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InsideLine – Hawk Talk – Table Rock Elite Series Event
Category : HAWK TALK
Table Rock Lake
Fishing the Ozark lakes reminds me of the Southern California lakes I grew up fishing, but on a much larger scale. They have excellent water clarity, varying depths, and are filled with rock. Table Rock Lake covers more than 43.000 surface acres and holds all three species—largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass.
I’ve fished Table Rock a few times before so I had an idea of what to expect coming into the tournament. I felt the majority of the fish would still be in the pre-spawn stage due to the prolonged winter much of the country has experienced this year, so I tied on a crankbait, jerkbait, jig, and swimbait to start practice. I decided before arriving I’d ignore the James River because I felt I couldn’t effectively cover the whole lake during official practice.
I explored Table Rock’s lower end fishing from Long Creek to Kimberling City the first practice day. Long Creek had warmer and dirtier water than the rest of the lower end and I caught several fish, including a few quality largemouth. However, it was getting a lot of pressure from other competitors and this concerned me. Long Creek isn’t huge and I didn’t feel it could hold up for four days. I left Long Creek around noon and worked my way up to the Kimberling City bridge, but only caught a few shorts in the clear, colder water.
On the second practice morning I fished the White River and caught several solid keepers on a shallow running square bill crankbait. The water in the White had a little color to it, which I liked. I felt confident I was around a lot of fish and that it had plenty of fishable water to last for four days, so it was an easy decision to go back and expand on what I’d found the final practice day. I was able to narrow down my best section to a six mile stretch on the final practice day that had all the pre-spawn bass holding ingredients I was looking for: pea gravel points, 45-degree rock bank, and standing timber.
Originally published over on the InsideLine online magazine