UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Ohio River

Practice on Table Rock with Lawyer

Practice on Table Rock with Lawyer

Native to Sarcoxie, Mo., Jeremy Lawyer has had a pretty good year, finishing eighth in the Angler of the Year standings in the Central Division of the Costa FLW Series, winning the FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American and finishing fifth in the Forrest Wood Cup. I joined him on Table Rock for the second day of practice for the Costa FLW Series Championship to get a look at one of fishing’s hottest sticks in action.

 

We met up and put in at the Shell Knob Ramp, which is well up the White River arm of the lake. With some fog settling down, Lawyer ferries fellow competitor Mark Crutcher (who came all the way from California) out to his boat before running up the lake in the dim morning light.

“Look here,” shouts Lawyer as we run up the lake. “It’s deer season, and I’m wearing shorts and you’re wearing sandals.”

Lawyer is right. Though it’s still pretty dark at 7:15 in the morning, that’s about the only part that feels like the end of October.

 

Setting down after a short run into a nearby cove, Lawyer idles a little way into the back and then stops to pull out eight rods with a selection of baits ranging from an umbrella rig to a Wiggle Wart to a variety of topwaters. Rods out, Lawyer positions his boat tight to the bank and begins to burn a spinnerbait before swapping over to a Whopper Plopper, which would end up being in his hand for most of the morning.

 

With no luck for a hundred yards or so, Lawyer idles over to the other side of the arm and strikes with the Plopper and an umbrella rig in short order.

Along the way, he explains that the water is lower than it typically is in the fall. He says that despite it rising some over the last week, it’s still a lot closer to a winter level than normal. He delves into some of the intricacies of the lake’s standing timber, noting that the cedar trees (pictured) have little nubs on the visible tops where the branches used to be. On the other hand, hardwoods have visible grooves in the trunks and sport fewer branches below the waterline.

 

“The other day there were fish back here on this wood and stuff,” says Lawyer as he gets to the very back of the pocket.

In short order, Lawyer’s pattern holds up, as the pro boats a slim 15-incher and a solid 3-pounder. After working another hundred yards or so out of the back, Lawyer makes a quick and unproductive stop in a small side pocket before taking off.

 

Running out of the arm goes well enough, but shortly after turning back into the main channel, the fog begins to sock him in thicker than ever. Forced to slow down, Lawyer pulls aside to a flat pocket on the main drag and starts fishing.

“I guess we’ll fish here a bit," he says. “It’s not the exact stuff I want to fish, but sometimes that’s how you find them.”

This time, it was not. After letting the fog lift just a bit, Lawyer cranks up and heads onward.

 

The next stop is another creek arm off the main drag, this one just a bit steeper than the first. Lawyer picks up an umbrella rig and starts on a steep bank with standing timber in perhaps the last third of the cove. Right away, the rig puts a few small fish in the boat.

“When this thing came out is was like crack cocaine,” says Lawyer of the umbrella rig. “You couldn’t fish anywhere and not catch 20 pounds.”

Twenty pounds isn’t forthcoming, but so far, getting bites hasn’t proved to be much of an issue.

 

In the back of the creek, after moving on from the little section of umbrella rig eaters, Lawyer picks up a jig and methodically flips his way along the bank where the channel swings tight against it. He says that usually in the fall, the last bit of deep water in a creek will hold 'em, but that it hasn’t been true this week. Though he does get one decent fish to eat the jig, that’s all in the back of this creek.

After unsuccessfully checking over the umbrella rig stretch with his jig, the fog is nearly gone and Lawyer heads on to his next spot.

 

After a decent little run, Lawyer stops just past a channel swing on the main river where the bank flattens out. As he starts to fish, Greg Bohannan rolls past on the opposite side of the river.

Lawyer picks up the topwater again and explains why he’s already passed up a few miles of water on a lake where everything looks good.

“If you just start going creek to creek to creek you end up going about three miles all day,” says Lawyer. “You might not catch anything and just be in a bad section of the lake.”

Lawyer is a bit of a local, so he knows some of the right sections. After losing a fish that bit his umbrella rig near a treetop, Lawyer cranks up and heads to a spot where it might get right.

 

“It's gonna take a little while to fish it, but we oughta get a couple bites in this creek,” says Lawyer. “If we don’t, then I can about scratch this section off.”

It doesn’t even take that long. After settling into a short pocket off a side creek, Lawyer gets a tremendous blow-up on his topwater. Almost immediately on the other side of the pocket, Lawyer hooks up with a keeper largemouth and then takes the bait away from another good strike.

“We better git,” says Lawyer as he picks up the trolling motor. “That’s the way you oughta get bites right there.”

 

Moving on up the lake, Lawyer stops at a medium-sized flat pocket on the main lake. After rushing a cast to some leaping minnows with the umbrella rig, he settles down with the topwater and quickly raises a small spotted bass. Around at the opposite end of the pocket, Lawyer runs into another little bunch of fish, spotting a big largemouth and smallmouth as they dart way from the boat.

“If there had been a little wind we probably could have caught one of them,” says Lawyer.

After working around the point, it’s time to roll.

 

Our next stop showcases yet another type of rock, where steep little cliffs drop off into the water. Though he does get a bite, the main event turns out to be a chat with Brandon Mosley. After the pair bemoan the tough bite for a bit, Lawyer shoves off and begins to head back down toward Shell Knob.

 

On the way back, Lawyer stops at two more places without a sniff. Both pretty much on the main lake, one is a sort of shallow flat with some timber, and the other is a nice chunky bank with a breath of wind on it.

It’s been awhile since Lawyer got one in the boat, and that puts some perspective on the hot morning.

“Pre-practice was okay,” says Lawyer. “But, I’ll be honest with you, this is the most bites I’ve got in a day of practice.”

 

At noon, Lawyer drops me back at the ramp and heads off again. It’s been a pretty good morning, but he’s got more ground to cover, and I’ve got work to do. 

Tags: jeremy-lawyer  table-rock  flw-series  jody-white  pre-tournament  2016-11-03-championship-table-rock-lake 

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