OSAGE BEACH, Mo. – The big news from the opening event of the EverStart Central Division season on Lake of the Ozarks was during day two – the worst day of fishing for most – as a co-angler caught not only the largest limit of the day, but it was the largest limit from either the pro or co-angler division of the tournament. Tim Beale of Hernando, Miss., was propelled by that 24-pound, 13-ounce monster bag to take home his first major title from his first ever top-10 cut in the EverStart Series.
Beale caught only one fish on the first day, though it was the right quality weighing 5-14. After what was one of the greatest days of fishing Beale has ever experienced he carried a massive lead going into the final day. As it stood, Beale could have not caught anything today to still bring home the trophy, but one fish that weighed 2-11 on the final day helped put an exclamation point on a very hard earned victory. With a winning margin of 7-8 and a three-day total weight of 33 pounds, 6 ounces, Beale earned himself a new Ranger Z117 with a 90 horsepower outboard.
“I have a 16 foot boat with a 25 hp Mercury right now, so I’m pretty happy that I may finally be able to go over 30 mph with my new boat,” laughed Beale. “I am so happy; I don’t even know what to say. This is unreal.”
Beale fished a flawless tournament. Knowing that it was going to be tough, he made almost every bite count after only receiving eight bites the entire week and landing seven of them – including the five from day two which were the only bites he had.
“Every fish I caught this week came on a jerkbait. I worked the bait slow making sure that I didn’t over work the bait and allowed the bait to work itself. I really just fished relaxed and enjoyed myself this week.”
With such a large lead in a tough event, Beale was able to stay focused on his goal for this season.
“The whole reason I fished this year was to accomplish my goal of winning a boat and now I’m there,” said the aircraft mechanic for FedEx. “Since I accomplished that goal, I guess my next one should be to qualify for the Forrest Wood Cup. I think it really helps motivate yourself when you set goals.”
Beale also has another reason to celebrate.
“I recently got engaged to my girlfriend Misty; I want to thank her for her support. I also want to thank FLW for putting on a great event and Strike King for all that they have done to help me in the past. This victory is going to make my six hour drive home pretty sweet.”
Crabdree to second
Without question, one of the most consistent co-anglers this week was Reggie Crabdree of Park Hills, Mo. Crabdree posted 7-7, 9-3 and 9-4 to give him a three-day total weight of 25 pounds, 14 ounces and a nice check worth $4,487.
Crabdree is familiar with fishing Lake of the Ozarks and has a place located on the lake that he stays in often.
“I came up here (Lake of the Ozarks) on Monday to prefish,” said Crabdree. “I only caught one fish on Tuesday and Wednesday I caught three – one of them was a 6 ¼-pounder and was the biggest fish I have ever caught on the Alabama rig.”
Knowing the bite would be tough, Crabdree utilized a jerkbait and a shaky head. He caught two keepers on the shaky head, but the main producer was a Megasbass jerkbait (Table Rock Shad color) that he fished extremely slow.
“I feel fortunate that I got lucky and caught fish this week,” chuckled Crabdree.
Hasty moves to third
Dave Hasty of Toledo, Ohio experienced the rollercoaster ride that Lake of the Ozarks offered this week. Having not caught a fish on day one, things weren’t looking good. He bounced back on day two with three solid fish that weighed 13 pounds, 6 ounces to take the final slot in the top 10. He landed another three fish today that hit the scales at 10-4, giving him a three-day total of 23-10 and a check for $3,589.
He threw a Red Dirt Bait Company Hybrid Rig to produce his fish.
Swast, McClary round out top five
Justin Swast of Pevely, Mo., held on strong posting weights of 12-2, 4-15 and 5-9 throughout the event for a three-day total of 22-10. Swast walked away with a check for $3,141.
Swast used St. Croix Legend Elite rods along with a Crock-O-Gator Skaker jig tipped with a Crock-O-Gator Swamp Bug to catch his total weight for the event.
Joe McClary of Richmond Heights, Mo., led after day one by catching the only limit on the co-angler side which weighed 18 pounds, 9 ounces. Unfortunately, over the next two days he never caught a keeper. With the help of his first-day limit, McClary was still able to take fifth place and a check for $2,692.
Rest of the Best
Rounding out the top-10 co-anglers from the EverStart Series event on Lake of the Ozarks:
6th: Hank Goen of Harrisburg, Mo., three-day total of 16-10, $2,243
7th: Clint Long of Lees Summit, Mo., three-day total of 15-4, $1,795
8th: Michael Stricklin of Vidalia, La., three-day total of 15-2, $1,346
9th: Jim Eakin of Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., three-day total of 14-9, $1,059.50
10th: Brain Somrek of Cunningham, Ky., three-day total of 14-2, $718