UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Santee Cooper

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Central Division Starts on Table Rock

Central Division Starts on Table Rock

Anglers hitting Table Rock for day one of the Costa FLW Series Central Division event presented by Lowrance will roll out into somewhat atypical conditions. Stained water held over from high water in the winter and a cool spring have the fish acting differently than they usually do in late April on the White River impoundment.

As the division opener plays out, 197 pros will compete for a top award of up to $50,000 in cash and a new Ranger Z518C boat with a 200-hp Evinrude outboard. Co-anglers will cast for a Ranger Z175 boat with a 90-hp Evinrude outboard and an additional $5,000 if Ranger Cup qualified.       

 

About the Fishery

Located mostly in Missouri, with a small portion of its 43,100 surface acres reaching into Arkansas, this White River reservoir winds a circuitous course through the Ozark Mountains. Impounded in 1958 by its namesake hydroelectric dam, the lake is controlled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains an average conservation pool of 915 feet above sea level.

Also fed by the James and King rivers, Table Rock has a maximum depth of 220 feet and 745 miles of shoreline at normal pool. Main habitat features include several major creek arms, points, bluffs, offshore rock, brush, stumps, standing timber and docks.

 

Current Conditions

Late February saw heavy rains push up Table Rock’s water level about 8 feet in a week, with the lake topping out a foot over normal pool in February. By the end of March, the lake was 4 feet high, at 919.

The Corps pulled it down to less than a foot over full by the middle of last week and the tournament will see Table Rock right at normal pool. However, as Missouri pro James Watson notes, the recent round of high water has left an atypical stain in just about all of the lake, except the deeper, lower extremes near the dam.

“Also, the spawn is way behind because of the extended winter,” Watson says. “We’re facing more like March conditions.”

Good news, Watson says, is that the stained water will put the whole lake in play and offer something for every taste — deep, clear patterns on the lower end, or shallow work throughout much of the lake.

Jeremy Lawyer, who hails from Sarcoxie, Mo., points out that the lower clarity, plus this spring’s lingering chill and fluctuating temperatures has created the potential for a perfect storm of shallow water action.

“These fish are used to seeing clear water and when we get that stained water, it relaxes them,” Lawyer says. “They’re wanting to come to the bank and spawn anyway, and that puts them up there in larger numbers. If the water were cleaner and clearer, they’d stay out deep and try to hide and it’s just a lot harder to catch them. We kinda have a lucky week here at Table Rock with the conditions we’ve got.”

Lawyer points to an overlap that could mean big things for anglers.

“The fish came up and wanted to spawn, but the (recent cold) weather wouldn’t allow them,” he says. “Now, that wave of fish didn’t leave and we have another wave of fish coming up with this week’s warming weather. So instead of one wave, we have two waves on the bank.”

 

Tactics in Play

Watson said he expects the cooler spring will mean an extended jerkbait bite; in fact, he’s looking for some of the better sacks to be caught with the twitch-twitch-pause stuff. Grubs and small swimbaits also make his list, but he’s certain that Table Rock will hear he splash of umbrella rigs from start to finish.

Lawyer adds a spinnerbait, jig, shaky head and a Ned rig to the mix.

“The lake is pretty stained up and that’s rare for Table Rock, so they’re biting good and there should be a lot of limits weighed in,” Lawyer says. “Everybody should have a good time and it should be a co-angler’s dream with it wide open for them as well.”

 

Dock Talk

Watson believes the weigh-ins will see a mix of largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass, as well as the occasional meanmouth (smallmouth/spot crossbreed). As Lawyer sees it, largemouths clearly have the highest weight potential; but mixed bags could prove to be an interesting element.

“You can target largemouth, smallmouth or spots and you’ll get some spots where you can catch all of them; but you can go after whatever you want to catch,” he says. “I think the guy leading the tournament will have a big largemouth — maybe a 6- or 7-pounder. But we also have some really nice smallmouth biting now, and some of the fattest spots we’ve had in years, so that’s going to push the weights up a little bit.

Lawyer thinks it will take 28 to 29 pounds to make the top 10, with the winner needing 55 to 58 pounds. Watson says he expects to see a couple of bags cross the 20-pound barrier this week.

 

Tournament details

Dates: April 19-21

Format: All boaters and co-anglers will compete for two days. The top 10 boaters and co-anglers based on cumulative weight after two days of competition will advance to the third and final round, with the winner in each category determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.

Takeoff Time: 6:30 a.m. CT

Takeoff Location: Table Rock State Park Marina, 380 State Park Marina Road (Highway 165), Branson, MO

Weigh-in: Days 1 and 2: 2:30 p.m. CT

Weigh-In Location: Days 1 and 2 at Table Rock State Park Marina

Weigh-in Time: Day 3: 3:30 p.m. CT

Weigh-In Location: Day 3: Branson Landing,100 Branson Landing, Branson, MO

Complete details 

 

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2018-04-19-table-rock-lake 

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