The James A. Gaston Visitor Center of the Bull Shoals-White River State Park has a mount of the
Arkansas state record smallmouth bass on display. It weighed 7 pounds, 5 ounces and came out of Bull Shoals. Now that would be a fish to get an Elite pro in tomorrow's Top 12.
Evers has a 2.4-pound smallmouth. (Photo by Mark Woods)
The Bull Shoals Dam is 2,256 feet long. You can drive over it. High concrete railings keep you safely on the road, but the rail is open enough to sneak peaks of both the tailwaters and the lake. Height of the dam above the streambed is 256 feet. The Ozark Mountains tower over everything.
Find out more at the James A. Gaston Visitor Center of the Bull Shoals-White River State Park. Near the dam, the center is a must-see. Besides the bird’s-eye view from the big deck, the center offers a wealth of information about the area and its wildlife. Cool gift shop, too.
We went on a run to find Ish Monroe but came up empty.
Back on Vinson, we pulled up just as he caught his fifth keeper. The limit is nice, but they are all spotted bass and won't weigh much.
He said he's seeing a lot of buck bass on the bank but no females to speak of. He found one on the bed but didn't want to waste the time to catch the buck, followed by the barely keeper female.
The fish, though, are on the move. They could be loading up on his primary spot at the moment. It's our guess we will be headed that way soon.
You have to admit that Bull Shoals seems an unlikely name. For starters, the lake is deep, not shallow. And the “bull”?
Ask around, and you’ll hear at least two theories about the origin of the name: 1) Before the dam was built in 1951, the White River at that location was shallow, fast and loud, especially after a hard rain. When the water rushed over the rocky river bed, the sound was deafening, like a herd of bulls roaring. 2) The river current was so strong and fast, only a bull had the muscle to ford it.
We ran to another creek and found Britt Myers. We've been looking for him all morning. He's making long casts to a chunk-rock point at the mouth of a short pocket.
B.A.S.S. photographer James Overstreet is already here snapping pictures of Myers. He tells me Myers has five.
We're still tooling about in Mountain Creek when we spot Gerald "G-Man" Swindle fishing a wind-blown shallow point. Yesterday he was fishing in a different area on a sheet of glass.
He told me after weighing in yesterday that he caught his bass the first day cranking rocky banks in the wind. Swindle is known for fishing fast and loose and switching gears on the fly.
That worked for him the first two days, but I get the sense that he's struggling today.
Scroggins appears out of nowhere and idles right up to Swindle's boat. They are surely talking strategy. It could be that Scroggins, who caught an early limit, is checking on the G-Man to make sure he is catching them. They are good friends.
After talking for a few minutes out of our earshot, Scroggins idles away, jumps his boat on plane and flies out of the creek. Swindle heads the same way a few minutes later.
It pays to have friends in low places when fishing an Elite Series tournament.
Britt Myers moved to the other side of this cut and promptly caught his fifth keeper. It weighed 1 1/2 pounds, which gives him 11 pounds for the day, which ain't bad for 10:30 a.m.