UPCOMING EVENT: FLW SERIES - 2020 - Toledo Bend Lake

Top 10 Patterns From Table Rock

Top 10 Patterns From Table Rock
Jake Morris

Fishing at Table Rock during the Costa FLW Series Central Division event, presented by Power-Pole, was pretty remarkable, at least until it wasn’t.

All through practice and into the early part of the tournament, all anglers talked about was how easy it was to catch fish, though most were of the 2-pound variety. Yet, as weather conditions changed (hurting many anglers’ patterns) a few pros managed to adapt better than the rest to continue catching those key 3-pounders. None did it better than winner Eric Olliverson.

This event was tight from start to finish, with Olliverson winning by a mere 4 ounces. Every remaining angler in the top 10 had a shot to win, and, in most cases, it came down to running out of fish or employing a pattern that simply dried up when it mattered most.

Olliverson’s winning pattern

Top 10 baits 

Complete results 

 

2. Ebare nearly flips to victory

Once Dakota Ebare realized all the spawning fish he’d found in practice were gone, his pattern became quite simple.

“I just went flipping,” says the FLW Tour pro.

Focusing on fishing up the James River, Ebare put a 7-foot, 6-inch Hammer Rods Elite Series Flipping Stick in his hands Thursday morning and never put it down for three days. Constantly running new water every day was key, as he simply tried to find as much flooded brush as he could.

A big key to his success was realizing exactly what he was fishing for in the brush: fry-guarders. 

“Everything I was catching was males,” Ebare said. “They’re fry-guarders, so it didn’t matter what the weather did. They’re weren’t going anywhere.” 

In order to get a reaction bite out of the males, he flipped a Strike King Rage Tail Rage Bug or Strike King Rage Tail Menace Grub (when he ran out of Rage Bugs) in Okeechobee Craw behind a 1/2-ounce weight on 18-pound-test Sunline fluorocarbon line.

“That thing would go flying by them falling so fast, and it’d just get a reaction bite,” explains Ebare, who says he was getting 25 bites a day. 

 

3. Castledine targets offshore smallmouth

Todd Castledine is well known for his sight-fishing ability, yet the Nacogdoches, Texas, pro had no intention of wanting to sight-fish during this event. Instead, he decided to have some fun with some brown fish.

Staying on the lower end, Castledine had located some longer, shallower points right on the main lake that were loaded with baitfish and smallmouth willing to eat a Strike King Rage Swimmer or Strike King Sexy Dawg. In fact, he was fishing so far away from the bank at times he often worried about anglers who didn’t expect anyone fishing out so far running him over.

Castledine did supplement his brown fish with some green ones he caught off beds, including one he lost four times before finally netting her – “That has to be the dumbest fish in the lake,” Castledine jokes, “but I’ll take her.” Still, of the 15 fish he weighed in, only four came off beds, with the rest being smallmouth.

On the final day, Castledine said he caught more fish than he’d caught all week on the topwater. Unfortunately, despite having a quick limit, he wasn’t able to upgrade. All he got all day were small bites.

 

Kyle Minke

4. Minke Googles some laydowns

If Kyle Minke started on the pattern he ended on, he might’ve won this event.

Having only been to Table Rock once before, Minke started day one doing what everyone else was doing – fishing points with a Ned rig before chasing a few bedding fish.

Early on day two, Minke made a change.

“I wrote off everything I was doing and ran to the dirty water to pitch laydowns,” he says.

Fishing the James River, he found enough laydowns to flip with either a Bitter’s Bait Jitter Crawor Zoom Ultra-Vibe Speed Craw on a 3/0 VMC wide-gap hook and a 1/2-ounce WOO! Tungsten Weight. The result was a significant upgrade over day one, which prompted him to do some studying.

“The night after day two, I went on Google Earth and started looking for laydowns, specifically pine tree laydowns,” Minke says. “I found about 20 more areas way up the river, almost as far as Cape Fair.

“I had a great final day, but I just wish I’d been [flipping those laydowns] from day one.”

 

Greg Bohannan

5. Bohannan hangs out in the White River

With a number of top pros spending their time up the James River, Greg Bohannan had the White River basically to himself.

“I didn’t see a tournament boat the final two days of the tournament,” says Bohannan, who figured he was making a run of about 40 miles.

Up there, it was just a matter of covering water using a two-pronged approach around flooded brush and cover.

