By BassFan Staff

Matt Arey resides in North Carolina, but he often makes himself right at home at Arkansas' Beaver Lake. Counting this week, he has three Top-10 finishes in 8 seasons on the FLW Tour, and all have come at the often-stingy Ozarks impoundment.

"It's not the best fishing lake, but it's one of my favorite lakes," he said. "I get a lot of bites and I always feel like I'm able to read the lake and I'm in tune with what's going on. I always feel real comfortable here, even though I can't explain exactly why."

He moved into the lead on day 3 of the fourth Tour stop of the season with a tournament-best 16-04 stringer that gave him a 43-10 total. He'll enter the final day with a 2 1/2-pound lead over Andy Morgan, the reigning Angler of the Year and top-seeded pro in the BassFan World Rankings whose lone Tour victory came at Beaver in 2007.

Morgan boxed 13-03 on day 3 to hold onto the No. 2 position with 41-02. Travis Fox is another 2 1/2 pounds back in 3rd with 38-09 after a 14-09 sack moved him up 13 places.

David Dudley, the three-time AOY and former world No. 1, caught 12-11 to move up to 4th with 38-05, securing what's easily his best finish of the year. Micah Frazier maintained the 5th position with an 11-14 bag for a 38-03 aggregate.

Here are the totals for the 10 competitors who advanced to the final day, with red numbers denoting deficit margins from the leader:

1. Matt Arey: 43-10
2. Andy Morgan: 41-02 (2-08)
3. Travis Fox: 38-09 (5-01)
4. David Dudley: 38-05 (5-05)
5. Micah Frazier: 38-03 (5-07)
6. Cody Meyer: 38-02 (5-08)
7. Scott Martin: 37-08 (6-02)
8. Troy Morrow: 37-05 (6-05)
9. Casey Ashley: 37-02 (6-08)
10. Mark Rose: 36-04 (7-06)

As expected, powerful winds returned today following a calm day 2, and that was a boon for most competitors. Seventeen of the 20 who fished weighed limits and 12 of those bags exceeded 10 pounds.

One guy who didn't fare well was day-2 leader Spencer Shuffield, who brought a four-fish, 5 1/4-pound bag to the scale and tumbled to 12th. Missed opportunities were his downfall, as he said he made contact with enough quality fish to weigh a mid-teens stringer, but couldn't get them into the boat.

The next chapter in the stellar AOY duel between Meyer and Morgan will also take place on day 4. Meyer came into the event with a 1-point lead, but Morgan would be up by 3 if the tournament had concluded today.

FLW/Kyle Wood
Photo: FLW/Kyle Wood

Andy Morgan would be more confident about his chances of winning on the final day if he were catching more largemouths.

Thunderstorms and wind in excess of 20 mph are in the final-day forecast, and some quality fish the reside in Beaver's ultra-clear water should be on the prowl for food. Arey said strong winds aren't entirely conducive to what he's doing, but "they shouldn't totally kill my deal."

Arey is Hungry

> Day 3: 5, 16-04 (15, 43-10)

Arey is naturally eager to get the final day under way, but said he should sleep fine tonight.

"I just want to win so bad I can't stand it," he said. "I'm not nervous, though I know I've got a job to do and it's going to be me against the fish.

"I can't think about the Andy Morgans and the Mark Roses and all the other guys in this loaded Top 10. If it's my time, it's my time, and I'm a big believer in that."

He had all of his weight before noon today.

"I caught them pretty quick and then I tried to expand to new areas, but that didn't work. I was tempted to go back through my best stuff and try to beat out another 3- or 4-pounder, but I decided not to because it's hard to gauge how many are in there.

"I did run all of my water today, so I won't have anything brand new tomorrow, but the good thing is the fish are replenishing. The only thing that concerns me a little bit is the weather it's going to be nasty."

He caught 11 keepers (seven largemouths and four spots) and brought all green ones to the stage. The biggest was a 3 3/4-pounder.

"If I can get up into the low- to mid-teens tomorrow, I'll be comfortable. Ten or 12 would still be a little iffy because how many times does Andy Morgan stumble?

"There'll be no mercy on my stuff tomorrow I'll keep going back through trying to get bites. I want to slam the door; I don't want to be driving back (to the launch) wondering if I have enough."

2nd: Morgan Expects Action

> Day 3: 5, 13-03 (15, 41-02)

Morgan said that although tomorrow won't be a comfortable day to fish Beaver, the action should make up for the physical misery.

"It's going to be interesting," he said. "I'm pretty excited. It's going to be nasty, there's going to be some conditions, and I think they're going to bite. There's gonna be some good bags caught and it's really anybody's game.

"For a deep, clear impoundment, that's about as good as it gets as far as conditions go. With that front coming, they should bite."

He caught seven keepers today, including one that pushed 4 pounds and two others in the 3-pound class. He lost a quality largemouth and a big smallmouth.

"I think I need 15 to 17 pounds tomorrow to have a shot to win, and that's not easy to do at Beaver. I've caught one 17-pound string here and that was on an A-Rig, soe that doesn't even count.

FLW/Curt Niedermier
Photo: FLW/Curt Niedermier

Kyle Fox's day-3 bag was topped by a 6-pounder.

"I think Matt's going to catch them pretty good again and Fox is another guy to watch out for he's a river rat and he's fishing for largemouths, and those are the biggest fish in the lake.

"It hurts my feelings that I'm not catching many largemouths."

3rd: Fox Fishing to Win

> Day 3: 5, 14-09 (15, 38-09)

Fox caught his best bag of the event today and said the key was that he didn't waste as much time in the early part of the day as he had been.

"I'd been thinking that it'd be nice to have a few (spotted bass) in the well before I went and did my thing," he said. "I'd think that was only going to take about 20 minutes, then an hour and a half later I'd still be there and I'd remember that I had a tournament to fish and I'd better get my butt in gear and go catch them.

"The big thing is putting my head down and having confidence in what I'm doing. I'm not fishing for a check, I'm fishing for 1st place, and having to catch spots to fill out a limit isn't going to get that done. I decided I had to go for a big bag even if it meant I might zero, and it worked out."

He caught five keeper largemouths and one was a 6-pound bruiser.

"I'd like to have about 18 pounds tomorrow, and I should've had that today. I missed a key bite and my co-angler caught a 4 and a 3 behind me.

"It's going to be good tomorrow. Nobody likes it when it's raining sideways, but if you can hold onto your rod, the fish are going to bite. It'll be rough, but it'll be good."

4th: Dudley Caught Quite a Few

> Day 3: 5, 12-11 (15, 38-05)

Dudley sorted through as many as 20 keepers to compile his bag.

"There's no secret to what you do here it's either a Wiggle Wart, a jerkbait or a shaky-head and you just kind of play the weather. Tomorrow we're going to get some nasty weather and they ought to nibble. Somebody's going to have between 16 and 18 pounds."

Might that be him?

"Who knows? You won't ever hear me talk about what I can or can't do, but if (Arey) comes in sub-par and I catch a big bag, it's possible. I really don't see anybody stumbling tomorrow, though."

His day-3 bag contained a smallmouth, a largemouth and three spots. The biggest specimen a spot went about 3 pounds.

"I doubt the shaky-head's going to be in play much tomorrow. It's going to be a power-fishing day."

12th: Shuffield Lost Several

> Day 3: 4, 5-05 (14, 29-00)

Shuffield had a day he'd like to forget.

"I just lost them," he said. "They all pulled off ... every good bite I had. It was just one of those days."

He said his fish became much less aggressive over the past 2 days. He wrote that off to a lack of wind on day 2, but was befuddled when it continued into today despite the choppy water.

"What bums me out is they weren't acting like that the first day and I don't understand why they changed so much. The only thing I can figure is the water's warmed up 8 degrees since the end of practice and maybe it put them in a funk."

A jerkbait was his primary weapon and he picked up a fish here and there on a shaky-head or a swimbait.

"I had a chance for my fifth keeper a dozen times today."

Notable

> Day 3 stats 20 anglers, 17 limits, 2 fours, 1 three.

Weather Forecast

> Sun., April 13 T-Storms/Wind 68/43
- Wind: From the S at 21 mph

Day 3 Standings

1. Matt Arey -- Shelby, NC -- 13-00 (5) -- 14-06 (5) -- 27-06 (10) -- 16-04 (5) -- 43-10

2. Andy Morgan -- Dayton, Tn -- 12-11 (5) -- 15-04 (5) -- 27-15 (10) -- 13-03 (5) -- 41-02

3. Travis Fox -- Rogers, Ar -- 14-01 (5) -- 9-15 (5) -- 24-00 (10) -- 14-09 (5) -- 38-09

4. David Dudley -- Lynchburg, Va -- 12-00 (5) -- 13-10 (5) -- 25-10 (10) -- 12-11 (5) -- 38-05

5. Micah Frazier -- Newnan, Ga -- 14-03 (5) -- 12-02 (5) -- 26-05 (10) -- 11-14 (5) -- 38-03

6. Cody Meyer -- Auburn, Ca -- 13-13 (5) -- 12-04 (5) -- 26-01 (10) -- 12-01 (5) -- 38-02

7. Scott Martin -- Clewiston, Fl -- 12-12 (5) -- 11-01 (5) -- 23-13 (10) -- 13-11 (5) -- 37-08

8. Troy Morrow -- Eastanollee, Ga -- 14-03 (5) -- 12-07 (5) -- 26-10 (10) -- 10-11 (5) -- 37-05

9. Casey Ashley -- Donalds, SC -- 14-10 (5) -- 11-03 (5) -- 25-13 (10) -- 11-05 (5) -- 37-02

10. Mark Rose -- West Memphis, Ar -- 12-14 (5) -- 12-00 (5) -- 24-14 (10) -- 11-06 (5) -- 36-04

The following anglers did not make the cut and will not fish on day 4.

11. Bryan Thrift -- Shelby, NC -- 16-02 (5) -- 9-10 (5) -- 25-12 (10) -- 10-07 (5) -- 36-03 -- $12,000

12. Spencer Shuffield -- Bismarck, Ar -- 15-05 (5) -- 13-11 (5) -- 29-00 (10) -- 5-05 (4) -- 34-05 -- $12,000

13. Anthony Gagliardi -- Prosperity, SC -- 11-13 (5) -- 12-04 (5) -- 24-01 (10) -- 10-03 (5) -- 34-04 -- $12,000

14. Eric Olliverson -- Lampe, Mo -- 14-12 (5) -- 9-05 (5) -- 24-01 (10) -- 9-11 (5) -- 33-12 -- $12,000

15. Shinichi Fukae -- Palestine, Tx -- 9-01 (5) -- 14-03 (5) -- 23-04 (10) -- 10-07 (5) -- 33-11 -- $12,000

16. Matt Herren -- Trussville, Al -- 11-00 (5) -- 13-05 (5) -- 24-05 (10) -- 7-12 (5) -- 32-01 -- $12,000

17. Jason Christie -- Park Hill, Ok -- 14-07 (5) -- 9-08 (5) -- 23-15 (10) -- 7-02 (5) -- 31-01 -- $12,000

18. Steve Kennedy -- Auburn, Al -- 14-15 (5) -- 8-11 (5) -- 23-10 (10) -- 6-06 (5) -- 30-00 -- $12,000

19. Adrian Avena -- Vineland, NJ -- 14-10 (5) -- 9-13 (5) -- 24-07 (10) -- 4-12 (3) -- 29-03 -- $12,000

20. Stacey King -- Reeds Spring, Mo -- 11-07 (5) -- 12-10 (5) -- 24-01 (10) -- 4-13 (4) -- 28-14 -- $12,000