Tournament Lessons with Scott Rook

When you're fishing a clear lake on a cloudy day, the bass are going to move shallow, right?

Not necessarily, says Missouri's Scott Rook. There are occasions when they may move deeper, a fact he discovered during a Bassmaster Invitational on Table Rock Lake in April 2000.

Rook was catching fish on a finesse worm along bluff banks in 10 to 23 feet of water. He keyed on transition areas where bluffs changed to chunk rocks, and positioned his boat over 25 feet of water.

"The sun was shining and the wind was blowing against the bank all week," he described. "I had several areas that I could go to and catch fish with that pattern."

Clouds moved in on the third day, the wind stopped blowing and the lake became glassy-calm. The bass stopped biting.

"I was worried that I had caught just about all the fish living in those areas, but decided to try another spot," he recalled. "I stopped the boat a little sooner than normal and worked my bait all the way out, when I caught a fish from darn near under the boat. I looked at my depthfinder and I was sitting over 45 feet, not 25 feet. That kind of opened my eyes."

Rook said the fish had pulled away from the bank under cloudy conditions because there was no wind or shadows to break up the surface.

"I backed off a little and caught my biggest limit of the week in about 30 minutes," he said. "If I hadn't accidentally stopped short and made that cast from deeper water, I wouldn't have found the fish."

Rook finished fourth in the event, and when the circuit returned to Table Rock the next season, he finished third with the same pattern when conditions changed from sunny to cloudy.

"It was the same scenario," he described. "The fish did the opposite of what I thought they would do. That's why you have to stay on the ball — bass will fool you every time." 

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