Day one of the Walmart FLW Bass Fishing Tour kicked off Thursday (April 11) at 7 a.m. on Beaver Lake. The cold, snowy start to the day did not slow down the anglers.
There are 320 anglers and 160 boats participating this year. Eager anglers from all over the country launched their boats from Prairie Creek before daybreak.
Despite some snow and winter-like temperatures, the professional anglers said the fish will still be biting.
”It’s an advantage mentally,” said Professional Angler Dan Morehead from Kentucky. “A lot of these guys are rookies, or new at this. So, they are already taken out of the game mentally just because it’s snowing and cold.”
Local pro, Greg Bohannan, said he catches the most fish in these types of conditions.
”These fish don’t mind these kinds of conditions, they actually thrive on this,” said the Rogers native. “I look for pretty good catches today. Now, tomorrow, when it gets really pretty and calm out there, that will be when it will get hard to catch them.”
Morehead started fishing in tournaments with his dad when he was just three years old. Now he is a seven-time national title holder and he won the FLW Tournament in 2003.
”He made sure I got my college education and I’ve been doing this professionally now for 20 years after getting a masters and two degrees in college," Morehead said. "I guess I haven’t grown up yet, I haven’t gotten a real job. I love it, this is my life.”
And while some anglers travel in to compete, others are locals and have a home lake advantage.
”Usually anything in the top 50 I consider a good tournament but there’s not a tournament that I would rather win than right here in my home lake at Beaver Lake,” said Bohannan.
Every day the anglers will bring in their five biggest fish to weigh in hopes of winning the $125,000 cash prize.
Tournament Director Bill Taylor said the tournament will bring in more than $1.5 Million to the local economy over the course of the weekend.
The FLW Tournament will also have a free outdoor expo at the John Q. Hammons Center this weekend (April 13-14).
For more information visit: www.flwoutdoors.com/bassfishing/flw/tournament/2013/6945/beaver-lake-home/