Imagine trying to shoot a game of pool on a table that rises a foot or two while you’re drawing back your cue to take a shot. Each time you draw for a shot, the table comes up.
That’s a little bit what fishing has been like for the 165 pros and co-anglers this week at the FLW Tour event presented by General Tire on Beaver Lake. Each day they get on the water, the targets they fished the day before are gone – submerged underwater.
Since practice started on Sunday, Beaver Lake has come up some 8 feet. Since the pros last saw the lake on Tuesday’s practice day, the water has come up more than 4 feet. The rising water creates a moving target that’s hard to hit when everything is in a state of flux.
While the ever-increasing water level has thrown many pros for a loop, Californian Cody Meyer only chuckles at the “epic rise.”
Meyer cut his teeth fishing lakes out west like Shasta and Oroville, where water can rise 10 to 15 feet in a day. What’s happened in eight days on Beaver Lake can occur in 8 hours on Meyer’s home waters.
Maybe that helps explain why Meyer is leading after day one with five bass weighing 16 pounds, 1 ounce. Meyer’s limit included three smallmouths and two largemouths.
“I’ve fished tournaments out west where the spot I started on in the morning was under 10 feet of water by weigh-in,” Meyer says. “So this is not that much of a shock to me. One thing I’ve learned when a sudden rise happens, especially out west, is that the fish generally stay at the depth they were in as the water rises.”
Meyer found one good spot on Beaver Lake during the practice period located in about 25 feet of water. Thursday he returned to it and fished that same spot, now in about 33 to 35 feet of water, and the fish were still there.
“It’s just a deep gravel flat,” Meyer says. “That’s probably the deepest I’ve ever caught bass on this lake.”
Meyer says the fish using the flat were mostly postspawn smallmouth, which is probably why they were in no hurry to move with the water.
“They were long, but they were all skinny as rails,” he says. “I left from down there with about 13 pounds and came back up here close to weigh-in and caught two nice largemouths on just totally random stuff, which helped me cull up.”
Meyer insists that too much not be read into his leading limit.
“I only have one good smallmouth spot and I know how this lake is – I might not get a bite there tomorrow,” he says. “And the two largemouths I caught up here were gifts. So things just went right for me today, it’s not like I think that’s something I can do every day.”
Top 10 pros
1. Cody Meyer – Auburn, Cal. – 16-1 (5)
2. Christopher Brasher – Longview, Texas – 15-11 (5)
3. John Cox – DeBary, Fla. – 14-4 (4)
4. Johnny McCombs – Morris, Ala. – 14-3 (5)
5. Daniel Kweekul – Bryant, Ark. – 13-14 (5)
6. Jason Reyes – Huffman, Texas – 13-13 (5)
7. Keith Bryan – Novato, Cal. – 13-5 (5)
8. Nick Gainey – Charleston, SC – 13-4 (5)
9. Bryan Thrift – Shelby, NC – 12-15 (5)
10. Timmy Thompkins – Myrtle Beach, SC – 12-10 (4)
Slaton leads co-anglers
Charley Slaton of Vallient, Okla. leads the day one co-angler board with four fish weighing 12 pounds, 4 ounces. Slaton fished with pro Derrick Blake of Rockwood, Tenn. Slaton says the day started out slow up shallow throwing spinnerbaits, but the bite picked up when Slaton and Blake started fishing steeper banks with soft plastics.