Elite pros get their feet wet at Bull Shoals

Even though he’s from Mayflower, Ark., Billy McCaghren doesn’t have a deep history on Bull Shoals Lake in northern Arkansas. That’s why on Monday, he crammed a full 12 hours into the first of three practice days for the April 19-22 TroKar Quest.

He reluctantly left the water at twilight, wishing he could have located more quality fish. Quantity was no problem. “This lake has a lot of good fish in it,” he said.

His practice time drove home a truth about this Bull Shoals competition.

“A kicker will be very important in this tournament,” he said. “If the weather’s right, everyone will limit, so you will have to have a little more each day to get ahead.”

A kicker could be a larger spawner taken off a bed. McCaghren said Bull Shoals bass are still in spawning mode.

The lake of about 45,500 surface acres has close to 1,000 miles of shoreline (at higher water levels) and cove upon cove. It will fish as big as it looks, McCaghren said.

“This tournament will not be a case of everyone bunched up in one area, not from what I saw out there today,” he said.

A Sunday night rain was followed by bluebird skies Monday. Temperatures were falling. The highs were in the 70s Monday, but forecast to drop in the latter part of the week to as low as in the 40s at night. McCaghren said the water temps, which he’s been tracking from afar because the water has been off limits to Elite Series pros, had been in the 70s a few weeks ago.

“Today I saw some water in the 50s,” he said.