We just made a long washboard run upriver past Lead Hill. The choppy water is the kind of thing that should fire up Kevin VanDam. I'd bet the farm that he's slamming brown bass somewhere on a jerkbait. We've found Greg Vinson, the tournament leader after Day 2. He's fishing a small cove off the main lake. At the moment he is moving quickly tight to the shoreline and making parallel casts with a baitcasting rod. It appears that he is fishing some type of a twitch bait.
This nice spot makes five for James Niggemeyer. (Photo by marshal Brian Padgett)
Vinson is staying cool and collected, despite some of the little hindrances of the day, such as the debris and the occasional lost fish. He's likely hoping for a repeat of Day 2 when he caught his weight from noon to 2 p.m. Currently he's cherry picking around some points in the area. He's getting a lot of bites. Many of them just swiping at the bait. Others are short or no help. We are sure he's waiting for the witching hour to start at noon.
Greg Vinson had never led an Elite Series tournament until Day One at Bull Shoals. He saw his 1-pound margin slip to just 3 ounces on Day Two, but he’s still got the lead. Can he hold on?
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.
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.
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.