KIMBERLING CITY, Mo. --- The water still is high at Table Rock Lake, following a record high level and more than 13 inches of rain in late April.
But clarity is good, water is falling, and the bass are biting, as evidenced during Day One of the B.A.S.S. Federation National Central Divisional presented by Yamaha and Skeeter. With 96 anglers from eight states competing, more than a third checked in with limits, with plenty of 4- and 5-pounders in the mix.
Of course, with two days to go, no one was revealing tactics and patterns. “On the bottom,” said Oklahoma’s Glenn Cunningham, when asked how he caught his 8-14 limit.
Oklahoma tops the team competition with 102-12 at this tournament where Kansas is the host, although the fishery is in Missouri. Arkansas is a close second with 98 pounds, followed by Nebraska with 90, Kansas with 85-11, and Texas with 81-13. Missouri, Mississippi, and Louisiana round out the standings.
Arkansas President Jim Alexander said that his team is working well together, but shared little else. “Some patterns are working for us, and some aren’t,” he said.
“Some are shallow and some are deep. Guys are going with their strengths.”
With advancement to the National Championship at stake for the top finisher from each state, Nebraska’s Paul Klausen, a non-boater, leads the way with 20-3. Oklahoma’s Jared Miller is second with 16-2, while Louisiana’s Jason Pecoraro has 15-12, Texas’ Tom Jessop 13-12, and Mississippi’s Destre Dedeaux has 13-5.
Jessop took individual honors for Texas in the 2010 Central Divisional, also at Table Rock, while Dale Hightower won for Oklahoma. Hightower is in seventh overall this time around and 3 pounds, 8 ounces behind teammate Miller.
Overall, 96 anglers brought in 312 bass that weighed 681-2 on a day that was blindingly bright, a little windy, and seemed more like last August instead of early June. Oklahoma’s Shawn Clark caught a 6-7 largemouth for Day One’s big bass honors.
Competitors took a mixture of largemouth and smallmouth bass, with just a few spots. A local guide speculated that largemouths might still be in the flooded trees and brush, where they can be caught with spinnerbaits and jigs, while smallmouths almost certainly have joined the spots offshore, as water has begun to rapidly heat up during the past week.
“The water still is not as clear as it normally is, and a little color in the water makes the fishing easier,” he added.
Headquarters, weigh-in, and takeoff for the Central Divisional all are at the Kimberling Inn Resort and Conference Center on Highway 13. Takeoff is at 6 a.m. and the weigh-in at 2 p.m.