2012 Elite Series TroKar Quest Bull Shoals Lake - Bull Shoals, AR, Apr 19 - 22, 2012

Finding the big bite

On solid pattern lake, timing is key and shad are a must

James Overstreet
Jonathon VanDam, made the cut with 27-4.

About the author

Ryan Watkins

Ryan Watkins won the Carhartt College Series national championship at Stephen F. Austin.

BULL SHOALS, Ark.  – Go large or go home. Getting the bigger fish to bite has been the tale of the TroKar Quest on Bull Shoals Lake. Getting them to chew has depended on a combination of timing and shad -filled banks.

“You can fish a bank here and there, get a few bites, then fish the same bank an hour later and it can be every cast,” said David Walker, who stands 16th with 31 pounds, 13 ounces.

The primary pattern for those in the top 50 cut has been crankbaits that target fish larger than the lake’s numerous 2-3 pounders. To some extent, patterns prevail at every fishery, but the Elites are saying this is one of the best pattern lakes they have fished.

“Everything looks the same; it’s the same depth, and the same cover,” Walker said, “so running a pattern is real simple to do here once you find what you’re looking for.”

Walker also added that finding areas with active baitfish is critical. “The banks with the shad on them are the key,” he said.

Jonathon VanDam, who made the cut with 27-4 to stand 48th, concurs. JVD would be 29th if not for a 2-pound penalty after he made a cast without culling. He said he figured out where to fish.

“There’s a shad spawn going on in my area, so as those shad become more active, they cause little feeding flurries,” VanDam said.  “You’ll have a little bit of a dead time, then you’ll run into a frenzy and catch them fast. Primarily most of the activity is early the in the morning, so I’m covering a lot of water first thing.” 

advertisement

advertisement