Prong one was a wacky-rigged Strike King KVD Perfect Plastic Ocho, which he’d pitch to isolated flooded cover. It was prong two that did the bulk of his damage for bigger fish, though.

“I was Texas-rigging that Ocho weightless and skipping it up into that brush,” Bohannan says. “Then I’d actually twitch and pop it out like a Fluke. It’s just something different the fish don’t really see.”

That’s how he coaxed a 6-pound, 2-ounce kicker on day two that helped buoy his biggest bag of the event.

 

Matt Wood

6. Wood finds the right kicker

A 6-pound, 11-ounce kicker is a big fish on most lakes. On a lake like Table Rock, it’s akin to landing a 12-pounder, and with 3-pound bites coming at a premium, that one fish really sealed Matt Wood’s top 10.

Wood needed a bunch more to back it up, which he caught thanks to three points all within a couple hundred yards of one another (two of them right next two each other) on the lower end.

Wood’s shallower sister points are where he caught the majority of his weight, including his day-one giant kicker, targeting bass that were busting on shad with a Strike King Sexy Dawg. Yet, as the conditions changed, so did his baitfish’s positioning, which hurt (and eventually killed) Wood’s bite.

“On day two, the cold wind really pushed the baitfish and balled them up close to the bottom instead of higher in the water column,” Wood admits. “Day three, they were gone.”

When the fish stopped coming up, he was still able to coax some to bite tossing a Keitech Swing Impact FAT 3.3 swimbait, fishing it about 5 feet down over 15 to 25 feet of water. In fact, a big key to his success this week was being able to see and watch the fish on his Garmin Panoptix.

“If you don’t have that, you’re fishing at a disadvantage,” Wood says. “I was able to watch fish following my swimbait. If I didn’t have that, I might’ve never known there were so many fish – and big ones – on that spot.”

 

Jake Morris

7. Morris’ streak comes to an end

It was incredible while it lasted for Jake Morris.

The McKee, Ky., pro actually led the first five days of competition in the FLW Costa Series Central Division this season, having won the first event (on Kentucky Lake) wire-to-wire and then the first two days of this event. Unfortunately, his area and bite completely died the final day, and, with it, his chance of chasing Ray Hanselman’s feat of winning all three events in a single Costa FLW Series division season.

“It’s fine,” Morris says. “I’m still tickled to death. I always am any time I can make a top 10.”

Morris was making an hour-plus run almost as far up the James River as the McCord Bend area, which is where it can barely be considered part of Table Rock Lake.

Up there, he found three shallow pockets full of flooded brush and cover and loaded with largemouth willing to crush a Reaction Innovations Swamp Donkey hollow-bodied frog. What made the pockets unique is that two of them had 45-degree rock banks that should indicate a deep pocket, but instead they were only a few feet deep all the way across. They would have been extremely tiny (or nonexistent) if the water hadn’t been up so high.

Unfortunately, as often happens in rivers, the conditions changed. The water clarity cleared up, effectively killing his frog bite the final day. He pulled the plug at 9:30 a.m. with just one keeper and scrambled to catch three more, but that was the end of his run.

 

Wesley Rogers

8. Rogers scraps sight-fishing

Wesley Rogers really wanted to spend his entire tournament sight-fishing, but once the weather turned bad, he pulled back and adapted.

“It’s hard to sight-fish in clouds, rain and wind,” Rogers admits.

Still, he was able to do it the majority of day one and half of day two, utilizing a Bass Pro Shops Tender Tube in green pumpkin or white with the tail died chartreuse. He threw both on a 1/4-ounce Jewel Rattlin’ Tube Head.

Once Rogers realized the conditions weren’t conducive to sight-fishing midway through Friday, he simply backed out and blind-casted the same pockets in which he’d marked bed fish.

“I did the best I could once I couldn’t sight-fish,” Rogers says. “Once it was gone, though, it killed my weight.”

 


9. Mansfield finesses points and pockets

Greg Mansfield really couldn’t believe what was happening in practice.

“Within 30 minutes of going shallow, I was like, ‘OK, they’re here,’” Mansfield says. “Then I went to a point and was like, ‘OK, they’re here, too.’ They were everywhere, and they were all biting.”

That left a lot of options open for him, though he knew exactly how he was going to catch them, be it fish sitting on the ends of points or bedding fish: finesse tactics.

