A week after the Elite Series TroKar Quest on Bull Shoals, Bassmaster Open anglers will hit Missouri's Table Rock Lake. Some of those anglers will be Elite pros, and even if they haven't fished Table Rock in years, they should at least start at second base when they hit the water.
Here's why: If you've been following the BassGold pre-tournament patterning previews, you'll know that one thing BassGold does is classify lakes by water type. In this case, Bull Shoals and Table Rock are both upland reservoirs that, despite the changing conditions these and other upland reservoirs are known for, fish very similarly.
So while the conditions won't be exactly the same, fishing Bull Shoals will be as close to practicing on Table Rock as you can get. But you don't have to take my word for it. Here's a little bit of what a BassGold "Pattern Report" shows for Table Rock this time of year – very similar to the pattern info for Bull Shoals.
In fact, if you're planning on fishing just about any similar upland reservoir in the same timeframe, this info should help. In other words, pattern info for a water type is often just as valuable – sometimes more so – as pattern info for a specific water body.
A third of first- through fifth-place patterns in this timeframe fished the shoreline, same as for Bull Shoals. But here's a big but: On Table Rock, more winners fished main lake pockets than shoreline. I never get tired of seeing those differences between first and second-fifth places.
Those two categories of "Macro Factors" (generally where on a lake fish are caught) and "Back of Coves" account for more than 50 percent of top finishes. The rest are distributed among various structure, some of which is post-spawn stuff.
All you bank-beaters, look for wood: laydowns, brush, whatever. Just like Bull Shoals, wood is key this time of year on Table Rock.
Once again there's a difference between the winners and high finishers: Other than wood, second-fifth finishers have done well on rock while winners have keyed on gravel.
Shoreline, pockets, coves, wood – you're thinking pitching and flipping for baits. Yes, BassGold does show that those baits do well this time of year on Table Rock, but there's a pretty large variety of successful bait types.
Ken Cook would look at the data as fast-moving vs. slow-moving baits, and say the winner goes to the slower-movers. (We see things differently and you will too – that's one of the beauties of BassGold: Everyone sees things a bit differently due to their fishing knowledge and experience. The key is having the info to begin with.)
Just like on Bull Shoals, winners use more jigs while second-fifth finishers use more soft-plastics of the "tube/grub/craw" category. And if you're wondering, Tommy Biffle – who's deadly with both – is fishing Table Rock next week.
The BassGold Pattern Report for April-May for Bull Shoals showed winning and placing (second-fifth) weights averaging around 15 to 17 pounds per day. Interestingly, historical weights at Table Rock have a wider range: mid-high teens to low 20s per day.
The higher weights are for early May. We'll see if Table Rock is that far ahead because of the warmer weather.
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