FLW Live runs from 8:30 a.m. CT to 12:30 p.m. CT
2:37 The blog is done
Well folks, thanks for tuning in to another week on Beaver Lake. Weigh-in starts at 4 p.m. CT, and check-in is at 3:15. There’s a smidgen of time left, but we’re getting down to the wire for someone to catch Johnny McCombs or for McCombs himself to ice this thing.
2:22 Thrift is culling
Bryan Thrift just culled out a small spotted bass with a 2- to 3-pound smallmouth. He’s got about 10 pounds now, but he’s still shy of both Johnny McCombs and Jason Reyes by our estimations.
2:08 WE HAVE A LIMIT
It took the best angler in the world nearly all day, but Bryan Thrift finally caught his fifth fish. It’s the first limit of the day, and gives him perhaps 9 pounds in the livewell. Now he just needs a couple kickers to catch Johnny McCombs.
1:55 Meyer has his third
Back in Prairie Creek, Cody Meyer just caught his third keeper, a solid 2.5-pounder. He says he got scared because it’s been so long since he had a bite.
11:35 Thrift lost one
Bryan Thrift just lost what would have been his fifth keeper at the boat. That hurts, especially today with McCombs still on two fish.
1:20 The Prairie Creek Open is starting up
With so many pros scrapping for a limit, it’s natural that they would make their way back into Prairie Creek. Now both John Cox and Jason Reyes have made it back near takeoff to try and grind out a limit.
1:05 Thrift is catching shorts
One of the only folks catching anything in Bryan Thrift. He’s fishing down the lake in a fierce wind and has caught three shorts since out last update. One was a largemouth that would have been an easy keeper if it had spots.
12:40 It’s a grind…
Whew, Beaver is tough today. It’s odd, despite the mud and rising water, it seems like going finesse is the way of the day. Bryan Thrift has caught most of his on a dinky swimbait, Scott Canterbury has done his damage with a Ned rig and Keith Bryan is pretty much sticking with a shaky head.
12:30 Welcome back!
Hey folks, welcome back from FLW Live! We’re with you the rest of the way (or at least until about 2:30 p.m. CT), and the pros are due back for check-in at 3:15 p.m. CT and weigh-in at 4 p.m. CT. It’s crunch time – there are only a few hours left and there are lots of limits to fill. It’s looking pretty wide open in the last few hours.
12:22 Reyes is back on the saddle, Bryan gets a good one
Jason Reyes has moved back from the dam up to the saddle in Prairie Creek. Looks like he’s going to grind it out for a limit in the waning hours.
Keith Bryan just caught his fourth fish, a solid 3-pounder that will help him out a ton.
12:07 McCombs is denied
Johnny McCombs just tried to move up the river to catch spotted bass and was denied by the bridge. He tried to get under, got his bow in a little and decided to drop back. If it was slick calm he could probably make it, but it’s pretty rough now. The water has obviously come up since Scott Canterbury slipped through and back earlier in the day.
12:08 Three for Bryan
Keith Bryan just picked up his third keeper of the day. It’s not anything special, but keepers are like gold today.
11:53 Cox is back up toward Prairie, Canterbury with another
John Cox just moved back up towards Prairie Creek and is fishing one of the islands around the mouth. The water looks great, but pretty much everything in the lake does now.
Scott Canterbury just caught his third keeper, it’s small, but he’s steadily moving on up.
11:47 McCombs continues to adjust
Johnny McCombs is still fishing “used” water, but he’s changed up baits. Instead of slinging the buzzbait, he’s tied on a swimbait with a belly weight. Though he’s still throwing the buzzbait some, McCombs definitely has a new plan if he needs to follow up a miss.
Also, in care you're wondering, Jason Reyes still has just three fish.
11:38 McCombs notes, Canterbury
Johnny McCombs just missed another fish on the buzzbait and is now making some adjustments. Due to all the debris in the water, he’s not using a trailer hook, which seems to be very detrimental today. Another interesting note about his fishing is that he’s giving his buzzbait a twitch or two on a lot of his casts, looking to give it a little extra triggering action. Anyhow, now he’s tied on a lizard and is trying to get one of his buzzbait misses to re-commit.
Elsewhere, Scott Canterbury just caught his second of the day, another 2-pounder on a Ned rig.
11:25 McCombs is re-running water
Johnny McCombs has largely fished only fresh water this morning (or at least not re-fished anything or hung around). That’s about to change, as he just settled down on his starting spot. His pattern might be dying, but his spots probably have a few more fish around them.
11:15 Thrift is staying out
Bryan Thrift is fishing about 30 yards off docks and trees in the lower end of the lake and casting a small swimbait up to them. He’s definitely fishing for bass that haven’t moved up (toward the new bank) with the rising water. He’s still on four, but two good bites would put him in the lead with the top folks struggling as they are.
