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FLW Tour Table Rock Lake

Posted by casey on April 3, 2012


 Check out my blog from the FLW tour event on Table Rock Lake


31.Mar.2012 by Casey Martin

The second stop of the FLW Tour Majors brought us to the great scenery of the Ozark Mountains in Branson, Mo.  I arrived in Branson Sunday evening after leaving the Lake Seminole Everstart Saturday morning.  The first thing that I noticed rolling into town was the damage to a number of buildings from the tornadoes that hit the area just a few weeks prior to our arrival.  I started practice early Monday morning with Craig Dowling from Nashville, Tenn. Since the water was up about four feet, and the temperature was in the mid 60s we focused mainly on flipping flooded bushes. Our afternoon hours were spent looking for bed fish. We didn’t have many bites, and I immediately knew this was going to be another tough tournament for a co-angler since most of the fish were relating to beds or heavy cover.

Day 2 of practice was more of the same but as the day wore on we noticed a big wave of fish moving shallow onto the beds. It appeared that this tournament was setting up to be a bed fishing deal, though the water was also dropping quickly, and beds that were in three to four feet of water were losing about six inches of depth or more per day.  From the back of the boat I didn’t really find a good way to catch them behind my pro. Having been to Table Rock a few times I knew that I could probably drag a shakey head, or something finesse out of the back of the boat to try and scrape up a keeper or two.

On day 1 of the tournament I drew Jackall pro Christian Romans from Kentucky, at the pre tournament meeting he mentioned we would be flipping bushes a long ways from the take off at the Table Rock State park.  We were boat 48, due in at 3:30, and had an hour long run each way which only allowed us about six hours of fishing time once we arrived to his area.  Christian had found a good number of quality fish in practice but during the tournament the bite was tough, Christian was flipping the outside of the bushes with a ¼-ounce weight. So I decided to fish a ½-ounce weight, and punch the middle of the bushes to try and do something a little different out of the back of the boat.  Although we both caught a number of short fish, Christian ended up not catching a keeper throughout the day. I felt for my pro because of all the hard work he put in preparing for the event.  I weighed in two keepers that only weighed in 3 pounds, 14 ounces but had me in check range in 63rd place.

Day 2 I drew Brandon Rummel from Knoxville, Tenn., who had struggled on day 1. Fortunately, we would have a longer day on day 2 since we were due in at 4:30.  Different from day 1, Brandon wasn’t flipping bushes, but was fishing steeper rock banks with a crankbait close to the Dam area.  Again we caught some short fish but the keeper bites were difficult to come by.  Brandon landed the first keeper of the day, a solid 4 pounder, on his Lucky Craft crankbait. I tried cranking behind him; as a co-angler cranking is one of the hardest things to do since you normally don’t have the right angle to get to the right depth to deflect off the rocks.  At around noon I had tried about everything to catch a keeper, and tied on a jerkbait.  I knew that the jerkbait bite on Table Rock was more of a cold water deal, but that bait is easy to work from the back of the boat. I decided to try and force feed it to them.  Although it was hot, and there was not much wind I was able to catch four good keepers before weigh-in. The fish were barely eating the bait, and all of them had only the back hook in their mouth.  I have to thank Brandon for his great net jobs as a couple of the fish came off in the net.  I weighed in my four fish for 11 pounds, 15 ounces and bumped me into 17th. That allowed me to qualify to fish day 3.  My travel partner Craig finished 17th on the pro side so we were paired up for day 3. I knew that he would be sight fishing, and it was going to be tough to catch anything behind him.

Day 3 started off slow, and I knew this was going to be a tough one out of the back of the boat.  Fishing with Craig from the back of the boat is tough anytime since he fishes real fast, and covers a lot of water.  Craig ran all new water looking for fish on beds. The trolling motor was either on 100% cruising down the bank or both Power-Poles were down working on a sight fish.   As the day began my goal was just to catch one keeper so I wouldn’t have to go up on stage at Wal-Mart without a fish.  I decided my best bet was to throw a Carolina rig when we were moving fast, and when we slowed down I would throw a shakey head.  Craig was able to catch four fish off of the beds and one just blind casting around. He lost the same fish two different times that was in the 4 pound range. First, the fish pulled off, and then it broke his line.  Having that fish would have helped him greatly. Craig weighed in 11 plus pounds, and moved up to 16th place. I was able to catch four keepers behind Craig on the shakey head that weighed in at 8 pounds, 9 ounces, and allowed me to move into the top 10 finishing the tournament in ninth place.

Looking back, it was again another mentally tough tournament.  Bites were few and far between, but luckily I was able to get a few decent bites and executed well.  I have no complaints since I got to fish beautiful Table Rock Lake, with three great FLW pros, for less than the cost of a guide trip. Thanks for reading, Casey. www.caseymartinfishing.com