UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir


Fall’s frustrating fluctuation

Loose clouds stratified the morning sunrise, but Table Rock Lake will see mostly sunny conditions today.

KIMBERLING CITY, Mo. - Usually, Shane Long is pretty excited about fall fishing on Table Rock Lake. This week the Missouri pro's balancing that enthusiasm with apprehension, as the EverStart Series Central Division takes to a fickle lake.

"It's been a different year: The water's been up high, and the thermocline never got deep, and the fish stayed shallow all year long," he said. "Now, the thermocline's gone and they've scattered. There's still some fish up shallow and there's some deep, but I don't know if there are enough deep to really do well. There are a lot of fish in transition. They're headed deep, but I don't know if there will be enough there for consistency."

Long said that he'll start his day shallow, where he'll focus on a pattern that worked for him in practice: "I'm going to throw a jig, mainly. There is a crankbait bite going on and you can cover a lotMissouri pro Shane Long expects tough conditions for day one on Table Rock. more water. But I'm going to target specific (spots) instead of trying to cover vast quantities of water.

"I'll fish mostly rock. I know several rock piles and brush piles on the lake - some shallow, some deep. I'm just going to concentrate on trying to hit 60 to 70 places today."

Later in the day, Long will move deep as the solar influence positions fish more predictably. Today's sunny weather will help those fishing specific structure, as fish seek shelter from the intense light by holding tight to cover. This makes targeted presentations more effective. On the other hand, the week's warm days will continue to impede a key element of fall transition - cooler water.

"It's cooling down good at night and that's getting the bait active, but then we're getting (temperatures in the low 80s) every day, so we're kind of losing what we're gaining overnight. What would really make the fishing better would be a steady cooldown. That would get the fish up shallow and feeding before winter."

Local stick Pete Wenners plans on fishing a variety of baits, including a Pig Sticker Snowden Jig with a Zoom Critter Craw trailer.With such fluctuation, the fish have simply not yet settled into solid fall patterns. Nevertheless, as local stick Pete Wenners notes, there's always a safe bet for bass fishing - look for the buffet.

"The problem is the fish are scattered in anywhere from 2 feet of water to as deep as 50," Wenners said. "It doesn't seem like there's a lot of them in any one area. The fish are on the move, and I think the reason is that the bait's on the move. If you get around the bait, there's a good chance you'll get around the fish. Right now, if you find the food, you're going to find some fish around it."

Wenners said he'll end up junk-fishing today with a variety of topwater, spinnerbait, crankbait and jig presentations. One of his key baits will be a 3/8-ounce Pig Sticker Snowden Jig with a green-pumpkin/purple Zoom Critter Craw trailer.

"We haven't had any wind for four or five days of practice, but today should be a little different, and if weCrankbaits could play a key role in locating active fish. get a little breeze, reaction baits will work," Wenners said. "But I still think a guy's going to have to cover a lot of water. The problem is there's no solid backup pattern. I don't think a guy can lock in on just one thing. I have a lot of rods on the deck, and I'm going to fish a lot of different ways and try to get five bites."

Table Rock lacks not for big fish, and a few chunky bass will likely get some face time onstage. However, Long's keeping a conservative outlook.

"I think if a guy catches 13 to 14 pounds a day on average, he's going to win this thing. There's always the chance to catch a big fish. Table Rock has tons and tons of big fish in it, but they're just too few and far between."


Anglers will take off from the Port of Kimberling Marina located at 72 Marina Way in Kimberling City, Mo., at 7 a.m. daily. Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will also be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at Walmart located at 18401 State Highway 13 in Branson West, Mo., starting at 4 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

Spinnerbaits will be a good choice for covering water and finding fish.Pros will fish for a top award of $35,000 plus a 198VX Ranger boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Co-anglers will cast for a top award consisting of a Ranger 177TR with 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $5,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met.

The EverStart Series consists of five divisions - Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of four tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the Strike King Angler of the Year title along with $5,000 for the pro and $2,000 for the co-angler. The top 40 pros and co-anglers from each respective division will qualify for the EverStart Series Championship that will be held on Kentucky Lake in Buchanan, Tenn., Oct. 27-30.

The EverStart Series tournament on Table Rock Lake is being hosted by the Table Rock Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday's conditionsMost anglers headed west at the day-one takeoff.

Sunrise: 7:12 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 56 degrees
Expected high temperature: 82 degrees
Wind: SSE at 10-15 mph
Humidity: 30 percent
Day's outlook: sunny

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2011-10-06-table-rock-lake 


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