Wheeler Leads Day One Of Walmart FLW Tour On Beaver Lake Presented By Rayovac

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Jacob Wheeler of Indianapolis, Indiana, brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 15 pounds, 14 ounces to lead the Walmart FLW Tour at Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. The four-day event, hosted by the Rogers Convention and Visitors Bureau, features the best bass-fishing anglers in the world competing for a top cash award of up to $125,000.

Jacob Wheeler of Indianapolis, Indiana, leads day one of the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour at Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac.

A cold and blustery morning greeted anglers this morning for the start of the Walmart FLW Tour at Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. After the field of 154 anglers had crossed the weigh-in stage, pro Jacob Wheeler of Indianapolis, Indiana, stood alone atop the leaderboard after bringing a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 15 pounds, 14 ounces. Wheeler will begin day two with a slim 5-ounce lead in the four-day event, hosted by the Rogers Convention and Visitors Bureau, that features the best bass-fishing anglers in the world competing for a top cash award of up to $125,000.

“I went out with a game plan today and stuck with it,” said Wheeler, the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup Champion. “I caught a couple of key fish and really just had the right bites today. I got lucky with a nice 4-pounder, and that was the difference maker for me.”

Wheeler said that he caught eight keepers throughout the day on four different baits. He said three of his fish were caught by sight-fishing, including the 4-pounder.

“The fish that are on the beds here are very moody. One day they’re ready to bite, and then the next day they are not. I have five or six more fish that I think are 3½- to 4-pounders marked, so if I can catch them throughout the next few days I should be able to weigh a good bag.

“I’m fishing a 20-mile stretch of the lake and I’m running to a lot of different spots,” Wheeler continued. “I’m trying to keep my options open and just fish the conditions. Tomorrow is just another day. Hopefully I can catch a few more that keep me near the top of the leaderboard and in contention.”

The top 10 pros after day one on Beaver Lake are:

    1st:    Jacob Wheeler, Indianapolis, Ind., five bass, 15-14
    2nd:    Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., five bass, 15-9
    3rd:    Quaker State pro Matt Arey, Shelby, N.C., five bass, 14-14
    3rd:    Quaker State pro Scott Canterbury, Springville, Ala., five bass, 14-14
    5th:    Rayovac pro Cody Meyer, Auburn, Calif., five bass, 14-7
    6th:    Darrell Davis, Dover, Fla., five bass, 14-6
    7th:    Darrel Robertson, Jay, Okla., five bass, 14-5
    8th:    Brandon Cobb, Greenwood, S.C., five bass, 13-10
    9th:    Stetson Blaylock, Benton, Ark., five bass, 13-8
    10th: Jim Moynagh, Carver, Minn., five bass, 13-7
    10th: Vic Vatalaro, Kent, Ohio, five bass, 13-7

For a full list of results visit FLWFishing.com.

Cobb won the Bridgford Big Bass Award on the pro side Thursday with a bass weighing 5 pounds, 5 ounces to win the $500 prize.

Overall there were 702 bass weighing 1,406 pounds, 6 ounces caught by 154 pros Thursday. The catch included 120 five-bass limits.

Timmy Thompkins of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, leads the co-angler division with five bass weighing 10 pounds, 7 ounces followed by Ken Harp of Springdale, Arkansas, in second place with five bass weighing 10-3.

The top 10 co-anglers on Beaver Lake are:

    1st:    Timmy Thompkins, Myrtle Beach, S.C., five bass, 10-7
    2nd:    Ken Harp, Springdale, Ark., five bass, 10-3
    3rd:    Cody Marshall, Cumming, Ga., five bass, 9-14     
    3rd:    Bryan New, Belmont N.C.., five bass, 9-14
    5th:    Hector Delagarza, Rockwall, Texas, five bass, 9-12
    5th:    Tee Watkins, East Point, Ky., five bass, 9-12
    7th:    Joshua Weaver, Macon, Ga., five bass, 9-10
    8th:    Dustin Evans, Eads, Tenn., four bass, 9-6
    9th:    Kerry Barnett, Waldron, Ark., four bass, 9-5
    10th: Charles Dubroc, Hessmer, La., five bass, 9-3

Scott Gibson of Wiggins, Mississippi, caught Thursday’s Bridgford Big Bass Award in the co-angler division with a bass weighing 5 pounds, 11 ounces to win the $250 prize.

Overall there were 362 bass weighing 570 pounds, 12 ounces caught by co-anglers Thursday. The catch included 31 five-bass limits.

In addition to casting for top awards of up to $125,000 cash in the pro division and up to $25,000 cash in the co-angler division, anglers are also competing for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing. The 2015 Forrest Wood Cup will be in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Aug. 20-23 on Lake Ouachita and is hosted by Visit Hot Springs. The Forrest Wood Cup Champion could win as much as $500,000 – professional bass-fishing’s richest prize.

Anglers will take off from the Prairie Creek Park Marina located at 9300 N. Park Road in Rogers at 6:30 a.m. each day of competition. Friday’s weigh-in 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 also be treated to the FLW Expo on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. at the John Q. Hammons Center prior to the final weigh-ins. The Expo includes a Ranger boat simulator, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public. Also on Sunday, country music artists Backroad Anthem will perform a free live concert on the Walmart weigh-in stage at 3 p.m. Pros Rich Dalbey and Todd Hollowell’s “Hooked on Helping” foundation will also be hosting a food drive to benefit the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank. FLW fans who donate five or more cans of food will be entered to win a $50 Walmart gift card.

Coverage of the Beaver Lake tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) October 12 from 7 p.m.-8 p.m. ET. when Season 20 of “FLW” returns this fall. The Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show airs on NBCSN, the Pursuit Channel and the World Fishing Network and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.

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

ABOUT FLW
FLW is the industry’s premier tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money nationwide in 2015 over the course of 240 tournaments across five tournament circuits, four of which provide an avenue to the sport’s richest payday and most coveted championship trophy – the Forrest Wood Cup. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world. For more information about FLW visit FLWFishing.com and look for FLW on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

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Joe Opager
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