10:58 And he’s back to the bushes, Meyer gets another
John Cox has given up on the sight-fishing venture and headed back into the bushes where he caught his fish this morning. Down the lake, Cody Meyer finally caught a second fish, a small spotted bass.
10:40 Cox is back to sight-fishing
Still hung on just one fish (with a few losses in heavy cover mixed in), John Cox is changing it up. He caught his big ones on day one sight-fishing, and he’s decided to do a little looking again. Even though the water has come up a mile, it’s still plenty clear down in the main lake.
10:30 Beaver is definitely tougher today
Beaver Lake is for sure a little tougher today. By 10:30 on day three we had piles of limits. Today, Bryan Thrift is the best off and he has four fish. The wind is continuing to blow, and it’s still getting colder – the raingear the pros are bundled in is more for warmth than rain now.
10:22 Reyes gets one
Jason Reyes’ move down toward the dam may end up working out. He just caught a small keeper smallmouth and he’s been targeting timber and docks out in the wind.
10:10 Canterbury, McCombs changes
Scott Canterbury just caught his first of the day, a decent 2-pounder he plucked with a Ned rig.
Johnny McCombs has made a move now. Instead of fishing lawns, he’s moved into Prairie Creek and is flipping and pitching flooded trees and sawdust piles.
Keith Bryan has been swapping between a little worm and a spinnerbait today and has two keepers to show for it. He just picked up a 7-inch Osprey, and figures he has nothing to lose. It’d sure be cool to see a big swimmy figure into a Cali-style comeback .
10:00 McMillan and Thrift
Brandon McMillan caught one decent largemouth early on a buzzbait and has been fishless since. For most of the day, he’s be flipping shallow cover because that's the only way he thinks he can win.
Bryan Thrift has caught the most fish of anyone so far today (surprise, surprise), and just added his fourth, a decent smallmouth on a swimbait.
9:40 Reyes is going for it
Jason Reyes has had a pretty tough morning – what worked yesterday ain’t working today. Now, due to a “gut feeling,” Reyes is going to run down to the dam and change things up. It’s starting to blow, and usually the clear water is the place to be in the wind, so he might be feeling the right thing.
9:35 McCombs just missed a big one
Johnny McCombs just missed what he says is a 4- or 5-pounder on his buzzbait. It adds to a number of misses he’s had this morning – the fish just don’t seem to be eating it as well. Regardless, his buzzbait fishing is mesmerizing to watch on FLW Live. He’s making pinpoint casts as shallow as he can get and running his bait parallel to everything he can find, be it a lawn, a fence or a hedge.
9:25 McMillan is a wild card
Brandon McMillan has been fishing out of service for most of the tournament, so we don’t know what he’s up to so far. He might have a limit, he might have nothing. Hopefully he’ll move into service soon and we can get an update. Word is he’s going to fish shallow for largemouths all day today, so he could certainly make a big move.
9:10 There’s a little rain moving through
There’s a touch of rain moving through the area now. Luckily, it doesn’t appear to be very significant.
9:00 McCombs missed one, Meyer is running
Johnny McCombs just missed a pretty good bite on a buzzbait, pitched in with a jig and couldn’t get it to go. He’s covering water at a frantic pace, but it’s working.
Meanwhile, Cody Meyer has decided to ditch Prairie Creek – he’s headed to the clearer water down by the dam.
8:33 Reyes stuck on two, Canterbury
Jason Reyes is still on two. He just went through about five rods in five minutes and has now settled on a spinnerbait after catching a few shorts on it.
Scott Canterbury is still fishless – the boat ramp he limited off on day three is now flooded over even more.
8:30 Canterbury is back, the wind is coming
Scott Canterbury just rolled back into Prairie Creek, so he didn’t get stuck under the bridge, which is good to know. The weather is also starting to switch up out on the lake – it looks like the forecasted wind has arrived.
8:18 Two for McCombs
Slinging the buzzbait, Johnny McCombs just caught his second keeper of the day, a solid 2-pounder. It’s early, but he’s on track to win this thing at the rate he’s going.
8:04 A spot for Cox, Alexander
After breaking on off in the bushes, John Cox re-tied and flipped up a 2-pound spotted bass to get his day started. Dean Alexander also got on the board with a 2-pounder.
7:47 Three for Thrift
Bryan Thrift boxed up his second smallmouth of the morning on a spinnerbait. He’s got three for about five pounds now.
7:40 McCombs strikes
Fishing a lawn, Johnny McCombs just put a 3-pounder in the boat for keeper numero uno. The man has really had a knack for quality these last two days.
