Chevy pro Luke Clausen of Spokane, Wash. has 14 top-10 finishes on the FLW Tour, but a strong finish at Beaver Lake has always seemed to elude him. Clausen took a big step in getting that monkey off of his back as he is now leading a full field of pros from all across the United States, Canada, Spain and Japan as they fish for a top cash award of up to $125,000 at the Walmart FLW Tour Major on Beaver Lake presented by Straight Talk.

The west coast native weighed in a five-bass limit Friday weighing 13 pounds, 11 ounces to catapult into the top spot after finishing day one in ninth place. After two days of fishing Clausen has weighed in 10 bass totaling 27 pounds, 4 ounces, and holds a 15-ounce lead over fellow Chevy pro Jay Yelas of Corvallis, Ore., who caught five bass today weighing 12-2. Yelas has weighed in 10 bass totaling 26-5 after his first two days.

“I’m still in a little bit of a learning mode,” said Clausen, who has career earnings of more than $1.35 million on the FLW Tour. “I caught some in areas today that I didn’t think I would catch them when the wind was blowing. I was really looking forward to the wind today but ironically I ended up catching more fish in the calmer areas today than I did in the windy areas. The wind just didn’t affect the fishing today like I thought it would. We’ll see what happens tomorrow, though. Things are always changing on this lake.”

Clausen said that he fished a lot of new water today and ran to about 20 different areas. Tomorrow he plans on focusing on a half-dozen different areas.

“I don’t really have one spot,” he continued. “I’m fishing areas that other guys are fishing, and I’m fishing some of my own water where I haven’t seen any other boats. I plan on fishing new stuff every day as well. It’s been different both days. Yesterday, I did better in the afternoon. Today I caught all of my tournament weight by 11 a.m. The weather obviously has a lot to do with that, and I’m adjusting my presentation throughout the different weather stages.

“I weighed in all largemouth bass today,” Clausen went on to say. “I haven’t caught a smallmouth since the tournament has started. I did have around 15 keepers today. I caught around 8 to 10 spotted bass today, but nothing that would really help me.”

Although he holds a 15-ounce lead, Clausen remains humble about his chances at victory.

“Having the lead after day two is not a very big deal,” Clausen said. “We’re only halfway through this thing, and there is a lot of fishing left. I’m pretty confident that I can catch around 10 to 11 pounds each day, but I don’t know if I can catch 13½ pounds every day like I have been. It’s all about timing out here. I pulled into one of my spots today and didn’t have a bite. I came back two hours later and ended up catching three decent ones. I haven’t caught a big fish yet these first two days, though, and I’m really hoping that I can find those big bites over the next two.”

Rounding out the top 20 pros that will fish tomorrow on Beaver Lake are:

3rd:     Dr. Pepper TEN pro Glenn Browne, Ocala, Fla., 10 bass, 26-1

4th:     National Guard pro Scott Martin, Clewiston, Fla., 10 bass, 25-10

5th:     Kelley Jaye, Dadeville, Ala., 10 bass, 25-4

6th:     Charlie Evans, Gilbertsville, Ky., 10 bass, 25-4

7th:     Brad Rightnour, Mingoville, Pa., 10 bass, 25-1

8th:     Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 10 bass, 24-12

9th:     Castrol pro David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., 10 bass, 24-1

10th:   Snapple pro Jacob Powroznik, Prince George, Va., 10 bass, 23-13

11th:    Ishama Monroe, Hughson, Calif., 10 bass, 23-9

12th:   Thanh Le, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., 10 bass, 22-12

13th:   Straight Talk pro Scott Canterbury, Springville, Ala., 10 bass, 22-10

14th:   National Guard pro Mark Rose, West Memphis, Ark., 10 bass, 22-8

15th:   Kenneth (Boo) Woods, Hazard, Ky., 10 bass, 21-12

16th:   National Guard pro Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., 10 bass, 21-6

17th:   Chad Grigsby, Maple Grove, Minn., nine bass, 21-3

18th:   Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats pro Jim Tutt, Longview, Texas, 10 bass, 21-0

19th:   Derrick Snavely, Rogersville, Tenn., 10 bass, 20-14

20th:   Straight Talk pro J.T. Kenney, Palm Bay, Fla., eight bass, 20-12

For a full list of results visit FLWOutdoors.com.

