Live On The Water Twitter stream (scroll to the bottom)
2:15 p.m.: Final update
This is it for us. The pros check in at 3 p.m. and then head to Walmart for the weigh-in at 4 p.m. Currently, it certainly looks as though Scott Canterbury will take over the lead and head into the final day with at least a little space to hunt for his first FLW Tour win on the final day.
As for the rest of the crew, Darrel Robertson and Jimmy Houston each need a key bite in the final minutes to get up past 10 pounds and stay in striking distance, and Bryan Schmitt might need a good bite just to stay in the top 10. Matt Arey, on the other hand, culled with a 3-pounder minutes ago and might be around 12 pounds – certainly enough to be in striking distance on the final day.
The pros on the way up are almost certainly Scott Martin and Stetson Blaylock. Martin added another big fish and may have the best bag of the day, and Blaylock is sitting on 12 pounds and maybe more.
Despite a white-hot start to the day, the bass don’t seem to have cooperated so well in the afternoon and weigh-in is likely to end with a very closely packed top 10. We’ll drop in a few more updates on Twitter over the next 30 minutes or so, but you’ll definitely want to watch the weigh-in live at 4 p.m. CT.
1:40 p.m.: Blaylock may have assured himself a spot
Stetson Blaylock has been bouncing between Prairie Creek and the main lake as the day has gone on and he finally made the right bounce. He’s caught plenty of fish today, but the 3-pounder he just caught give him about 12 pounds and ought to assure him a place in the top 10.
1:20 p.m.: We’ve hit a lull
The last hour or so has produced a pretty significant weather change. Though not straight sunny or scorching, the sun is increasingly popping out, the air has warmed into the upper 60s and the wind has slacked off considerably. Luckily, for those hoping to take advantage of a moving-bait bite, it is still at least steady, blowing small waves across Prairie Creek. That said, it isn’t driving like it was in the morning.
One angler who might be liking the changing weather is JT Kenney. The last couple hours have been good to him, and he now has about 12 pounds in the boat. With that bag, he’s almost certainly fishing on the final day.
12:50 p.m.: Rounding them up
Today has been a tough slog for some of the pros, specifically, JT Kenney, Brandon Cobb and Kerry Milner are still short of a limit and only have little ones. Similarly without a limit is Darrell Davis, but he’s got four that go around 7 pounds and two really nice fish to build on already.
Also struggling a bit is Darrel Robertson. He headed into the day with the lead, but he’s caught about 12 keepers on the day and his limit doesn’t go much past 8 pounds.
The back of the top 10 is providing a lot of action today, as Jeff Gustafson and Scott Martin are trading blows and trying to break the deadlock and get into striking position for tomorrow.
One interesting note is that most of the action seems to be taking place above the bridge. Aside from Gussy and a lot of keepers caught in Prairie Creek, just about everyone who has caught a big one has done it in up river a bit where the water is still dirty, but a touch cleaner than the water in the mid-lake area.
Noon: Looking for a kicker
Everyone in the top six aside from Darrel Robertson has a limit now, and the time has come to hunt for a kicker bite or two. The last two days, whoever caught the biggest bass of the day ended up in the lead, and that may turn out to be the case again today. Just a moment ago, Scott Martin landed a bass that will go close to 4 pounds and push his limit into the low teens. Though he’s coming up from 10th and likely can’t catch Canterbury or any of the other leaders today, he’s certainly getting into position for tomorrow. Back in 14th, Andrew Upshaw is also on the hunt for a kicker – he’s moved from Prairie Creek all the way down toward the dam and started sight-fishing.
Blaylock culling mid-morning
11:30 a.m.: Making the top 10 push
Of the pros sitting back in double digits, Chris Whitson and Andy Morgan appear to be making the strongest charge to fish the final day. Whitson is fishing far up the river, mostly working a jig and a spinnerbait around rock and wood, perhaps a little like Scott Canterbury’s program. On the other hand, Morgan is working on a bag that has gotten a bit past the double-digit mark in the main lake. As per Morgan’s usual mode, he’s moving fast and tossing a crankbait and a spinnerbait, primarily targeting shallow rocky banks with bushes.
10:45 a.m.: Arey adjusting
With two wins on Beaver Lake under his belt, Matt Arey’s prowess on the Ozark impoundment is second to none. So far today (after smacking 17-8 yesterday), he’s just got a small limit in the boat, but he caught his biggest of the day minutes before check-in on Friday and he’s starting to change things up. Arey began the day dragging a jig, looking to target prespawn largemouths, and it did result in one good fish. Now, he’s made a move, running up the river toward cleaner water and still throwing the jig. Last year, he got on a roll in a hurry. Everyone is watching for it to happen again today.
