Boning up at Table Rock

I’ve spent some enjoyable days on Table Rock Lake the past week prior to heading to Bull Shoals for our next Bassmaster Elite event.

I arrived at Big Cedar Lodge earlier in the week to shoot commercials and photos for Plano tackleboxes, one of my sponsors.

On Thursday and Friday, Quantum and Toyota Trucks, two other of my sponsors, are conducting a media event on the same water. I’ll be developing stories and photos with writers and photographers as well as getting a chance to use new tackle Quantum will introduce later this year. The pro staff has been working hard to develop new models and features, especially for the popular EXO series.

Although we’ll be working during the media event, there is usually more time for fishing.

Bull Shoals is the next lake down from Table Rock, so I’m learning a lot about what to expect from the lake below us. Bull Shoals is off-limits until Monday, but any of the outlying lakes are available to anglers.

Table Rock is similar in structure so it’s good to get a feel for the kind of fishing I’ll experience next week. The water conditions and weather could be different, but I think many of the patterns that work here will work down there.

Right now, you can go along any bank and drag a shaky head worm, drop shot rig or a spider jig and catch fish at Table Rock. All of the Big Cedar guests fishing the lake are abuzz about all the fish they’re catching. It’s been really a fun week.

April is an excellent time to fish Table Rock. I love coming here; the scenery is beautiful and the people are so nice.

The weather has been unseasonably warm here following a high-water period. It’s also in the midst of an algae bloom that has made the water off-color. Although fish are spawning, you can’t see them and that adds to the intrigue. Table Rock is normally clear this time of year, but I’ve never seen it as dirty as it is now in all of the 20 years I’ve been fishing the lake.

Nearly all of the bass are shallow – 10 feet or less. What’s cool is you can pull into an area and catch largemouth, spotted bass and smallmouth from the same spot.

I spent some time fishing with fellow pro Chad Morgenthaler during the work with Plano. It was great to get caught up on family matters and talk hunting and fishing with Chad, one of the many good guys in the pro ranks.

I also got to work with good friends Gerald Swindle, Gary Klein and Casey Ashley at the Quantum/Toyota media event. There will be more fishing at this one, so I hope to find some intricacies in some of the patterns that will work at Bull Shoals.

Of course, I have to keep an open mind next week, but this beats going into the event totally blind.

This much I can tell you – if Bull Shoals is anything like Table Rock, next week will be a whack-fest in terms of sheer numbers of fish caught.

I’m looking forward to it!

Remember, it’s all about the attitude.

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