“On points, I used a Ned rig and a shaky head,” says Mansfield, who spent his tournament running water between Indian Point and the mouth of the James River. “A big key for me was a Neko-rigged Yamamoto Senko, especially on those bedding smallmouth. You couldn’t see them, but I know that’s what they were doing.”

Mansfield threw the green-pumpkin Senko with a 1/16-ounce weight and on a 1/0 Owner Cover Shot Worm Hook. He also mixed in shad-colored Senkos, which he wacky-rigged with a weighted hook.

 

Jason Bonds

10. Bonds commits to bedding fish

Jason Bonds loves to sight-fish, but he has to adjust how he does it when he comes to lakes like Table Rock, compared to back home in Texas.

“I have to downsize my baits,” Bonds explains. “That’s why I threw that smaller Strike King KVD Perfect Plastic Baby Rodent. The bigger one is a little too much for them to get in their mouths, especially the spots.”

His two main colors were green pumpkin and California 420, and he executed his pattern in the mid-lake region, up to about where the rivers fork.

However, as the conditions worsened – both weather-wise and in regards to water clarity – his weights continually dropped.

“I just couldn’t see the fish and was just fishing where I’d marked them,” Bonds admits. “I figured I’d commit to it the final day regardless, because I couldn’t do any worse than 10th.”

Tags: flw  table-rock  costa-flw-series  bass-fishing  fishing-tournament  sean-ostruszka  post-tournament  2019-05-09-table-rock-lake 

Cox Goes Wire-to-Wire to Win Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Cox Goes Wire-to-Wire to Win Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BROOKELAND, TEXAS – Berkley pro John Cox of DeBary, Florida, already had an impressive resume – four career victories, two runner-up finishes in the FLW Angler of the Year race and the 2016 FLW Cup Championship. Sunday in Texas, Cox added another accolade... READ MORE »

Cox Wins Again

Cox Wins Again

There’s no other way to say it: John Cox is clutch. There were times he made it look easy during the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit opener on Sam Rayburn, and there were times he was in full-blown scramble mode. But when he needed it most, Cox once again made the right call late on the final day to go wire-to-wire for the fifth Pro Circuit victory of his career. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Day 4 Coverage

Sam Rayburn Day 4 Coverage

John Cox was coasting through days one and two of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit opener on Sam Rayburn. It wasn’t luck, but Cox simply had a spot that was doing a lot of the work for him. One cast, repeat, repeat again. That spot failed him on day three, and he scrambled just to scrounge up enough weight to retain the lead going into Championship Sunday. Now, Corey Neece and Darold Gleason are hot on his trail after both having put together spectacular performances yesterday. Either one could challenge Cox with ease today if their patterns and spots hold steady.  READ MORE »

Cox Retains Lead at Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Cox Retains Lead at Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BROOKELAND, TEXAS – The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Sam Rayburn Reservoir has set the stage for another dramatic finale on Sunday – the top 10 is stacked with a former FLW Cup champion, a Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American Champion and two... READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Day 3 Coverage

Sam Rayburn Day 3 Coverage

The final 30 anglers are blasting off and headed to their first spots of the day. By the time the smoke clears this evening, we'll have 10 pros left to fish tomorrow, all chasing that $100,000 check and a huge jump start on the Angler of the Year points race. READ MORE »

Cox Pads Lead at Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Cox Pads Lead at Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BROOKELAND, TEXAS – Berkley pro John Cox of DeBary, Florida, brought a five-bass limit of largemouth to the Umphrey Pavilion scale Friday weighing 18 pounds, 12 ounces, to extend his lead after Day Two of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Sam Rayburn Reservoir... READ MORE »

Cox Leads by 5 pounds at Rayburn

Cox Leads by 5 pounds at Rayburn

Day two of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event on Sam Rayburn offered fairly tough conditions, but the cream of the crop still caught a lot of Texas bass. In first, John Cox stayed steady with an 18-pound, 12-ounce limit to get up to a 40-3. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Day 2 Coverage

Sam Rayburn Day 2 Coverage

After an overcast and calm start to the first day on Sam Rayburn, day two looks to be offering much different weather conditions. The forecast calls for sunny skies all day, though it should be as windy, or windier, than it was to close day one. That's potentially good news for a good portion of the field, as conditions should more closely resemble what anglers had to work with during practice. READ MORE »

John Cox Grabs Early Lead at Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Sam Rayburn Reservoir

