UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Lake Mead

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

3 Key Factors at Table Rock

Table Rock

Fall is a tough time to host a championship bass tournament, what with the fish in transition and lake conditions dependent on both long-term and short-term weather patterns.

Then again, some fisheries enjoy a bit of immunity to the fall variables. Table Rock Lake near Branson, Mo., is one of those places. When the Costa FLW Series Championship goes down at Table Rock Nov. 3-5, the fishing will almost certainly be good, but how good really depends on the conditions.

Cape Fair, Mo., angler Kelly Power is one of the top local sources for fishing information at Table Rock. He owns Extreme Outdoors, a tackle shop, and Ulrich Marine, a marine repair center in Branson West, Mo. The winner of the June 2016 FLW Bass Fishing League event at Table Rock, Power is also an accomplished tournament stick.

Power knows exactly what’s happening on Table Rock right now, as well as how this season’s conditions compare to years past. He identified three critical factors that will influence the FLW Series Championship’s outcome.

 

Table Rock

1. Water level

According to Power, water level management has changed in recent years at Table Rock, and the lake has been kept higher than historic averages, with some fluctuation, obviously.


But in 2016, the water level has been low.

“We’re at 911 [feet above sea level] right now, and it’s been this level all through late summer and early fall,” he says. “I don’t see the lake coming up any.”

 

How it affects fishing

Table Rock is a rocky, highland reservoir, so the bass relate heavily to natural rocky structure. But they also position around standing timber and shoreline wood cover. With the lower water level, some of the shoreline cover is unfishable, meaning that if bass are relating to wood cover they might be out deeper in brush or timber.

The most notable effect is that anglers can now visually locate and fish cedar trees – a common pattern back before the water was kept up in the cooler months.

“Your No. 1 historically big deal in the fall is fishing cedar trees,” Power reports. “From about 913 to about 910, you can truly see the cedar trees out on the flats. For the last five or six years all that standing timber has been covered because the lake has been higher. This year the standing cedar tree bite could be a player, because those fish, as they’re migrating in from the summer patterns to fall feeding, will use those cedar trees.

“If you get the right conditions – the wind blows, cloudy days, early morning bite – a guy could run cedar trees. Normally, if you catch fish out of those they’re big ones.”

The cedar tree bite is primarily a reaction bite pattern using swimbaits, soft jerkbaits and spinnerbaits.

 

2. Water temperature

Power says fall is a bit behind in the region, and the water temperature is a little higher than in typical years.  

“Normally, by the time FLW gets here, the water temperature should be 62 to 65,” he says. “This year it’s going to be 69 to 73.”

 

How it affects the fishing

The current forecast shows a cooldown arriving during the tournament, but highs are forecast to be in the low 80s between now and day one.

“It keeps those fish from moving,” says Power of the warm conditions. “They’re starting to move, but if that upper water column doesn’t move down into the mid-60s, the bite is going to be a little tougher, which means the average bite is going to be 10 or 12 feet deep.”

Most anglers who qualified for the championship probably envisioned winding a River2Sea Whopper Plopper or a buzzbait along the bank to catch their fish. In ideal conditions – meaning windy conditions or early morning – that’s absolutely a pattern in play. Yet, Power says it’s not necessarily a pattern that the masses will dial in.

“I do believe whoever wins it is going to win it that way, but it’s not going to be wide open as it normally is,” he says. “If you told me I was fishing this championship, I’m going to go throw it [topwater] for seven hours. I’m going to hope to get five good bites.”

In a couple of recent trips to the lake, Power hammered 22- and 18-pound limits on topwater, but he was dialed in on a very specific pattern that non-locals might not find.

“I didn’t have a fish under 3 pounds. You can’t just go run bank and expect to get that kind of bite,” Power says. “If we’d had our normal cooldown it would’ve been wide open for everybody.

“There’s potential for a handful to do good on the topwater. They just have to be patient or hope the conditions are really conducive, meaning lots of wind. It isn’t going to matter if it’s sunny or cloudy; they’re going to have to have some wind to get multiple bites throughout the day.”

Power predicts that the most consistent bite will be on transition banks and points in the middepth range from about 8 to 15 feet. Shallower patterns will exist where the wind pushes bait into the bank, but his guess is that slowing down with shaky heads, jigs and crankbaits and dialing in on crawfish eaters will produce some top-10 finishes. He also thinks it’s a little late for a true offshore bite.

