“When the water is muddy and high like this, it looks just like Buggs Island back home,” said Shaw, who has amassed more than $494,000 in career earnings with FLW Outdoors and won the Wal-Mart FLW Tour tournament on Wheeler Lake in 2005. “I could say there’s no difference—just different-sized fish.”
Shaw said he caught his limit by 1 p.m. with a green-pumpkin Lunker Lure Original Rattleback Flipping Jig with a Zoom Super Chunk and 20-pound-test Gamma fluorocarbon line.
“I can fish a jig more than one way,” Shaw said. “I’m catching them different ways—flipping in places, barely touching it in places, firing it way back in there and swimming it. It took me a while to get a limit, but that’s the way it is with jig fishing—it’s going to take time. I think that (line) has a lot to do with me being able to horse the fish in, because I don’t have to worry about it breaking.”
Shaw opened the tournament Thursday in ninth place, with a 12-pound, 12-ounce limit.
Feeling confident going into tomorrow, Shaw said he thinks he can catch his fish anywhere and plans to keep doing the same thing.
“I beat Clark Wendlandt in two games of ping-pong last night, so I was going into today really confident,” Shaw said.
“I know that doesn’t have anything to do with fishing, but anytime you get something going for you mentally, you get more motivated.”
Sam Newby of Pocola, Okla., caught his fish to advance to the final round as the No. 2 angler with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 25-08.
“I just fished two areas today, but didn’t catch anything on the first spot, since it’s been an afternoon bite,” said
Newby, who has amassed more than $642,000 in career earnings with FLW Outdoors and won the Wal-Mart FLW Tour tournament on Lake Champlain in 2002. “I left and went to my primary spot where I started yesterday and caught four and lost three; then, I went back to my big-fish spot and caught a good, solid fish to make my limit. After that, I caught two 4-pounders back-to-back.”
Newby caught a limit by 3 p.m. and plans to stick with the same strategy tomorrow.
“I’m going to go with pretty much the same thing tomorrow,” said Newby. “I have a couple of new spots I’ll probably hit that I haven’t been to since the first day of practice.”
Rounding out the top five pros who will continue competition Saturday and Sunday are Mark Pack of Mineola, Texas (10 bass, 25-00); Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C. (10 bass, 24-14) and Kyle Mabrey of McCalla, Ala. (10 bass, 24-02).
Also clearing the top-10 cut weight of 22 pounds, 8 ounces were Dan Morehead of Paducah, Ky.; Joel Richardson of Kernersville, N.C.; Mike Hawkes of Sabinal, Texas; Richard Strother of Tyler, Texas; and Greg Bohannan of Rogers, Ark.
Bill Day of Frankfort, Ky., earned the day’s $1,000 Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 5-pound, 7-ounce bass. Rob Digh of Denver, N.C., who won Thursday’s Snickers Big Bass award with a 6-pound bass, won an extra $1,000 for having the biggest bass of the tournament.
Overall there were 777 bass weighing 1,237 pounds, 10 ounces caught by 191 pros Friday. The catch included 115 five-bass limits.
Pros are competing for a top award of $200,000 this week plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by Castrol in Columbia, S.C., Aug. 14-17, where they could win as much as $1 million – the sport’s biggest award.
Tournament pros aren’t the only ones hoping to win big on Beaver Lake. The Wal-Mart Open is the fourth stop of the year for the most lucrative fantasy sports league in history, FLW Fantasy Fishing™, which offers total awards of $7.3 million, including $100,000 cash guaranteed to the top Fantasy Fishing player following every FLW Tour stop and the Forrest Wood Cup. To play FLW Fantasy Fishing, simply log on to www.fantasyfishing.com and pick a team of 10 anglers for the next FLW Tour stop. Fans can even become a virtual pro with access to exclusive insider information and tips by signing up for Player’s Advantage, which could help them earn a record $1 million as the FLW Fantasy Fishing cumulative points winner. Player’s Advantage members also receive a complimentary $15 Wal-Mart gift card.
Jared Taliaferro of Rogers, Ark., leads the Co-angler Division with an opening-round total of eight bass weighing 18-11 followed by Stetson Blaylock of Benton, Ark., in second place with 10 bass weighing 16-14.
“I used a jig with a Rage Tail Craw,” Taliaferro said. “I was swimming a jig, just getting to the bank and fishing grass and bushes. When it hits the cover, they’ll come out of the bushes and eat it.”
Taliaferro said he caught all three fish on a jig and has never used this technique on Beaver Lake before.
“I learned this on Grand Lake—swimming a jig around docks and stuff like that,” Taliaferro said. “I’m going to stick with what I’m doing; they ate it in practice and are still eating it today.”
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Bryan Talmadge of Pell City, Ala. (nine bass, 16-03); Danny Faught of Rogers, Ark. (nine bass, 15-06) and Chad Pipkens of Holt, Mich. (10 bass, 15-06).
Also clearing the top-10 cut weight of 13 pounds, 1 ounce were Burl Smith of Prairie Grove, Ark.; Bill Jarvis of Carthage, Miss.; Gregory Auzenne of Panama City, Fla.; Steven Meador of Bella Vista, Ark.; and David Lauer of South Bend, Ind.
Brian Chenowith of Russellville, Ark., earned the day’s $500 Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 5-pound, 2-ounce bass.
Overall there were 385 bass weighing 556 pounds, 2 ounces caught by 166 co-anglers Friday. The catch included 23 five-bass limits.
Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $40,000 this week.
Anglers will take off at 6:30 each morning from Prairie Creek Marina located at 1 Prairie Creek Marina Drive in Rogers, Ark. Saturday and Sunday’s weigh-ins will be held at the John Q. Hammons Center, located at 3303 Pinnacle Hills Parkway in Rogers, beginning at 4 p.m.
Prior to the weigh-ins Saturday and Sunday, FLW Outdoors will host a free Family Fun Zone and outdoor show at the John Q. Hammons Center from noon to 6 p.m. each day. The Family Fun Zone offers fans a chance to meet their Fantasy Fishing team anglers face-to-face and review the latest products from Berkley, Lowrance, Ranger, Evinrude, Yamaha and other sponsors while children are treated to giveaways, fishing themed games and rides like the Ranger Boat simulator. Saturday and Sunday children 14 and under visiting the Family Fun Zone will also receive a free rod and reel combo while supplies last. On Sunday, during the final 4 p.m. weigh-in, one lucky member of the audience will win a new Ranger boat. Admission is free and you must be present to win.
Pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, and the full field of 400 anglers competes in the two-day opening round for one of 10 slots in Saturday’s competition based on their two-day accumulated weight. Weights are cleared for Saturday, and co-angler competition concludes following Saturday’s weigh-in. The top 10 pros continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from the final two days.
The Wal-Mart Open is hosted by the Rogers Convention & Visitors Bureau and Bentonville Advertising & Promotion Commission.
Coverage of the Wal-Mart Open will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television programs airing July 13 and July 20. “FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast in Canada on WFN (World Fishing Network) and to more than 429 million households in the United Kingdom, Europe, Russia, Australia, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East through a distribution agreement with Matchroom Sport, making it the most widely distributed fishing program in the world. The program airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time in most markets. Check local listings for times in your area.
FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. In 2008 alone the organization is offering more than 90,000 anglers the chance to win over $40 million through 230 tournaments in 10 circuits targeting bass, walleye, redfish, kingfish and striped bass. FLW Outdoors is also taking fishing mainstream with the largest cash awards in the history of fantasy sports, $7.3 million.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit www.flwoutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.
For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player’s Advantage, visit www.fantasyfishing.com.