John Cox Grabs Early Lead at Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BROOKELAND, TEXAS – Berkley pro John Cox of DeBary, Florida, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 7 ounces, Thursday to grab the early lead after Day One of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Veteran FLW pro Greg Bohannan of... READ MORE »

Cox Cranks Up Lead on Rayburn

Cox Cranks Up Lead on Rayburn

In what had to be an ironic sight, while Cox watched others around him beat Sam Rayburn’s shallow brush, the DeBary, Fla., pro sacked up 21 pounds, 7 ounces and take the day one lead by focusing out deeper with a crankbait to kick off the new Pro Circuit season. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Day 1 Coverage

Sam Rayburn Day 1 Coverage

The 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit season is officially underway on Sam Rayburn Reservoir in East Texas. With the new season comes some fresh faces and familiar favorites, all of whom are looking to get a head start on the rest of the field in the 2020 Angler of the Year points standings. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Reservoir Readies for 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Opener

Sam Rayburn Reservoir Readies for 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Opener

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BROOKELAND, TEXAS – FLW (Fishing League Worldwide) is set to kick off the new 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, professional bass fishing’s premier five-fish limit tournament series, this week, Jan. 23-26 with the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Sam Rayburn Reservoir... READ MORE »

John Cox Making Most of Opportunities

John Cox Making Most of Opportunities

In addition to finishing second in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit standings last season, John Cox finished runner-up in the Bassmaster Central Open standings and fourth in the Eastern Open standings, qualifying him to fish the Pro Circuit and Bassmaster Elite Series this year. While many pros were faced with some either-or decisions this offseason, Cox chose both – fishing the Pro Circuit and Elite Series – and he’s not even a bit nervous about doing both. READ MORE »

Tackle Warehouse Signs as Official Tackle Retailer of FLW, Becomes Title Sponsor of Pro Circuit

Tackle Warehouse Signs as Official Tackle Retailer of FLW, Becomes Title Sponsor of Pro Circuit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BENTON, Ky. – FLW (Fishing League Worldwide), the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, announced today that it has reached a sponsorship agreement with Tackle Warehouse, the sport’s leading online retailer that offers the guaranteed lowest prices on bass... READ MORE »

Oklahoma’s Carper Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event on Florida’s St. John’s River

Oklahoma’s Carper Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event on Florida’s St. John’s River

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: PALATKA, FLA. – The 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine continued competition Saturday at the St. John’s River in Palatka, Florida – the first time that the Gator Division presented by A.R.E. has opened their season on the St. John’s River – and featured... READ MORE »

Choo Choo Division Kicks off at Lake Guntersville

Choo Choo Division Kicks off at Lake Guntersville

According to pro Casey Martin, who once won a BFL on Guntersville with a whopping 40 pounds, 11 ounces, it’s not unreasonable to expect a mid- or upper 20s bag to win this time. READ MORE »

Florida Spawn: Key on Bottom Hardness

Florida Spawn: Key on Bottom Hardness

According to FLW Pro Circuit angler Tim Frederick, who’s lived in Florida since he was 4 years old, one of the most important factors for successfully locating both spawning and staging bass in the coming weeks is bottom hardness. In most situations, the harder the bottom the better, but there’s more to it than that. READ MORE »

FLW Series Championship Returns to Lake Cumberland in 2020

FLW Series Championship Returns to Lake Cumberland in 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BURNSIDE, Ky. – FLW (Fishing League Worldwide), in conjunction with the Somerset Tourist & Convention Commission and the Burnside Tourism Commission, announced today that the 2020 FLW Series Championship will be held at Lake Cumberland in Burnside and... READ MORE »

Record-Setting Field Opens Phoenix Bass Fishing League:

Record-Setting Field Opens Phoenix Bass Fishing League:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BROOKELAND, TEXAS (Jan. 6, 2020) – The 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine opened competition Saturday at the historic Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Brookeland, Texas, and featured a record-setting field size – 230 boaters and 230 co-anglers. The season... READ MORE »

Reese’s Lake Baccarac Adventure

Reese’s Lake Baccarac Adventure

With a home base of Clear Lake in California, FLW Pro Circuit pro Jimmy Reese is pretty used to phenomenal fishing. But, until Thanksgiving, he’d never sampled the bass fishing in Mexico. Now he has, thanks to a Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits trip to Lake Baccarac Lodge that turned into the trip of a lifetime and produced some truly outstanding fishing. READ MORE »