FLW seeks co-anglers for Beaver Lake tournament

Posted: April 18, 2017 at 1 a.m.

A few spots remain in the co-angler division of the Walmart FLW Tour bass tournament set for April 27-30 at Beaver Lake.

The annual Fishing League Worldwide Tour bass tournament at Beaver Lake set for April 27-30 has a few co-angler spots available to Northwest Arkansas residents.

The best professional anglers in the world fish the FLW Tour in hopes of earning their way to the Forrest Wood Cup, the biggest payday in bass fishing. Co-anglers, who fish alongside the pros and compete for separate prize payouts, have the chance to share a boat and learn fishing tips and techniques from some of the nation's most legendary anglers, including pros like Jimmy Houston, Larry Nixon, Gary Yamamoto and Andy Morgan.

To register as a co-angler for the upcoming FLW Tour at Beaver Lake, call (270)-252-1000 or visit FLWFishing.com.

Entry fee for co-anglers is $800. The winning co-angler receives $25,000.

"Many FLW fans are not in the position to own a boat but still dream of competing on the water alongside the best anglers in the world," said Bill Taylor, FLW senior director of tournament operations. "The FLW Tour co-angler format allows for an angler to do just that. In addition to the possible monetary rewards, there's the opportunity to learn from some of the legends of the sport of professional bass fishing."

In tour competition, pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, controlling boat movement and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers.

The full field of 328 anglers competes in the two-day opening round. Co-angler competition concludes following Friday's weigh-in, while the top 20 pros advance to Saturday. The top 10 pros continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from the four days of competition.

The winning pro in each tour event receives a top prize of $125,000. With a field of 164 boats, more than $800,000 in cash is awarded at each tournament, including $1,000 down to 50th place in the co-angler division. The entry fee for pro division angles is $4,500. The tour has visited Beaver Lake 18 times. The 2017 tournament marks the 19th visit in its 22-year history.

Fishing in tournaments as a co-angler is a great first step toward a more advanced level of competitive bass fishing. Former co-angler and current pro Jason Johnson and standout co-angler Bryan New have combined co-angler earnings that surpass $200,000. They said that catching fish behind the best in the world is typically the biggest challenge a co-angler will face.

"You can't fish for the same fish they're fishing for," New said. "They're either not going to bite, not there or already caught. I've learned over the years that there are a lot more fish in places where you wouldn't think they would be. They might not be as big as the ones on the bank, but there are lots of fish off the bank either on little drops or just suspending."

Sports on 04/18/2017