Bull Shoals: Brown trout and bass

Last week was busy. I had to finish some things up in Columbus, Ohio, and then make the 13-hour drive to Bull Shoals. It’s right down here. Every animal on the planet is moving around, the water is clear and there’s a good bite on. The bite’s not just the bass either.

When I arrived, I went trout fishing for a little while before official practice. Now, I’m no trout fisherman but you can catch a few with ultra-light tackle, a bobber and a small lure with lots of flash. While I was fishing I ran into some guys who chase trout with flies and tiny bobbers; actually, they call their bobbers “strike indicators.”

After a little talk at their campsite and a cold one, they let me mess around with their tackle. I can’t believe how light it is. I don’t know for sure but I’m guessing that the rod, reel and line didn’t weigh more than a few ounces and the rod felt like a small willow branch. All you had to do was move your wrist around a little bit, and the thing whipped and arched every which way.

The next day I watched them fish. It’s like poetry in motion, and they caught a lot of fish. The whole experience made me think about how diverse fishing can be if you allow yourself to think outside the box. I love to fish tournaments for bass but there’s a lot of other species out there that are fun to catch. After watching the trout guys, I can see how a fellow could get into that.

Oh, did I mention that I caught a 4-pound brown trout? I think that’s a good one even for anglers who are serious about catching them. Arkansas holds the world record at 40 pounds, 4 ounces.  I know that’s 10 times bigger than mine but I’ll take the one I caught and be proud of it.

I’m not here to catch trout, though. I’m looking for bass. There are several up near the banks but I’m thinking there’s a possibility that this could turn into a bed fishing event. I know there hasn’t been a lot written about that but I’m seeing a few around the lake. That means that the top bed anglers on the tour have found even more, or at least I have to believe that.

As you know, my style leans more towards finding prespawn fish. That might be going my way. I’ve been able to find some productive stained water. And they’re predicting storms and rain for later this week. That should muddy things up even more. That’ll be just fine as far as I’m concerned.

This is an important event for me. I’ve managed to get off to my best start in years. I need to keep that going. If I can, I’ll be able to qualify for my second Bassmaster Classic. That would be a thrill.

I want to close by sending our (Tracey’s and my) condolences, thoughts and prayers to everyone hurt up in Boston by whoever planted those bombs. It’s tragic beyond words.

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