7:35 Cox is moving around, Thrift, Meyer
John Cox started right by Prairie Creek, but he’s picked up stakes and moved now. He headed down toward the main lake and a little cleaner water and stopped on a main lake point with a bunch of submerged bushes on it.
Bryan Thrift just moved back into Prairie, and just boated his second keeper, a small spotted bass. Nearby, Cody Meyer has a squeaker spot as well.
7:31 Bryan gets one
Keith Bryan’s first fish is a decent 2-pounder.
7:30 McCombs is moving
Johnny McCombs has fished two areas so far and just moved on to his third. They’re all fairly close together and he’s now fishing behind a dock around some flooded stuff. No matter what, he’s been sticking to the bank the whole time, not the old shoreline like some others have.
7:15 McCombs has missed three
Johnny McCombs started in someone’s yard and has missed three on a buzzbait so far this morning. Besides the buzzer, he’s also making a pitch or two into flooded bushes, but hasn’t had any luck on that yet.
7:09 Thrift is on the board
Caught near takeoff, Bryan Thrift’s first fish is a swimbait smallmouth that goes about 2 pounds.
7:05 Reyes adds
Jason Reyes has a second fish now, a decent smallmouth. He’s got two super early – so far it’s looking like a repeat of day three.
7:04 Water level notes
Due to the high water, it is just barely possible to get under the Highway 12 bridge. Scott Canterbury just did, but he had to put his Poles down to sneak through. For any anglers fishing up the lake, the big risk might be in the afternoon – there’s a very good chance the water will keep coming up and make it impossible to get back to takeoff. Also, the line of chocolate milk-colored water has moved down the lake overnight – it's now super muddy just a little bit down from Prairie Creek.
6:53 Reyes is on the board
Jason Reyes is the first on the board, catching a spotted bass off the same saddle he started at on the morning of day three.
6:45 McCombs’ pattern
Andy Morgan says “Johnny [McCombs] is the most naturally talented fisherman I’ve ever been in the boat with.” With an endorsement like that, it’s hard not to get excited about his potential to win.
McCombs took the lead on day three with a whopper of a stringer landed almost entirely on a buzzbait. He was fishing shallow, flooded cover, and actually caught a number of bass almost on top of spawning carp. He says casting to carp is something he discovered back home, and it’s worked for a few big ones this week. For some reason, it appears that he’s dialed to largemouths that are relating to and almost in the midst of the carp spawn. He’s not only casting to carp, but it’s a definite part of his plan.
6:45 McCombs is going for the win
From the weather the last week or so, it’s obvious that the weather gods are trying to drown the fish in Beaver Lake. The result has been torrents of fresh water flooding into the lake and a precipitous rise that has pushed the lake over flood stage and up more than 10 feet in the last 10 days. All that water has made things very interesting for the FLW Tour presented by General Tire. Beaver Lake is a challenging tournament lake in the best of conditions – this week has tested the competitors to the max.
On top after three days of grueling competition is Johnny McCombs, who has returned to the Tour for the first time since 2003 and is looking for his first career win this week on Beaver. McCombs did well on day one, faltered on day two, and blew everyone away on day three with the biggest bag of the tournament. Just as Cody Meyer faltered, McCombs stepped up, blazing past the field with a shallow buzzbait bite that he thinks he can run again today. In second, Jason Reyes has been one of the most consistent pros this week, and he was a kicker away from the lead on day three. Lurking in fourth, Forrest Wood Cup champion John Cox has as much potential as anyone for a final-day charge.
With any luck, the final day should fairly dry. Though it’s going to be breezy and cooler, the storms that rolled over the lake Saturday night blew out slight before takeoff. Nevertheless, the cooling weather could pose a serious issue – many pros are fishing shallow this week, and the overnight rain and crisper temperatures might prove to be a deadly combination. As usual on the Beav, adjustments are likely to be key. Maybe McCombs will be able to run his pattern with ease – if he isn’t, there are nine other hammers ready and willing to pick up the slack.
Temperature at takeoff: 59 degrees
Forecast high: 57 degrees
Precipitation: raining at takeoff, 50 percent chance of rain
Wind: SW at 22 mph
Water level: 1130.73 feet at takeoff
Format: All pros and co-anglers will compete for two days. The co-angler champion will be crowned on day two, and the field will be cut to the top 20 pros on day three and the top 10 pros on day four. The winners will be determined by total cumulative weight.
Takeoff Time: 6:45 a.m. CT
Takeoff Location: Prairie Creek Recreation Area, 9300 North Park Road, Rogers, AR
Weigh-In Time: 3 p.m. CT on days one and two; 4 p.m. CT on days three and four
Weigh-In Location: Prairie Creek all days