Tricks of the trade at Table Rock

I'm at Table Rock Lake now, and it's another brand-new lake for me, but I have read a lot about it over the years and watched several TV shows filmed here. From my research it appears that the lake is similar in a lot of ways to Tim’s Ford — my home lake in Tennessee. There’s a good chance that the techniques I have grown up using will come into play.

One technique I would love to come into play is a Trick Worm. I caught 90 percent of my fish on Lake Seminole with it. I fished it around docks, wood, grass, anywhere fish were set up to spawn. The Zoom Trick Worm skips really well, which helps out when fishing docks or overhanging trees. I actually use it a lot throughout the year, but one of the most effective and exciting times is during the spawn. Starting when the water temperature hits around 60 degrees and bass start showing up in their spawning grounds, a bright-colored Trick Worm fished weightless on top or just below the surface can be a great technique.

I've caught fish on floating worms everywhere I've ever thrown them, so it's not a regional technique; it works everywhere. In highland lakes like Table Rock, I'll look for spawning pockets with bushes, laydowns and docks. I can put the worm in hard to reach places. The key to fishing floating worms anywhere is making long casts and getting the bait a long way away from the boat. If the fish see you before you see them they will rarely bite, so make as long a cast as possible.

My all-time favorite color is merthiolate. In my opinion, the reason this color works so well around the spawn is simply because the fish don't know what it is so they eat it out of instinct. I have caught fish on solid white, solid yellow and black/grape Trick Worms also, but always find myself coming back to merthiolate.

With the right rod and some practice, you can put a weightless soft plastic worm just about anywhere a bass lives.I throw the Trick Worm on a spinning rod I built myself this winter using materials from Mud Hole Custom Tackle. It is a MHX-HM-DS822 spinning rod with 15-pound Vicious braid tied to a 6 foot leader of 15-pound Vicious monofilament. Braid allows for long casts and sure hook sets. The DS822 is a 6-foot, 10-inch blank and is perfect for almost all spinning applications that I encounter. It's lightweight and balanced and has plenty of backbone to handle big ones. I caught several five pounders on this setup at Seminole.

The water temperature may require crankbaits, jigs or jerkbaits this week, so I may or may not get to do some Trick Worming, but you can bet if I start seeing the right conditions I won’t hesitate one minute to break it out. I would feel right at home!