ROGERS, Ark. – Beaver Lake bass are notorious for being fickle, especially in changing conditions. After slick and sunny on day one, the 150 Walmart FLW Tour pros received windy and cloudy on day two. Some anglers adjusted to the weather change and some failed. Count pro leader Luke Clausen in the group that adjusted.
|Luke has slim lead on difficult Beaver Lake.|
“I’m staying pretty close up here (near Prairie Creek Park) and covering a lot of water,” said the Chevy pro. “I do have a few key stretches but there are a lot of times when I get unexpected bites.”
Clausen said he had his 13-pound, 11-ounce stringer by 11 a.m. and then began to fish new stuff. In total, he sampled 20 areas, but during the final round he plans to focus on just a handful. Clausen has weighed all largemouths thus far and estimates he sorted through 15 keepers Friday.
“There was a strong morning bite today and yesterday it was better later. Ironically I wanted more wind, but I did catch them strong in some calmer areas. It seems like once you catch them, they’re gone. I really don’t think they’re replenishing much.”
The former Forrest Wood Cup and Bassmaster Classic champion said he’s pretty confident he can catch 10 or 11 pounds a day, but he doesn’t know if he can coax any kickers.
“I really haven’t gotten many big bites. The one I got today I missed and it was probably a 4-pounder. If I would have caught that I would have a nicer lead, but there’s lots of fishing left.”
Clausen’s cumulative weight is 27-4 and he has a 15-ounce lead at the halfway point in the tournament.
Second-place pro Jay Yelas understands Beaver Lake history well. While he’s caught consecutive double-digit stringers fishing dirty water up the river, he understands it’s unlikely the area can go the distance.
“It was a tougher day; I only got five keeper bites,” said Yelas. “I was really struggling until I pulled up to this one stretch and caught a 4- and a 5-pounder within five casts. It was a pretty glorious five minutes.”
What keeps Yelas coming back to the river is that big-fish potential.
“There’s other pressure in the area so I know I’ll have to make adjustments. I know I can’t do what I’ve been doing for the last two days. It just won’t last.”
Yelas has been mixing it up by flipping, throwing topwaters, spinnerbaits and crankbaits. The two big fish came via cranking around wood and anchored his 12-pound, 2-ounce limit.
“I would guess I’m going to spend about two thirds of my day tomorrow in the river. But I know I’ll have to at least come up here. The bite is usually best around mid-morning so that gives me options.”
Browne retains second
Glenn Browne’s post weigh-in quotes were almost identical to Yelas’. That’s because the two are fishing relatively the same stuff in the same area. Today Browne caught an 11-pound, 3-ounce stringer to finish the opening round with 26-1.
“I rode around with only three fish in the livewell for a long time today,” said the Dr. Pepper TEN pro. “I really think the area is in decline. They’re biting up there good, but we have absolutely hammered on them for two straight days. I think it’s maybe good for a couple fish tomorrow, but catching a limit is a tall task.”
Like Yelas, Browne is flipping and throwing two moving baits. All his weigh fish thus far have been largemouths. The Florida native remarked that in all his years here, he’s never seen a group of largemouths ganged up so good.
Count reigning Forrest Wood Cup champion Scott Martin as one more pro participating in the “up-the-river” party. Martin sacked 13-7 today to pair with his 12-3 from day one.
|Martin did a big jump into the top 5.|
Martin said his back-up plan can get him a limit, but not necessarily quality.
“I did catch a 3 1/2-pounder somewhere else today so I have options. But my main back-up plan is to get a 7-pound limit of spots.”
Martins said he has a lot of different baits going and the vast majority of his fish have been largemouths.
“I’m fishing comfortable and confident. I caught them today on a totally different bait than yesterday. I’m still not sure if the area can hold up all four days though.”
Jaye rises to fifth
Dadeville, Ala., pro Kelley Jaye sits in fifth place after catching a 14-pound, 15-ounce limit Friday. Jaye’s total weights sits at 25-4. While he too is fishing stained water, he’s using a suspended jerkbait and targeting transition banks that lead from spawning flats to deeper water.
“The biggest difference was that I saved some areas for today,” Jaye said of his 4-pound, 9-ounce improvement. “I caught one prespawn kicker and one postspawn kicker, but most of my fish are postspawn.”
Jaye said he caught nine keepers today and 15 yesterday. Most of his bites are coming in approximately 8 feet of water around rock.
“I do have one good area that’s been too muddy to fish. There are a lot of boats around in my primary area so maybe this other place will pay off.”
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top 10 pros on Beaver Lake after day two:
6th: Charlie Evans of Gilbertsville, Ky., 25-4
7th: Brad Rightnour of Mingoville, Pa., 25-1
8th: Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., 24-12
9th: David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va., 24-1
10th: Jacob Powroznik of Prince George, Va., 23-13