UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Potomac River

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FLW Tour Recap: Table Rock Lake

FLW Tour Recap: Table Rock Lake
Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa., shows off his opening round catch on Lake Hartwell.

(Editor's note: Veteran bass pro Dave Lefebre has agreed to take time to share his insights into each FLW Tour event of the 2012 season. After every event, Lefebre will give his thoughts on tournament strategy, winning techniques and other behind-the-scenes stories/information that is compelling to our readers. The following blog represents his third installment of the season. Lefebre ultimately finished the Table Rock Lake event in 103rd place with a two-day total of 19 pounds, 1 ounce.)

Dropping from 11th to 57th in the FLW Tour Anger of the Year standings is never a good thing, but honestly, it could've been much worse. We just finished up the second FLW Tour Major of the season on Table Rock Lake and I managed my worst finish in a long time, 103rd. I only had four small fish on day one and almost missed my check in time because of a time miscalculation. I left myself 40 minutes to go 45 minutes, and without my new Mercury Optimax I could never have made it back with exactly 8 seconds to spare. In short, that thing is fast.

As it turned out, it was a small victory in an otherwise disturbing day and a boat ride I'm sure Doug (my partner) will never forget. I somehow broke off a 5-pound fish that ate a big jig in a bush that afternoon. My co-angler and good friend, Doug Caldwell and I thoroughly enjoyed watching that big fish jump twice with my jig in its mouth as I retied my line ... which is a sick feeling.

I made the mistake of putting all my eggs in one basket during the three-day practice period, something I don't normally do. I was heading up the White River on the first practice day and noticed a dirtier section of water around the Kings River area, so I turned around to check it out. My practice partner, Danny Jones and I quickly started catching some decent fish flipping shallow bushes in the muddy water. I really liked the mud and I felt that more fish would continually move up each day with the hot weather and rising water temps. I also liked the fact that I only saw three or four other boats throughout the entire three days of practice, a rarity in an event of this size. On the third day of practice I had well over 21 pounds without even setting the hook on several bites and Danny caught a 61/2-pounder too.

I was excited going into the event, but it simply didn't work out. I think the falling water affected the fish in the area - at least that's all I can figure. I carved a mark on a tree and the water dropped a total of 18 inches in there by the first tournament day.

On day two, I started a mile from the take-off in an old fishing hole and easily caught four keepers in an hour before making the long run back to Kings River, which was probably a mistake in hindsight. I broke off another fish on my first stop. Surprisingly, it bit again, but I lost it and got snagged in the bush. It was a 4-pounder and, unfortunately, the only big bite I would get the rest of the day. My co-angler, Will Jefferies, and I never caught so many fish in a tournament. At one point we were catching a fish on every single cast for an hour and a half and they were still biting when we left. Will even caught a double on a crankbait, which included his best fish of the day, a 3-pounder. I caught over 100 bass that day, mostly on a chartreuse/white Phenix Vibrating Jig and a Rapala DT-4 shad-colored crankbait.

Again, the umbrella rig did not win the event, but it was only because of the unseasonal heat and the fish moving up to spawn in a hurry. If the tournament had been just two weeks earlier, the weights would have been scary. Second place came solely on the rig, first place came as a result of flipping a jig to shallow dirty water. It was also strange to hear how many pros in the top 20 found success as a result of their co-anglers help. After catching a limit, one co-angler gave his pro the crankbait he was using, and his pro, who had nothing at noon, smashed them over the next hour and weighed well over 20 pounds. Another co-angler clued in his struggling pro on the umbrella rig by throwing out of the other side of the boat. After the pro switched, he too caught 20 pounds. Another co-angler saw someone pull up next to them and catch a fish on a Wiggle Wart. After he told his pro, who then dug out a Wart, he caught over 20 pounds in the next hour. Why does this kind of luck never happen to me? Co-anglers definitely have an influence in these tournaments on the pro side, but is it good or fair? You can be the judge. Regardless, I've never heard as many stories as I did after this particular event on the Rock.

Success at Table Rock centered mostly around shallow water, and/or spawning fish, with many of the best bags came out of Long Creek. I talked to several pros who did well with a shallow square-billed crankbait in a shad or chartreuse pattern. Some keyed on the bushes while others focused on gravel banks or points. I too found that points where definitely key - as they should be this time of the year. Many key big fish also were caught sight-fishing in the clearer water as well as Jason Christie admitted in a Reel Time Report to Robert Newell. The deeper patterns were working for some in practice, including David Fritts, who thought he could catch 25 pounds a day. But the 70-degree water and 80-degree days took care of most of that real quick. If you look at the standings you will see obvious evidence of that fact as many of the very best open water anglers struggled to get a check.

I love Table Rock and hope we go back next season. The fishing is so good and there is so much for the family to do in Branson. This year we camped at Waters Edge RV Resort in Kimberling City. Although we didn't stay in a cabin at Light House Lodge as we normally do, our great friend Roger (the owner) still invited us over for a barbeque one night. If you ever plan a trip to Table Rock, whether it's for a tournament or a family vacation, The Light House Lodge is in a perfect location on the lake. It has a nice relaxing atmosphere, not to mention friendly owners who will always go out of their way to accommodate you.

Our next FLW Tour Major is on a very scary lake as far as I'm concerned - one I wouldn't exactly pick to make a rebound on. Although I made the top 10 there last year, Beaver Lake has had my number many times in the past. Right now the water is high and I am hoping that it will stay up there for the next three weeks and throughout the course of the event. But if I had to guess, it will be another falling water tournament and most of the bass will be in the post-spawn phase. We'll just have to wait and see!

To read more about Dave's life on the road, check out On Tour With Dave and Anne, sponsored by Chevy. Throughout the 2012 FLW Tour season, Dave and his wife, Anne will be keeping a detailed blog of their experiences while traveling the country in their Chevy Trucks.

Tags: dave-lefebre  blog 

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