“The majority of those [offshore] fish have made their move from out deep, but because the water hasn’t cooled they haven’t really gone to the bank like they normally would. They’re just kind of hanging back. I think they’re suspending back in the creeks, and they’re in that transition where on a given day the wind and conditions could put them on the bank, but they’re not all up.”

 

Table Rock

3. Water clarity

Table Rock is a clear lake, no matter how you slice it. It’s just that this season, there’s what Power calls “a little color” in the system.

“Normally, from the Point 9 area, which is at the mouth of the White and James rivers, to the Long Creek Bridge – that covers the main body on the lake – it’s normally clear. I’m talking 6 to 8 feet of visibility,” says Power. “With the conditions that we’ve had, it’s just never cleared. We don’t get many years that it doesn’t clear. It’s made a difference on the offshore fishing. They just haven’t been there.”

 

How it affects the fishing

Power thinks the true deep, offshore bite won’t be a factor in the win, due to water clarity and also the fall transition.

He also thinks the clarity will impact some anglers’ preferred finesse tactics.

“What some people have found out is the drop-shot rig isn’t as good because we have color in the lake. Guys who can pick up shaky heads and jigs and can fish points and secondary points and channel swings, they can catch fish. There are some good fish to be had there.”

Power did add that there’s super-clear water way up the White River, which is fed by Beaver Lake.

 

 

Final thoughts

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, Table Rock is a stellar fishery regardless of season, and fall can be a prime time to fish there, even if bass aren’t positioned up shallow en masse in a situation where everyone can hammer on them. 

“The only thing that could hurt this tournament and make it tough is high bluebird skies and hot weather,” says Power. “If you were to get a major, major cold front, it might slow the bite down a little bit in the morning, but sometime during the day they’re going to put on the feedbag.”

 

Tags: table-rock  flw-series-championship  curtis-niedermier  pre-tournament  2016-11-03-championship-table-rock-lake 

Q&A with Costa TD Mark McWha

Q&A with Costa TD Mark McWha

The Costa FLW Series is clipping along through its 2019 schedule, with the first Western Division event set to begin in about a week at Lake Mead. New FLW Series Tournament Director Mark McWha is preparing to trek across the country to run that event, but before he’s scheduled to go we caught up with McWha for a Q&A session that gives readers and anglers a more formal introduction to the new leadership for one of FLW’s top tournament circuits. READ MORE »

How to Fish Power Plant Lakes in Winter

How to Fish Power Plant Lakes in Winter

Some of the power-plant lakes throughout the Midwest are borderline legendary. If you live near one or are willing to travel to keep your open-water season alive, Colby Schrumpf’s system could work on just about any of them that have grass. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Toho

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Toho

While the Lake Toho FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats fell basically right on top of a wave of spawning bass piling into the shallows, many of the top finishers targeted bass that were staging out or transitioning to or from their beds. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Toho

Top 10 Baits from Toho

The second stop of the 2019 FLW Tour landed right on the spawn on Lake Toho and the other lakes on the Kissimmee Chain. Top finishers caught bass in all phases of the spawn. Collectively, they used just about every bait you’ll ever need if you want to catch a bass this time of year in the Sunshine State. READ MORE »

Gross Wins Second Tour Title

Gross Wins Second Tour Title

Buddy Gross of Chickamauga, Ga., won the 2019 FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats at Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Fla., with a four-day total of 20 bass that weighed 85 pounds, 12 ounces. READ MORE »

Gross Grabs Toho Lead

Gross Grabs Toho Lead

Day three of the FLW Tour presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho was tough on the leaders, but Buddy Gross stayed steady, rising to first from fifth with 19 pounds, 12 ounces. In total, Gross has amassed 62 pounds even through three days, which is just about a pound ahead of Darrell Davis, who caught 25-12 for a 60-15 total and rocketed up to second from 13th. Going into the final day, everyone in the top six is within 5 pounds of the lead, and the way the Kissimmee Chain is pumping out big ones, that counts as the slimmest of margins. READ MORE »

Cox Stays Ahead on Toho

Cox Stays Ahead on Toho

Day two of the FLW Tour presented by Ranger on Lake Toho featured not one, but TWO 10-pounders, one caught by Casey Scanlon and the other by Jamie Horton. READ MORE »

Cox Leads Toho Slugfest

Cox Leads Toho Slugfest

Day one of the FLW Tour presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho was the slugfest many expected. Leading the way is sight-fishing extraordinaire John Cox, who caught 31 pounds, 9 ounces and the day one big bass – a giant that went 10-9.  In second, John Voyles wrangled up 24-15, and Scott Martin is close behind him with 24-12. READ MORE »

