The banks are closed on Sundays, but bass pro Matt Arey of Shelby got a big payday last Sunday when he won the FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake out of Flippin, Ark., taking home $125,000.
Arey finished with a four-day total of 55 pounds, 6 ounces in a 1-2 North Carolina finish, winning by almost 6 pounds over Tracy Adams of Wilkesboro, who took home $30,000 for catching 49-12. A third North Carolina pro, Bryan Thrift of Shelby, finished fifth with 46-13 and won $19,000.
Arey’s 17-13 limit on Sunday was the biggest catch of the day.
"I love Beaver Lake, I really do," Arey said. "No, it doesn't have the biggest fish in the world in it, but it's an awesome pattern lake with an incredible amount of diversity. It suits the way I like to fish, hopping around trying to get something going, looking for little windows and patterns that might only last a day or just a few hours – then then it completely changes the next day."
Arey, who runs Rack and Reel Outfitting, a fishing-hunting business, with South Carolina bass pro Andy Montgomery caught limits of 14-14, 12-4, 10-7, then his big closing limit.
Adams put together limits of 13-3, 12-7 and 8-15, the finished with 15-3 on Sunday. Thift weighed in 15-9, 10-11 and 8-13 before finishing with 11-12.
All week long, Arey employed a 5-inch, hand-poured swimbait and a wacky-rigged Lunkerhunt Lunker Stick. He covered water quickly with the swimbait in the stained, river section of the lake, targeting laydown logs, docks, bushes and even windblown points, trying to get fish to reveal their whereabouts. Half the time the fish would commit to the swimbait and eat it; other times the fish would rush the swimbait and turn away, giving away its presence. If a fish missed, Arey would pick up the wacky rig, skip it back to where the fish came from and catch it on the follow-up.