Preparing to take on Beaver Lake

After a couple days of travel over the past weekend, I made to Beaver Lake, Ark.—site of the next FLW tournament taking place later this week.
It is my first time fishing Beaver Lake, but my initial impression after a couple of days of practice is that I like it.
It is not known for big bass, but it is home to all three species—smallmouths, largemouths, and spotted bass. I’ve also caught walleyes, crappies, and white bass in Beaver this week.
It’s a big lake, though it isn’t all that wide—it’s just long with several big creek arms on it. The north end has super clear water while the south end is dirty, so there are plenty of variables to keep us busy.
On my first morning of practice, I decided to run to the clearest water on the north end of the lake. The water is considered clean at home in most of our lakes, so it was something I was most comfortable with.
My first day of practice ended up going really well—my best of the season so far. I ended up catching a bunch of fish on suspending jerkbaits, especially the Jackall Squad Minnow, which is a technique I have a lot of confidence in because it’s something that works so well at home.
The water is still cold, in the low 50 degree F range, which is perfect for jerkbait fishing.
The biggest trend in bass fishing in the south right now is the use of umbrella rigs, also known as Alabama rigs, to win tournaments. They are a multiple wire rigs that anglers put swimbaits or grubs on to emulate a school of minnows moving through the water.
If you are not familiar with them, you can look them up online.
Some anglers are predicting that the Alabama rig will be a factor in this event, which is probably right. It was the winning presentation when the FLW Tour visited Beaver Lake last year, and has been credited with winning tournaments across the U.S. since it burst onto the bass fishing scene a year-and-a-half ago.
I’ve been throwing the Alabama rig for at least a few hours a day in practice, but I haven’t had a lot of success with it. I’m staying with my friend and fellow angler Blake Nick from Alabama at this event, and he has been catching fish on it and is going to use it in the tournament.
We’ll see what happens.
After a couple days of pre-fishing and trying a bunch of different baits in various depths, I’ve had more action on the jerkbaits than anything else so it’s the main deal that I’m going to focus on in the tournament.
I’m also mixing in some hair jigs and soft plastics, and will have the A-rig ready in case I come across the right situation to throw it.
The thing about coming to these new lakes, and only getting three days to practice, is you have to experiment with as many techniques as possible to try and figure out what the fish want.
I do this by sticking with the lures and presentations I have confidence in while keeping an open mind to things that have worked for anglers in the past. I can research information on past events on the Internet.
It’s challenging trying to figure out the fish on these lakes, but it’s a lot of fun.
I’m looking forward to getting the tournament started tomorrow (April 11). You can follow online at