UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Lake Champlain

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Spawn in Full Bloom on Table Rock

Spawn in Full Bloom on Table Rock
Melinda Hays

Stop No. 2 of the Costa FLW Series Central Division should shape up to be quite the catchfest. Coming off of the division opener on Kentucky Lake, where pros were challenged with tough fishing, this week’s event, which is presented by Power-Pole and hosted by Explore Branson, should be stellar in terms of both numbers and quality of fish. 

 

The layout

As far as Ozark impoundments go, Table Rock isn’t much different than the rest. The southern Missouri reservoir features everything you could ask for to catch a bass from other than grass. How it differs from the rest, though, is that you can weigh in quality largemouths, smallmouths and spotted bass – something not all Ozark fisheries can offer. 

The White River is the major tributary and is prime country to find big largemouths, though spotted bass and smallmouths can be encountered as well. The James River also feeds Table Rock and is smaller and narrower than the White, but offers some dirtier water and plenty of laydowns. The lower end of the lake has the deepest, cleanest water and the highest abundance of smallies and spots. So, really, you can pick a section of the lake that fits your style best and catch fish. 

 

Spring is in full effect

If you like catching bass – including all three species – then Table Rock is the place to be this week. There has been a large push of fish up shallow to do their springtime ritual, and, according to FLW Tour pro Jeremy Lawyer, catching a limit shouldn’t be a hard feat to accomplish. 

“Everybody is going to catch five, but it’s gonna be hard to get over the 14-pound mark,” says the Sarcoxie, Mo., pro. “To separate yourself you’ll need to find one kicker bite. You can catch anything you want to catch [in terms of species] and plenty of 2- to 2 1/2-pounders. A 3-pounder is a good one. 

“The lake has come up 5 feet in the last week. It’s crazy,” he adds. “There’s a lot of shrubbery in the water, so there will be a bunch of fish caught shallow. The spawn is in full bloom. There’s a bunch of fish spawning and plenty of new beds, and you know they’re new because they’re in about a foot of water, which wasn’t there a week ago.”

Table Rock is big enough for a large field of anglers to spread out. So, whether a pro wants to run up the White and flip bushes or sit within sight of the dam and sight-fish in 15 feet of water, a pro should be able to find plenty to himself to put together a top-10 performance. 

“This is my third day [Tuesday] of practice in my third 15-mile stretch of lake, and I haven’t seen a nickel’s worth of difference in terms of catching fish or size,” Lawyer adds. “The weights are going to be tight. Tight as they can be.”

Lawyer is quick to point out that a kicker bite doesn’t have to come in the form of a largemouth this week. 

“All three species will play, and you could have all three in the same bag,” he says. “You could have a 4-pound largemouth, 4-pound smallmouth and 4-pound spot all in the same bag. There aren’t a lot of lakes in the country where you can do that.”

 

Jeremy Lawyer

Top to bottom

With plenty of fish spawning, prepare to see a slew of finesse presentations. Drop-shots, shaky heads, wacky rigs and Ned rigs will all be key in catching fish on Table Rock. Though, a Texas rig or jig will also account for numerous keepers, especially around flooded bushes. 

The one X-factor to help with a kicker bite will be a topwater. Topwaters excel on Table Rock throughout the year, but especially now when there are fish both coming and going on the bank. And the best part is that they eat it all day long. 

“A topwater is probably the best way to catch a biggun on Table Rock,” adds Lawyer.

 

Tournament details

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 determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.

Takeoff Time: 6:00 a.m. CT

Takeoff Location: Table Rock State Park Marina, 380 State Park Marina Road Hwy 165, Branson, MO 

Weigh-In Time: Days one and two: 2:00 p.m. CT; day three: 3:00 p.m. CT

Weigh-In Location: Table Rock State Park Marina on days one and two; Bass Pro Shops at 1 Bass Pro Drive, Branson, MO on day three

Complete details

Tags: table-rock  smallmouth  largemouth  spotted-bass  -fishing  spawn  kyle-wood  pre-tournament  2019-05-09-table-rock-lake 

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