Rookie pro Drew Benton of Panama City, Fla., brought a five-bass limit weighing 18 pounds, 1 ounce to the scales Thursday to lead day one of the Walmart FLW Tour at Beaver Lake presented by Kellogg’s. Benton holds a 14-ounce lead over Brandon Coulter of Knoxville, Tenn., who caught five bass weighing 17-3 in a tournament of the world’s best bass-fishing pros competing in the four-day event with a top cash award of up to $125,000.
“I was pleasantly surprised with how my day went,” said Benton, who was the FLW Tour season opener champion at Lake Okeechobee. “I caught over 20 keepers today. I had some bites in the last day of practice that I had shook off and I didn’t really know how big they were. I went back to that area today and they were a little bigger than I had expected.
“I’m fishing in some stained water, doing what I’m used to doing,” Benton continued. “I’m running a long way up the river. I have seen some boats, but no one is fishing close to me.”
Benton said that all of his fish that he caught Thursday came on a Yum Yumbrella rig, but said he was fishing it differently than his competitors.
“I’m doing something a little bit different with mine, in both baits and technique,” he said. “I’m just covering a bunch of water that looks the same. I started in the clearer section of the river and worked my way to the dirty section. After the sun came out this afternoon the fish in the clearer section quit biting.
“Tomorrow it may be a little bit sunnier, but it’s going to be about the same as it was today,” said Benton. “I’m confident that I can catch another limit, but I’m not sure about the big bites again. We’ll just have to see.”
Benton led the 2013 FLW Rookie of the Year race coming into this event and was second to Keystone Light pro Brent Ehrler in the Kellogg’s Angler of the Year standings.
The top 10 pros after day one on Beaver Lake are:
1st: Drew Benton, Panama City, Fla., five bass, 18-1
2nd: Brandon Coulter, Knoxville, Tenn., five bass, 17-3
3rd: Randy Blaukat, Joplin, Mo., five bass, 17-0
4th: Ryan Chandler, Valparaiso, Ind., five bass, 16-11
4th: Barry Wilson, Birmingham, Ala., five bass, 16-11
6th: Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats pro Jim Tutt, Longview, Texas, five bass, 16-6
7th: Christopher Brasher, Hallsville, Texas, five bass, 15-14
8th: Roland Martin, Naples, Fla., five bass, 15-6
9th: Straight Talk pro Scott Canterbury, Springville, Ala., five bass, 15-5
9th: Chevy pro Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., five bass, 15-5
9th: Austin Terry, San Angelo, Texas, five bass, 15-5
For a full list of results visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Blaukat won the 3M ScotchBlue Big Bass Award on the pro side with a fish weighing 6 pounds, 1 ounce worth $500.
Overall there were 687 bass weighing 1,511 pounds, 1 ounce caught by 155 pros Thursday. The catch included 110 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 2013 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing. The top 35 anglers in the point standings from the six events on the 2013 Walmart FLW Tour will qualify. The 2013 Forrest Wood Cup will be in Shreveport, La., Aug. 15-18 on the Red River.
Benjie Seaborn of Guin, Ala., leads the co-angler division with four bass weighing 16 pounds, 1 ounce followed by Steven Meador of Bella Vista, Ark., in second place with five bass weighing 13-8.
The top 10 co-anglers are:
1st: Benjie Seaborn, Guin, Ala., four bass, 16-1
2nd: Steven Meador, Bella Vista, Ark., five bass, 13-8
3rd: Rommel Bagay, Pleasant Hill, Calif., five bass, 13-6
4th: David Lashua, Leesburg, Fla., four bass, 13-0
5th: David Lauer, Loxahatchee, Fla., five bass, 12-10
6th: Mark Horton, Nicholasville, Ky., five bass, 12-5
7th: Richard Peek, Centre, Ala, five bass, 11-11
8th: Jason Johnson, Gainesville, Ga., five bass, 11-8
9th: Terry Chapman, Newberry, S.C., four bass, 11-4
10th: Ed Knight, Little Rock, Ark., five bass, 11-1
For a full list of results visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Bobby McMullin of Pevely, Mo., caught Thursday’s 3M Peltor Big Bass weighing 6 pounds, 7 ounces in the co-angler division to win $250.
Overall there were 359 bass weighing 702 pounds, 8 ounces caught by co-anglers Thursday. The catch included 25 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 2013 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. The top 35 co-anglers in the point standings from the six events on the 2013 Walmart FLW Tour will qualify.
Anglers will take off from Prairie Creek Park located at 9300 N. Park Road in Rogers at 7 a.m. each morning. Thursday and Friday’s weigh-ins will be held at Prairie Creek Park beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s final weigh-ins will be held at the John Q. Hammons Center located at 3303 Pinnacle Hills Parkway 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 to 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 voucher to redeem for a free rod and reel combo courtesy of KMCK Power 105.7 FM after Sunday’s final weigh-in. 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 May 19 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. ET. The Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
Image courtesy FLW Outdoors