Posted By Chris Coleman, Channel 3 Outdoors Contributor - bio | email
Pro leader Randall Tharp holds up his two biggest bass from day one on Beaver Lake. (Photo by Brett Carlson)
ROGERS, Ark. – A full field of the best bass-fishing professionals from all across the United States, Canada, Spain and Japan opened the Walmart FLW Tour Major on Beaver Lake presented by Straight Talk on Thursday. Anglers used a variety of strategies and tactics beneath the sunny Arkansas skies as they began the competition for a top cash award of up to $125,000.
Despite the multiple techniques the professionals employed, the results were very similar – just 2 pounds 3 ounces separated first place from 10th. At the end of the day, EverStart pro Randall Tharp of Gardendale, Ala., held the day one tournament lead with a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 7 ounces. Tharp has a 12-ounce lead over Snapple pro Jacob Powroznik of Prince George, Va., who caught five bass weighing 14-11.
"I'm pretty pleased with my weight today," said Tharp, who has career winnings of more than $640,000. "But I believe I can catch more fish tomorrow, especially if the wind is blowing. I don't think anyone else is doing what I'm doing. I'm fishing a certain bait on certain banks and it's real unique."
Tharp said he fished areas that he had not targeted in practice. Although he chose to start his day near areas where he had found fish during practice, most of his fish came from areas that he had not fished before.
"I had a real good practice coming into this tournament," Tharp continued. "I'm known for practicing from daylight to dark, but for this event I was finishing up around 4 p.m. That was mostly because I did not want people to see where I was fishing. I made sure that I was real cautious today as well – I tried not to stay in one spot for too long.
"I caught four today very early – within the first 15 minutes. I had a limit by 8:15 a.m." Tharp went on to say. "I ran pretty far up the river and I caught some up there, and I caught some in the clear water down in the lake. The lake is really unique right now due to the water conditions and the (water) level being down. Several of the bass that I weighed in today were pre-spawn, I saw two spawners and there were quite a few post-spawn fish as well. All five of my bass were largemouth today."
Despite the odd conditions, Tharp is still extremely confident about the remainder of his tournament
"Beaver Lake is a real tough lake, but that's when I seem to do my best. I believe that there is a bigger bag out there. I'm pretty confident in my pattern, and believe I'm going to be fishing all four days this week. I'm more confident right now than I was earlier this year when I won at Okeechobee."
Rounding out the top 10 pros after day one on Beaver Lake are:
3rd: Dr. Pepper TEN pro Glenn Browne, Ocala, Fla., five bass, 14-8
4th: STP® pro Stetson Blaylock, Benton, Ark., five bass, 14-6
5th: Straight Talk pro Scott Canterbury, Springville, Ala., five bass, 14-5
5th: Christian Romans, Carrollton, Ky., five bass, 14-5
7th: Chevy pro Jay Yelas, Corvallis, Ore., five bass, 14-3
8th: Chevy pro Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., five bass, 13-12
9th: Chevy pro Luke Clausen, Spokane, Wash., five bass, 13-9
10th:Thanh Le, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., five bass, 13-4
For a full list of results visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Romans caught Thursday's big bass weighing 5 pounds 7 ounces on the pro side to win $500.
Overall there were 625 bass weighing 1,144 pounds, 8 ounces caught by pros Thursday. The catch included 92 five-bass limits.
Kettle Brand Chips pro Dan Morehead of Paducah, Ky., had his day one weight zeroed after inadvertently fishing in an area designated as off-limits for competition.
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.
Chad Pipkens of Holt, Mich., leads the Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 10-12 followed by Rich Dalbey of Greenville, Texas, in second place with five bass weighing 10-11.
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers are:
3rd: Kenny Blackwood, Rogers, Ark., three bass, 9-6
4th: Maurice Cobb, Kuttawa, Ky., four bass, 7-14
5th: Rob Hicks, Lula, Ga., five bass, 7-8
6th: Greg O'Neal, Winchester, Tenn., four bass, 7-7
7th: Ralph Myhlhousen, Council Bluffs, Iowa, five bass, 7-4
8th: Steven Meador, Bella Vista, Ark., five bass, 7-3
9th: Clint Williams, Fayetteville, Ark., five bass, 7-0
10th:Sam Loveless, Somerset, Ky., three bass, 6-14
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