9:50 a.m.: Morning weight update
Below (ordered by starting place) are the unofficial weights for the top 10 anglers on day three.
1. Darrel Robertson – 8 pounds (5)
2. Scott Canterbury – 10 pounds (4)
3. Jimmy Houston – 6 pounds (4)
4. Matt Arey – 8.5 pounds (5)
5. Jeff Sprague – 9 pounds (4)
6. Bryan Schmitt – 5 pounds (3)
7. Kurt Mitchell – 6 pounds (2)
8. JT Kenney – 0 pounds (2)
9. Stetson Blaylock – 11 pounds (5)
10. Jeff Gustafson – 7 pounds (5)
Morning update from Arey
9:10 a.m.: Canterbury ascending
Scott “Hammerbury” Canterbury could be making a move early on day three. He’s found a few bedding bass, but of late a jig around wood has been doing the damage for him. A few minutes ago, the Quaker State pro put his second 3-pounder on the deck and he’s not got four bass that should go about 10 pounds. Canterbury isn’t just flipping everything he sees out there, he’s fishing a good ways up the lake, and the wood getting his attention is located on very specific types of banks.
8:20 a.m.: Updating on the leaders
Among the top 5, everyone has boated a fish so far. Darrel Robertson has a pair of small keepers so far. Scott Canterbury has three pretty good ones, one that goes about 3 pounds, another that is 17-inches long and quite skinny and a 2-pounder. Jimmy Houston landed his third a moment ago, but none of them are big by any means. Matt Arey has the most of any in the top 5, with four keepers, one that is in the 2+ range and three that are pretty small to go with. In fifth, Sprague has added a 2-pounder to his 3-pounder and probably has over 5 pounds for just two fish.
7:55 a.m.: Separation and heartbreak
Most everybody has a fish or three in the box now (though Scott Canterbury is bed fishing and striking out), so the unusual is perhaps the better place to focus. For that, the prime example is Scott Martin. Martin began the day essentially tied for 10th place, and he’s on his way to moving out of that tie pretty quickly. So far, he’s got four in the boat that go about 10 pounds. He’s also really been taking advantage of the weather, cranking for his two best.
On the other side of the coin, Jeff Sprague could be kicking himself on Sunday after the morning he’s had. Sprague started with a 3-pounder, exactly the sort of fish that he needs to make a run at his first Tour win. The, just minutes ago, he lost two quality bites in a row – one for seemingly no reason and another that wrapped him around a tree before escaping at the boat. Of course, Sprague is mentally in a much better place now, so this start might simply be a bump in the road.
Sprague fishing on day 2
7:10 a.m.: Catches are rolling in
The wind is blowing, the weather is warm and a slew of pros are catching them early. Matt Arey is on the board with a decent keeper spot and a 2-pound largemouth. Jacob Wheeler has two in the ‘well, one a chunky largemouth. Scott Martin has three so far, including one that might go three pounds. Jeff Sprague began with a 3-pounder. Stetson Blaylock has two small keepers. Additionally, Brandon Cobb, Jim Moynagh and Darrell Davis all have a fish in the boat.
6:30 a.m.: Will we see another lead change on day three?
As day three of the Walmart FLW Tour presented by Jack Link’s takes off onto Beaver Lake out of Prairie Creek, everyone is conscious of the changeable nature of the lake. Friday night was the warmest of the week, with temperatures barely dipping into the 50s, and each day so far has featured a lead change. With the top 10 so tightly stacked, anything is possible. Darrel Robertson may well have the lead now, but with Quaker State pro Scott Canterbury just an ounce behind him and Jimmy Houston and Matt Arey nearly as close, drama is almost guaranteed.
On day two, Robertson took the lead fishing the clearer water and targeting bass on and around beds. With windier and cloudier conditions, that’s his gameplan for now as well. Behind him, the trio of Quaker State pros are all fishing a little differently – Jimmy Houston with a spinnerbait and Matt Arey and Scott Canterbury deliberately adjusting as the day plays out in front of them.
Of course, the top four aren’t the only ones fishing. Keystone Light pro Jeff Sprague is in striking distance, Andy Morgan made the top 20 and Bryan Schmitt is sitting in sixth and caught 16 pounds on day two. Suffice to say, Saturday is going to be fun.
Current temperature: 60 degrees
Forecast high: 70 degrees
Precipitation: 10 percent chance
Wind: SE at 15 mph
Day 2 videos
Watch the day-three weigh-in live at FLWFishing.com starting at 4 p.m. CT or in-person at Walmart at 2110 W. Walnut Street, Rogers, Ark., 72756.
Click here for complete tournament details.