Kenney caught Friday’s big bass weighing 5 pounds 1 ounce on the pro side to win $500.

Overall there were 546 bass weighing 1,028 pounds, 14 ounces caught by pros Friday. The catch included 71 five-bass limits.

Pros are competing for a top award of up to $125,000 this week plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing. The top 35 anglers in the point standings from the six Walmart FLW Tour Major tournaments will qualify.

Nick Hensley of Cumming, Ga., leads the Co-angler Division with ten bass weighing 15-12 followed by Todd Lee of Jasper, Ala., in second place with eight bass weighing 14-11.

Rounding out the top 20 co-anglers are:

3rd:     Nick Loeffelman Jr., Valles Mines, Mo., seven bass, 14-10

4th:     Alex Posey, Roswell, Ga., 10 bass, 13-7

5th:     Greg Sapp, Rogers, Ark., eight bass, 13-0

6th:     Chad Pipkens, Holt, Mich., six bass, 12-13

7th:     Steven Meador, Bella Vista, Ark., 10 bass, 12-9

8th:     Sam Loveless, Somerset, Ky., six bass, 12-7

9th:     Lenny Francoeur, Rogers, Ark., eight bass, 12-2

10th:   Jim Morey, Bella Vista, Ark., seven bass, 11-6

11th:   Maurice Cobb, Kuttawa, Ky., six bass, 11-2

12th:   Ralph Myhlhousen, Council Bluffs, Iowa, eight bass, 10-13

13th:   Rich Dalbey, Greenville, Texas, five bass, 10-11

14th:   Kevin Spooner, Vero Beach, Fla., five bass, 10-11

15th:   Ken Keirsey, Owasso, Okla., seven bass, 10-9

16th:   Kelly Greer, Harrison, Ark., five bass, 10-8

17th:   Larry Kempler, Bluemont, Va., six bass, 10-8

18th:   Kevin Gordon, Aiken, S.C., seven bass, 10-7

19th:   Jim Campbell, Maryville, Tenn., nine bass, 10-5

20th:   Skip Ibbotson, Green Forest, Ark., six bass, 10-1

For a full list of results visit FLWOutdoors.com.

Zac Cassill of Fairfax, Iowa caught Friday’s big bass weighing 5 pounds, 8 ounces in the co-angler division to win $250.

Overall there were 230 bass weighing 371 pounds, 14 ounces caught by co-anglers Friday. The catch included 9 five-bass limits.

Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $25,000 this week plus valuable points that could help them qualify for the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. The top 35 co-anglers in the point standings from the six Walmart FLW Tour Major tournaments will qualify.

Anglers will take off from Prairie Creek Park located at 9300 North Park Road in Anderson at 6:30 a.m. each morning. Saturday and Sunday’s final weigh-ins will be held at the John Q. Hammons Center located at 3303 Pinnacle Hills Pkwy. in Rogers beginning at 4 p.m.

Fans will be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at the John Q. Hammons Center on Saturday and Sunday from noon – 4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-ins. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public. On Sunday the first 300 children 14 and under who are accompanied by an adult will receive a free rod and reel combo courtesy of US94 KAMO-FM Country. Also on Sunday one lucky fishing fan will win a Can-Am ATV courtesy of KNWA. The ATV giveaway is free to enter but the winner must be present at the conclusion of Sunday’s final weigh-in to win.

Coverage of the Beaver Lake tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs June 3 from 1 – 2 p.m. ET. “FLW” is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 559 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.

For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.

photo: FLW Outdoors

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