(photo by Brian Lindberg/FLW) – FLW Tour pro Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C., caught a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 9 ounces Sunday to win $125,000 at the Walmart FLW Tour at Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac with a four-day cumulative total of 20 bass weighing 59-3.
Arey’s winning stringer gave him the win by a 1-pound, 9-ounce margin over Livingston Lures pro Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., who caught a total of 20 bass weighing 57-10 and earned $30,000.
“The key for me this week was the jig pattern,” said Arey, who earned the first professional victory of his career since winning the Forrest Wood Cup as a co-angler in 2006. “I noticed in practice that the water level had come up quite a bit and I figured that during the tournament it would be falling. So I tried to fish areas that I thought were more consistent and not as affected by the weather.
“I knew the fish were wanting to spawn, so I keyed in on spawning areas,” Arey continued. “I was catching them on rock transitions from the mouth of the spawning pockets all the way back. My bait was a small green-pumpkin-colored finesse jig with a green-pumpkin Wackem Baits twin-tailed trailer. I used three different sizes, depending on the wind.”
Arey said that he loves fishing Beaver Lake each year and that the White River impoundment is his favorite lake in the country.
“I love these natural Ozark lakes because you can read the shoreline,” Arey said. “I also love this place because it features all three species of bass. It’s almost like saltwater fishing. When I set the hook I don’t know if I’m catching a 3-pound spotted bass, a 3-pound smallmouth or a 3-pound largemouth.”
When asked if this win compared at all to his win as a co-angler at the Forrest Wood Cup, Arey said there was no comparison.
“It’s not even close,” Arey said. “This one is special. I’ve been flying under the radar and I’m cool with that because I’m making my living by doing what I love. But winning events of this caliber, the biggest events in the world, can make you a household name in fishing. Lake Murray and the Forrest Wood Cup this year are only two hours from my house. I don’t have a whole lot of experience on it in the late summer, but I definitely will if I can make it.”
The top 10 pros finished the tournament in:
1st: Matt Arey, Shelby, N.C., 20 bass, 59-3, $125,000
2nd: Livingston Lures pro Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 20 bass, 57-10, $30,000
3rd: Castrol pro David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., 15 bass, 54-14, $25,000
4th: Travis Fox, Rogers, Ark., 20 bass, 54-8, $20,000
5th: Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C., 20 bass, 53-2, $19,000
6th: Micah Frazier, Newnan, Ga., 15 bass, 52-7, $18,000
7th: Troy Morrow, Eastanollee, Ga., 20 bass, 50-0, $17,000
8th: Scott Martin, Clewiston, Fla., 20 bass, 48-14, $16,000
9h: Repel pro Cody Meyer, Auburn, Calif., 20 bass, 48-13, $15,000
10th: Walmart pro Mark Rose, West Memphis, Ark., 20 bass, 46-11, $14,000
Final results for the remaining field can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.
Overall there were 50 bass weighing 140 pounds even caught by pros Sunday. Each of the final 10 pros brought a five-bass limit to the scale.