One thing to remember as we get this event started. Bull Shoals is a huge lake from a fishing standpoint. It's about 45,000 acres which doesn't sound overly large, but it has more than 700 miles of shoreline.
The lake stretches from Bull Shoals, Arkansas well into Missouri, and unlike many of the lakes we fish, much of it is pretty isolated. You won't see a bunch of docks or swimming areas once you leave the lower lake. This is in heart of the Ozarks, so a lot of the lake is narrow with long and short creek arms shooting out in every direction.
Last year the anglers spent a lot of their time fishing on the mid- to lower-end of the lake. The fishing was good all over the lake, but you didn't have to go far to catch them. It's not much different this time either. But many of these anglers are spreading their wings and heading further north and west into Missouri. Matt Herren did that last year and finished third, while never seeing any other boats.
Elite anglers like isolation, so more and more of them will seek that out.
The problem that causes for our group of inky scribes is it makes it harder to get eyes on anglers. And with the isolation of the Ozarks comes tougher cell service. You hear the cell companies say they have 96- to 99-percent of the country covered. That 1- and 4-percent uncovered area falls right into the valleys of the Ozarks.
Every venue seems to have its own challenges. That's the one we are dealt this week, unfortunately an all-to common hand.