ROGERS, Ark. – FLW Tour pro Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C., brought the largest five-bass limit of the entire tournament to the scale Saturday weighing 16 pounds, 4 ounces to grab the lead after day three of the Walmart FLW Tour at Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. Arey’s three-day total of 15 bass for 43 pounds, 10 ounces gives him a 2 pound, 8 ounce lead over second-place angler Livingston Lures pro Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., who has a three-day weight of 15 bass worth 41-2 as the tournament heads into the final day. Only the top 10 pros will advance to the final day of competition in the four-day event, hosted by Visit Rogers, that features 173 of the world’s best bass-fishing anglers competing for a top cash award of up to $125,000.
“It’s great to be leading, but I’d almost rather be one ounce behind in second place so I wouldn’t have to deal with the pressure,” said Arey, who has two previous top-5 finishes at Beaver Lake in FLW Tour competition. “I’ve never been leading a big event going into the final day, but I’ve never felt as good as I do right now about a tournament in my life.”
Arey said that he has been starting out each morning fishing near Prairie Creek, then moving up the White River and targeting the staging prespawn largemouth.
“My fish are replenishing,” Arey said. “I’m catching fish off of the exact same transitions where I caught them in previous days and they’re solid white, so I know that they are just coming up. I’ve had most of my weight by 11 a.m., but I’ve been trying to sustain that mid- to low-teens average because that is pretty good this time of year. I’ve got a little bit of a pattern, but it’s only working in a few select areas.
“I’ve been averaging seven or eight keeper largemouth each day and four to six keeper spotted bass,” Arey continued. “Of the 15 bass that I have weighed in, 14 of them have been largemouth. It’s not a big secret – I’m catching most of my fish on a jig. I’m rotating between two or three different baits, but the jig has been key for me.”
“I’m going to do the same thing tomorrow,” Arey went on to say. “I’m going to start near Prairie Creek and hopefully catch a few fish early to help settle the nerves. Then, I’m going to work my way up the river and just pick it apart. I’m going to pound it tomorrow and I know that I have to catch them again.”
The top 10 pros advancing to the final day of competition on Beaver Lake are:
1st: Matt Arey, Shelby, N.C., 15 bass, 43-10
2nd: Livingston Lures pro Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 15 bass, 41-2
3rd: Travis Fox, Rogers, Ark., 15 bass, 38-9
4th: Castrol pro David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., 15 bass, 38-5
5th: Micah Frazier, Newnan, Ga., 15 bass, 38-3
6th: Repel pro Cody Meyer, Auburn, Calif., 15 bass, 38-2
7th: Scott Martin, Clewiston, Fla., 15 bass, 37-8
8th: Troy Morrow, Eastanollee, Ga., 15 bass, 37-5
9th: Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C., 15 bass, 37-2
10th: Walmart pro Mark Rose, West Memphis, Ark., 15 bass, 36-4
Finishing in 11th through 20th are:
11th: Chevy pro Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 15 bass, 36-3, $12,000
12th: Spencer Shuffield, Bismarck, Ark., 14 bass, 34-5, $12,000
13th: Chevy pro Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., 15 bass, 34-4, $12,000
14th: Eric Olliverson, Lampe, Mo., 15 bass, 33-12, $12,000
15th: Cheez-It pro Shinichi Fukae, Palestine, Texas, 15 bass, 33-11, $12,000
16th: Matt Herren, Trussville, Ala., 15 bass, 32-1, $12,000
17th: Jason Christie, Park Hill, Okla., 15 bass, 31-1, $12,000
18th: Steve Kennedy, Auburn, Ala., 15 bass, 30-0, $12,000
19th: Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., 13 bass, 29-3, $12,000
20th: Stacey King, Reeds Spring, Mo., 14 bass, 28-14, $12,000
Final results for the remaining field can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.
Overall there were 96 bass weighing 204 pounds, 9 ounces caught by pros Saturday. The catch included 17 five-bass limits.
Pros are competing for a top award of up to $125,000 this week plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing. The top 35 anglers in the point standings from the six events on the 2014 Walmart FLW Tour will qualify. The 2014 Forrest Wood Cup will be in Columbia, S.C., Aug. 14-17 on Lake Murray and is hosted by Capital City Lake Murray Country. Anglers could win as much as $500,000 – professional bass-fishing’s richest prize.
Mike McDonald of Randleman, N.C., won the co-angler division and $25,000 Saturday with a three-day total of 12 bass weighing 24 pounds, 10 ounces, followed by Todd Lee of Jasper, Ala., in second place with 14 bass weighing 23 pounds, 1 ounce worth $7,500.
“When it’s your time to win, it’s your time,” said McDonald, who has three career wins as a boater on the Walmart BFL circuit. “I fished flawlessly this week. I lost no fish, and I really caught quality fish. A 3- or 4-pounder will take you a long way in this tournament.”
McDonald said he that his key bait this week was an Obsession Lures jig, but he also caught fish on a Yamamoto Senko.
The top 10 co-anglers finished:
1st: Mike McDonald, Randleman, N.C., 12 bass, 24-10, $25,000
2nd: Todd Lee, Jasper, Ala., 14 bass, 23-1, $7,500
3rd: Bryan New, Belmont, N.C., 13 bass, 22-13, $5,000
4th: Nick Hensley, Cumming, Ga., 13 bass, 22-11, $4,000
5th: Nick Loeffelman Jr., Valles Mines, Mo., 10 bass, 22-2, $3,250
6th: Braxton Setzer, Auburn, Ala., nine bass, 21-3, $2,500
7th: James Jewett, Nashville, Tenn., 11 bass, 19-14, $2,000
8th: J.R. Wright, Truckee, Calif., 13 bass, 19-4, $1,800
9th: Michael Smith, Pickerington, Ohio, 13 bass, 18-13, $1,700
10th: Hunter Hicks, Charlotte, N.C., 12 bass, 18-8, $1,600
For a full list of results visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Overall there were 53 bass weighing 89 pounds, 2 ounces caught by co-anglers Saturday. Two co-anglers were able to boat a five-bass limit.
In addition to the top award of $25,000, co-anglers were also fishing this week for valuable points that would help them qualify for the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. The top 35 co-anglers in the point standings from the six events on the 2014 Walmart FLW Tour will qualify.
Anglers will take off from Prairie Creek Park located at 9300 N. Park Road in Rogers at 7 a.m. on Sunday. Sunday’s final weigh-in will be held at the John Q. Hammons Center located at 3303 Pinnacle Hills Parkway in Rogers beginning at 4 p.m.
Fans will also be treated to the FLW Expo at Walmart on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-ins. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. The first 150 children 14 and under who are accompanied by an adult will receive a voucher to redeem for a free rod and reel combo courtesy of KNWA each day after the final weigh-in. Also on Sunday, country music superstar Rodney Atkins will perform a free live concert on the Walmart weigh-in stage at 3 p.m. All activities are free and open to the public.
Coverage of the Beaver Lake tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs June 14 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. ET. The Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.