other FLW Tour anglers, and is free and open to area youth 15 years of age and younger and Special Olympics athletes. Rods and reels are available for use, but youth are encouraged to bring their own if they own one.
Television coverage of the FLW Tour at Beaver Lake presented by General Tire will premiere in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) June 18 from 6 a.m.-7 a.m. EDT. The Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show airs on NBCSN, the Pursuit Channel and the World Fishing Network and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2017 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 274 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros.