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story.lead_photo.caption NWA Democrat-Gazette/FLIP PUTTHOFF Drew Sagely (left) And Will Lancett, both of Rogers, show some of the fish they caught Tuesday Jan. 1 2018 to win the Polar Bear bass tournament at Beaver Lake.

ROGERS -- A catch of five largemouth bass weighing 17.34 pounds eased the chill Tuesday for Rogers anglers Drew Sagely and Will Lancett, winners of the annual Polar Bear bass tournament at Beaver Lake.

A field of 40 boats braved freezing temperatures in the annual contest, held out of Prairie Creek Marina. Of the 40 teams, 16 weighed fish, said Shannan Moseley, weigh-master.

David Louks and Johnny Porter were second with five bass at 16.01 pounds. Mike White and Preston Scarrow were third with five bass at 15.7 pounds. Heath Konkler and Justin Cooper weighed big bass at 6.47 pounds. The fish was caught on a jig with a blue craw trailer.

Sagely and Lancett landed their winning catch by fishing three-fourth-ounce jigs with red craw trailers in the mid-lake area. Most fish were 25 to 30 feet deep and bit around brush piles.

"We probably caught nine or 10 keepers all day," Sagely said. "Morning was the best. We only caught two keepers after 11:30."

Anglers may weigh largemouth bass, spotted bass and smallmouth bass in the tournament.

Their biggest bass of the five weighed 5.42 pounds. "And all five were largemouths. That's unusual for Beaver Lake," Sagely said. Many five-fish tournament limits contain a mix of the three species.

The tournament paid prize money to the top eight teams. Fourth through eighth, all with five bass, were: fourth, Ryan Butler, Justin Lippe, 14.62; fifth, Jeff Swaffer, Dan Jones, 14.44; sixth, Steven Meador, Reter Hubbay, 14.16; seventh, Dale Marsh, Lee McLean, 12.41; eighth, Heath Konkler, Justin Cooper 12.29.

Staying warm can be as big a challenge as catching fish. Anglers have their methods.

"I've got eight layers of jackets on," Sagely said. Hand warmers inside his gloves help.

Dan Jones of Springdale fished without gloves in the tournament.

"You just put on a lot of clothes, put hand warmers in your pockets and warm your hands when you can," Jones said.

The pair have a portable heater for their boat but left it in their truck.

"In a tournament like this, if you take the time to warm your hands by a heater you might get behind," he added.

The Polar Bear tournament sees heavy catches most years. Winter fishing can yield big bass, Moseley said. Plus, the Polar Bear tournament attracts the best bass fishermen on Beaver Lake.

"All these guys are dedicated fishermen who don't care about the weather," Moseley said.

Sports on 01/02/2019

Print Headline: OUTDOORS: Rogers duo wins Polar Bear bass tournament

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