R&R with an eye on Bull Shoals

It’s not often that I get “vacation time” during the Elite Series season, but the schedule worked out well this year.

My boys are out of school for spring break this week, so we hooked up with some friends and their families for a week of sun and relaxation in Cancun, Mexico.

It’s been really nice to get away from the rest of the world while down here. No cell phones, computers or other business distractions that I normally deal with when I’m home.

It will be short-lived, however. When we fly home, I have one day at the house before I head south again on my way to the next Elite event — the TroKar Quest at Bull Shoals Lake, Ark.

Bull Shoals practice doesn’t start until April 16 but I have other obligations and appearances for Bass Pro Shops between now and then. In addition, I will be shooting a commercial and spending time at Table Rock, Mo., for a Toyota Tundra Media Event where I will be fishing, doing interviews and photos with press people.

Table Rock affords me a good opportunity to hone my skills for Bull Shoals. Table Rock is quite similar, and I suspect we’ll encounter similar patterns during the tournament as what I will see in Missouri.

I’m really looking forward to the next event. I think it is going to surprise some people with what we catch there.

Bull Shoals resembles some of the lakes we have in Michigan. The lake endured some high water over the past few years and that’s been good for the fishing. High water usually produces good spawns, so I suspect the lake is full of fish.

I haven’t been there since a Bassmaster tournament held in the late 1980s, but I am somewhat familiar with the lake. When I was teenager, my dad, brother, bass club members and I used to make trips there each April. We caught a lot of largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass, which we will see in the tournament as well.

I expect it to offer good fishing in all of the various spawning patterns and shallow water techniques should dominate. It’s a lake you can pattern which is the kind I like best.

Back in the day, we fished a lot of Kalin and Mann’s Stingray Grubs onjig heads, and you can bet I’ll be throwing a grub during the tournament. Strike King has a new Rage Tail Grub that I know will catch them if that pattern is in play.

Plastics likely will dominate the tournament, but I look for anglers to be spread through the entire lake, so finding good places to fish shouldn’t be a problem. Guys looking for clear water will find it at the dam while those who prefer stained water will seek it out up river.

Another good aspect is the lake is in a remote area, so it doesn’t get the fishing pressure that lakes do that lie closer to urban areas.

It’s a big lake, yet the 2 ½ days of practice should be sufficient to get dialed in. I’m pumped up!

Remember, it’s all about the attitude!

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