Benton angler follows brother, wins FLW event
You could say winning the Walmart Open on Beaver Lake is sort of a Blaylock family tradition.
At least, it is now after Keeton Blaylock, 20, of Benton won the FLW Tour event held March 3-6 as a co-angler, earning $20,000.
His brother, Stetson Blaylock, 23, of Haskell, a professional on the tour, won the four-day event event three years ago.
This was the younger Blaylock's first tournament win, and one that he said held special meaning, considering its location.
"It was pretty amazing to win a tournament, but especially since it was being held in Arkansas," Blaylock said. "It was also great to be able to have my family there."
Blaylock finished the tournament with a total of nine bass weighing 23 pounds and six ounces. Surprisingly, he failed to catch a keeper on his last day, but luckily had already caught what would be five pounds more than other co-anglers.
Blaylock practiced primarily up the river in dirty water. However, his professional partners chose to fish the clear waters in the midlake region. To adjust, Blaylock tied on a little swimbait in silver-perch color and rigged it on a quarter-ounce jighead, which seemed to work wonders.
"Yeah, I never did catch a fish the third day," he said, laughing.
Co-anglers are not professionals, but accompany them on the first three days of the tournament. While Stetson is a pro, Keeton isn't sure he's ready to make the leap. In the meantime, though, he'll continue to enjoy the tournaments.
Blaylock said the winnings will go toward traveling expenses for other tournaments.
"It'll sure make things a whole lot easier," he said.
Blaylock said the farthest he has traveled for a fishing tournament is South Carolina, where he and his brother again are heading this week for a tournament on Lake Hartwell.
Along the way, Blaylock said they will stop in Tennessee for "practice."
As part of the FLW Tour's championship series, the Blaylock brothers will also fish Table Rock Lake near Branson, Mo., in May and Lake Ouachita in August.