Robertson Leads Wal-Mart Bass Fishing Open
ROGERS, Ark. (April 15, 2005) – Castrol pro Darrel Robertson of Jay, Okla., caught a five-bass limit weighing 14 pounds, 6 ounces Friday to lead the $1.25 million Wal-Mart Open Powered by Tyson on Beaver Lake. The four-day event, which concludes Saturday, began with 200 pros in the hunt for a top award of $200,000, a payout surpassed only by the tour’s $500,000 award at the Forrest L. Wood Championship.
“I haven’t been nervous all week, because I haven’t had a place to go,” said Robertson, who has earned 14 top-10 finishes in FLW Outdoors competition, including a $600,000 victory at the 1999 Ranger M1 and a $260,000 victory at the 1999 FLW Tour Championship. “I just put my trolling motor down everyday and run the bank looking for bedding fish.”
Robertson caught the majority of his fish in Rocky Branch, North Clifty and Big Clifty to lead a field of 10 finalists that includes five anglers who have earned multiple top-10 finishes on Beaver Lake. Two anglers – Cody Bird of Granbury, Texas, and Mark Pack of Mineola, Texas – have earned three top-10s on the lake, and Andre Moore of Scottsdale, Ariz., won the Wal-Mart Open as a tour rookie in 2002.
“These bed fish are the toughest I’ve ever fished for,” said Moore, who trails Robertson by just 6 ounces heading into the final day of competition. “I’m proud whenever I catch one.”
Moore used his winnings from the 2002 Wal-Mart Open to help start a bait company he named Reaction Innovations. The company’s premier lure, the Sweet Beaver, is named after the prototype bait Moore used to win the last time he made a top-10 cut on Beaver Lake. He is using a smaller version of the lure, a Smallie Beaver, and a Flirt finesse worm this week. Overall, 63 bass weighing 113 pounds, 1 ounce where brought to the scale Friday, including eight five-bass limits.
Alton Jones of Waco, Texas, caught five bass weighing 11 pounds, 4 ounces using a Yum Mega Tube in bluegill color to secure the No. 3 spot heading into the final day of competition with five bass weighing 11 pounds, 4 ounces.
Day three leader Clifford Pirch of Payson, Ariz. (five bass, 11 pounds, 2 ounces) and Kellogg’s pro Alvin Shaw of State Road, N.C. (four bass, 9 pounds, 4 ounces) rounded out the top five pros.
Frank Meyer of Marianna, Fla., took top honors and $40,000 in the Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 6 pounds, 12 ounces. He caught the fish on a green pumpkin finesse worm rigged on a Spot Remover jig head while fishing with pro Jeremiah Kindy of Benton, Ark. Meyer also used 8-pound-test fluorocarbon line.
“I knew the fishing would be tough,” said Meyer, who has earned four FLW Tour top-10s since 2002. “I had 8 pounds, 2 ounces on day one and 7 pounds, 7 ounces on day two, so I figured someone would be close to that today. I never thought I had it wrapped up, even when there was only one guy left.”