UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Erie

Table Rock becomes bed-fishing bonanza

Table Rock becomes bed-fishing bonanza
Two bass are seen spawning in the shallow waters of Table Rock Lake.

BRANSON, Mo. - When the 2012 Walmart FLW Tour schedule was announced, everyone assumed the second Major of the year would be an excellent prespawn tournament, especially with the recent development of the Alabama rig. But then came a warm winter and an even warmer spring, and the Table Rock bass had no choice but to flock to the bank and do their thing.

In March, jigs, grubs, jerkbaits and crankbaits are supposed to dominate the Ozarks. Not this year. Before the water got real warm, it was all about the Alabama rig as the bass ganged up on staging points. Now that they made their move shallow, it's all about tubes, Senkos, wacky worms and floating worms. Ozark veteran Greg Bohannan described the situation best.

"Somebody rang the bell on the final day of practice," he said. "The siren sounded and they all came to the bank. Every pocket on the lake is now littered with them. You'll see at least 10 to 50 bass in any pocket and that's exactly what I didn't want."Pro Greg Bohannan says the warm weather brings all the bass to the bank and takes away his local advantage.

Bohannan is known for his Wiggle Wart prowess, so the spawn development is a disappointment. However, he's still holding out hope it will be possible to catch `em other ways.

"Ninety percent of the field will be sight-fishing today, but I'll be in that other 10-percent category. I love this beautiful warm weather, but I've cursed it too. It just took the crankbait bite right out of the equation."

While the weather is ideal for sight-fishing with little wind and bright skies, the water is not exactly gin clear.

"We had some rain about a week ago that put some stain in the James (river) but it has settled down ever since and the White is pretty clear. In addition to sight-fishing, there will be some spinnerbait fish caught, some A-rig fish caught and some flipping fish caught."

Bohannan likened this tournament to some of the June events FLW has held on Lake Champlain in the past.

"This will be a tournament where every ounce counts. The fishing will be good, but you won't see the monster 26- and 28-pound sacks we've had here the last few months with the A-rig. The first wave is just getting up and that means a lot of these fish are skittish."

A male bass begins to fan a nest for the annual spawning ritual.Like Bohannan, Rayovac pro Jason Christie has seen tons of bass shallow trying to spawn. However, he hasn't been all that successful triggering them to bite.

"The water has cleared up so much the fish have gotten spooky; it's just hard to catch one. These fish are confused. They have love on their mind, but they don't want to spawn when the water is falling. So a lot of them are just up and cruising around, fanning around. Once they lay their eggs, they'll be a little more dominant. Out of the 200 beds I've seen, I've only seen 10 pairs of bass. These females are smart. They are waiting for the water to stabilize and get just right."

Christie plans to start the day sight-fishing and he'll know within a few hours if they've become more aggressive. Otherwise, he won't be afraid to change.

"I'm eager to see, because these fish really have me pulling my hair out. I had 20 rods on the deck Tuesday and I couldn't get anything going. I still think this derby may be won out deep on prespawners. Everybody can see the sight-fish that are laying around, so you won't have anything truly to yourself."

Logistics

Anglers will take off from Table Rock State Park Marina located at 380 State Park Marina Road in Branson at 7 a.m. each morning. Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will be held at Table Rock State Park FLW Tour pros depart Table Rock State Park Marina Thursday morning.Marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday's final weigh-ins will be held at the Walmart located at 1101 Branson Hills Pkwy. in Branson beginning at 4 p.m.

Fans will be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at the Walmart on Saturday and Sunday from noon-4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-ins. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public.

In FLW Tour competition, pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, controlling boat movement and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. The full field competes in the two-day opening round. After day two the field is pared to the top 20 pros and co-anglers. The co-angler competition concludes at Saturday's weigh-in and the top-10 pros continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.

On the Web

For those who can't catch the weigh-in action in person, FLWOutdoors.com offers FLW Live, an online application that brings fans real-time weigh-in results, streaming video and audio.

In addition to FLW Live, FLWOutdoors.com is offering real-time updates from the water throughout each day of the Table Rock Lake event. Simply click on the "On the Water Coverage" banner from either the FLW or FLW Tour home pages.

Thursday's conditions

Sunrise: 7:03 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 63 degrees
Expected high temperature: 81 degrees
Water temperature: 65-67 main lake, 70-72 pockets
Wind: S at 11 mph
Maximum humidity: 47 percent
Day's outlook: sunny

Tags: brett-carlson  morning-story  2012-03-29-table-rock-lake 

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