Beaver Lake FLW Tour Recap

Pro-staff Contributor: Jeff Gustafson

The third FLW Tour event of the season took place this past weekend at Beaver Lake in Arkansas. I arrived at Beaver a little bit intimidated. The tour has come to this body of water 15 times since its inception 18 years ago, so most of the anglers have significant experience fishing tournaments on this water. But even though I had less experience on this lake, I was fortunate to walk away with a solid 45th place finish.

When doing my research, I learned that there were varying water clarities in Beaver Lake. The lower end near the dam had really clear water; while the upper end of the lake featured dirty water. I decided I would likely be more comfortable fishing in the clear water, so I chose to focus on that during my first day of practice.

The Alabama Rig

I also knew that since this was going to be a pre-spawn tournament the Alabama Rig would likely come into play. This rig has been dominant on

All I could catch on the Alabama Rig were these white bass...they like it!
All I could catch on the Alabama Rig were these white bass…they like it!

lakes across the United States over the past few months but my confidence in it is low because I haven’t gotten a good bite with it yet.  I just can’t catch fish with it, it’s driving me crazy!

I had very limited success with it during practice so I did not throw it much during the actual event. As it turned out most of the top finishing anglers in the tournament threw the “rig” throughout the event. I will have to spend more time working with this rig in the future so that it can be a significant part of my arsenal next year during these winter/prespawn tournaments.

Can’t Go Wrong with a Jerkbait

I was able to get on fish fairly quickly during practice by throwing a suspending jerkbait. The Jackall SquadMinnow 115 was my bait of choice all week. It’s also the same bait that Cliff Pace used to win the Bassmaster Classic back in February. I fished this lure in a jerk-jerk-jerk-long pause cadence and was able to cover water, while still using a lure that the fish wanted to bite. It’s important when you fish a new lake and have limited time to find fish (in our case, three days of practice) that you use a lure that has the ability to cover water. Once you find fish you can then slow down and use other types of baits.

Gussy on Beaver Lake

Gussy on Beaver Lake

During both days of the tournament, I put together mixed bags of smallmouths, spotted bass and largemouths that weighed 11-7 and 10-9 respectively. I was happy with a top 50 finish because these FLW Tour events pay $10,000 to 50th place—I consider that a success!

What’s Next?

Next up on the tour schedule is a mid-May tournament at Lake Eufala, Alabama. Eufala is full of big bass so I’m looking forward to hauling the Predator down there in a few weeks! I’ll be sure to share another update on this blog after the event.

In the meantime it looks like I’ll be back on the ice when I get back to Ontario’s Sunset Country this week. We are having an extremely late spring and will have late ice out. Walleye season is closed but I can still chase lake trout, pike and crappies.

Jeff Gustafson is a professional angler living in Kenora, Ontario on the shores of Lake of the Woods. Outdoor writer, fishing promoter and host of “Fishing with Gussy.” You’ll see him fishing the Walmart FLW Tour representing and Lund boats among others. You can follow him on Twitter (@GussyOutdoors) and like him on Facebook (


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