Roaming Kissimmee with Douglas

Roaming Kissimmee with Douglas

Hailing from Minnesota, Josh Douglas is in his third year on the FLW Tour and looking for his first FLW Cup qualification. Were it not for a disqualification in the final event of the year at St. Clair in 2018, Douglas would have sailed into the Cup. After a tough start to the year at Rayburn, he’s planning to get back on track at the FLW Tour event presented by Ranger on Lake Toho. READ MORE »

Burghoff Checks Out Toho on Day 2

Burghoff Checks Out Toho on Day 2

FLW Tour rookie Miles “Sonar” Burghoff kicked off his freshman season with a strong performance on Sam Rayburn, where he just missed fishing the final day with a 12th-place finish. Now, the Tour is on a system he is more than familiar with, having spent countless hours on Lakes Toho and Kissimmee while attending college at the University of Central Florida. READ MORE »

A Look at Lake Toho

A Look at Lake Toho

Stop No. 2 of the 2019 FLW Tour takes us to Lake Toho and the several other lakes strung along the Kissimmee River. Presented by Ranger Boats, the tournament will take off from Big Toho Marina on the north end of the namesake lake, but competitors will be able to spread out down the Kissimmee River into Cypress Lake, Lake Hatchineha (Hatch), Lake Kissimmee, and perhaps even Tiger Lake and Lake Rosalie if they’re feeling adventurous. READ MORE »

Spawn on the Horizon at Okeechobee

Spawn on the Horizon at Okeechobee

Florida is a familiar place for FLW competition, and Lake Okeechobee is probably the best-known fishery the Sunshine State has to offer. So there shouldn’t be many surprises when the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division kicks off the season Jan. 31–Feb. 2 on the Big O with an event presented by Power-Pole. READ MORE »

By the Numbers: Lake Toho

By the Numbers: Lake Toho

The FLW Tour season opener on Sam Rayburn was a slugfest for sure. Fortunately for fans and anglers alike, the second stop of the season could be just as good, as the Tour heads to Central Florida and Lake Toho and the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes in Kissimmee, Fla., on February 7. READ MORE »

2019 Lake Toho Preview

2019 Lake Toho Preview

Lake Tohopekaliga (Toho for short) is the first of four lakes on the menu for pros in the second stop of the FLW Tour. At the south end of Toho, a lock and a series of canals leads to Cypress Lake, Lake Hatchineha (Hatch) and Lake Kissimmee, which are all fair game for the pros. READ MORE »

2019 BFL Season Kicks Off This Weekend

2019 BFL Season Kicks Off This Weekend

While much of the northern United States is locked in a deep freeze, Southern bass anglers will be kicking off their 2019 T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League season with the Gator Division tournament at Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston, Fla., and the Cowboy Division tournament at Toledo Bend Reservoir in Many, La. READ MORE »

Pro Tip: How Wes Logan Ties a Jig

Pro Tip: How Wes Logan Ties a Jig

Wes Logan is particular about his jigs. So particular that he pours his own heads and ties his own skirts. Logan’s tying method keeps the skirt from slipping down or spinning around – a pet peeve of his. Some folks do the same with wire, but Logan prefers using light braided line. READ MORE »

Beight Rings in Marshal Program in Big Way

Beight Rings in Marshal Program in Big Way

Timmy Beight won the FLW Tour Sam Rayburn Marshal prize after marshaling for Jordan Osborne and Terry Bolton. READ MORE »

Cecil’s Final Morning of Practice

Cecil’s Final Morning of Practice

Russell Cecil is one of a number of standout Texas anglers fishing the FLW Tour opener this week on Sam Rayburn. After a lackluster rookie campaign in 2018, fishing near home is a great opportunity for the Willis, Texas, pro to get the year started off strong. Though the conditions are far from normal, a few hours on the final day of practice reveal that Cecil certainly has a read on the bass. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Sam Rayburn

FLW Live Schedule for Sam Rayburn

The 2019 FLW Live seasons kicks off on the big bass factory of Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Brookeland, Texas. Watch your favorite stars such as Scott Martin and Bryan Thrift weigh-in at the FLW Tour season opener, and then follow the weekend action live with the top pros. READ MORE »

Figuring Out Rayburn with Powell

Figuring Out Rayburn with Powell

Hensley Powell has quickly and quietly amassed quite a record with FLW. In just three years fishing the Costa FLW Series, he’s earned over $90,000, and he got a win at Table Rock in the Central Division in 2018. READ MORE »