ROGERS, Ark. – The weather was the big story Saturday at the FLW Tour event at Beaver Lake presented by General Tire. After a rainy week that had seen water levels rise more than 8 feet, Mother Nature continued to challenge the FLW Tour pros with another round of heavy storms and flash flooding that forced many of the final 20 Tour pros to seek shelter during the competition day.
After starting the day in 11th place, pro Johnny McCombs of Morris, Alabama, battled through the storms and brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 18 pounds, 15 ounces – the heaviest limit of the tournament and seventh largest at Beaver Lake in FLW Tour history – to vault to the top of the leaderboard. The four-day competition, hosted by Visit Rogers, featured a field of 161 of the world’s best bass-fishing professionals casting for a top award of up to $125,000.
“I think the weather affected the fishermen more than the fish,” said McCombs, a three-time Forrest Wood Cup qualifier. “I fished all new water today and had my weight by 8:30 a.m. It wasn’t one spot – it was one here, one there. I caught them all on one bait.”
With one day of competition remaining, McCombs was not yet ready to divulge the specifics of his bait.
“The water is flooded into the bushes, and I’m just fishing down the bank line,” McCombs said. “I’m on a pattern and I know what to look for. If I pull into a place and it doesn’t look right, I’m out of there and on to the next one.
“I actually stopped fishing a few hours early today because of the storms,” McCombs continued. “I’m excited to get back out there tomorrow and hopefully I can get the right bites that I need to win this thing.”
The top 10 advancing to the final day of competition Sunday on Beaver Lake are:
1st: Johnny McCombs, Morris, Ala., 15 bass, 41-13
2nd: Jason Reyes, Huffman, Texas, 15 bass, 39-8
3rd: Cody Meyer, Auburn, Calif., 15 bass, 35-6
4th: Mud Hole Custom Tackle pro John Cox, DeBary, Fla., 14 bass, 35-3
5th: Brandon McMillan, Clewiston, Fla., 15 bass, 34-5
6th: Quaker State pro Scott Canterbury, Odenville, Ala., 15 bass, 33-4
7th: Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 15 bass, 33-2
8th: Keith Bryan, Novato, Calif., 15 bass, 32-6
9th: Dean Alexander, Georgetown, Texas, 15 bass, 32-1
10th: Christopher Brasher, Longview, Texas, 15 bass, 32-0
Finishing in 11th through 20th are:
11th: Randy Blaukat, Joplin, Mo., 14 bass, 30-8, $12,000
12th: Drew Montgomery, Maiden, N.C., 15 bass, 30-8, $12,000
13th: Joseph Webster, Fulton, Miss., 15 bass, 30-6, $12,000
14th: Bradley Dortch, Atmore, Ala., 15 bass, 29-8, $12,000
15th: Nick Gainey, Charleston, S.C., 13 bass, 29-6, $12,000
16th: Daniel Kweekul, Bryant, Ark., 12 bass, 29-2, $12,000
17th: Tim Frederick, Leesburg, Fla., 13 bass, 28-12, $12,000
18th: Matt Stefan, Junction City, Wis., 14 bass, 28-11, $12,000
19th: Scott Ashmore, Broken Arrow, Okla., 11 bass, 28-3, $12,000
20th: Jeff Dobson, Bartlesville, Okla., 15 bass, 26-15, $12,000
For a full list of results visit FLWFishing.com.
Overall there were 90 bass weighing 172 pounds even caught by pros Saturday. Fourteen of the final 20 pros weighed in five-bass limits.
Charley Slaton of Valliant, Oklahoma, won the co-angler division and $20,000 Friday with a two-day total of nine bass weighing 17 pounds, 15 ounces, followed by Billy Messer of Spartanburg, South Carolina, who finished in second place with 10 bass weighing 17 pounds, 14 ounces, worth $7,550.
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 competed Thursday and Friday. Co-angler competition concluded 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 final 10 anglers will take off from the Prairie Creek Park Boat Ramp located at 9300 N. Park Road in Rogers at 6:30 a.m. Sunday. Sunday’s final weigh-in, originally scheduled to be held at Walmart in Rogers, has been moved lakeside to Prairie Creek Park due to inclement weather being forecast for the weekend. The final weigh-in will begin at 4 p.m.
Prior to the weigh-in Sunday, FLW will host a free Fishing Expo at Prairie Creek Park from noon to 4 p.m. 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.
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.
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.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.
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. For more information visit FLWFishing.com and follow FLW at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.
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