Lakecaster Online

Tournament Pathfinder
by John Presley

On April 6, 7, and 8 the third Bassmaster Central Invitational tournament was held on Table Rock Lake . With nearly 800 miles of shoreline, Table Rock is located in the beautiful Ozark mountain terrain that truly embraces the lake. The lake features varied water depths, rock bluffs and a lot of wooded shorelines with brush and cedar trees .The water is also really blue and clear so lighter line in the 6 to 10 pound test is used most of the time. The lake is predominantly managed for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass. The legal size limit is 15-inches on all bass. The tournament was held out of Kimberling City located only a few miles from America's live music capital, Branson, Missouri. When I arrived on Saturday the first thing that I noticed was that the lake level was really low, the lowest that I had ever seen it. I stayed at Harpers' Valley Resort located only a few minutes from take off by water. The owners Basil & Nancy Ellis told me that the lake was about 13 ft low compared to last year when we fished and thought it was the lowest level it ever has been since impounded in the late 50's. Harpers' Valley is a neat little resort with cabins on the water and boat slips also available they really now how to make fisherman feel right at home. One night they came down to our cabins and told us they were cooking hamburgers and sausages for us the next day after practice . They put on a great dinner for those of us staying their and told us how much they appreciated our business. I have stayed there for the past 4 or 5 times. It sure is nice when you are away from home and get treated so good and by really good people. Some of the places we stay that's not the case so I would like to thank Basil and Nancy Ellis our host for a great stay .If you ever go to Table Rock Lake or Branson ,Missouri stop by and stay a night or more at Harpers' Valley Resort they can be reached at 1-800-688-2193 or 1-417-739-2789 give them a call and I promise they will make your stay a enjoyable one. During the official practice days the weather was nice until the last day we had 40 mph with gust to 50 mph it made for some tough fishing . My practice was tough I only had one good day that I felt I could have had a limit. It was a lot different from the past few years on the lake. I tried baits that worked well in the past but did not this time .The water temp was in the low 50's during practice and rose into the low 60's by the last day of the tournament. The air temperature would get into the low 30's at night to 50's and a couple of 65 to 70 days during the tournament. The fishing was very tough during the tournament with a lot of small fish being caught it was hard to find a 15 inch fish. I only caught a couple of keepers the whole tournament. The winner of the tournament was Jim Dopp a local from Kimberling City, Missouri who had a total of 15 fish weighing 39-05 good for $16,000 and a $26,000 Ranger Boat and Mercury motor. Finishing in second place was Mike McClelland of Springdale Arkansas with 15 fish weighing 37-15 good for $2,000 cash and a $25,000 Ranger Boat with a Mercury motor. Third place was Stacy King from nearby Reeds Spring, Missouri with 15 fish weighing 35-02 good for a $25,000 Ranger Boat and Mercury motor. Fourth place was Scott Rook of Little Rock , Arkansas with 15 fish that weighed 33-06 good for $9,000 and fifth place went to Ted Pate of Alexandria, Louisiana with 15 fish weighing 31-13 and good for $7,000. Congratulations to David Wharton of Sam Rayburn who finished in 25th place with 23-04 good for $1,900 and Tommy Dickerson of Orange who finished in 48th place with 20-3 good for $1,400.The next and final tournament for the BASS Central Invitational trail will be May 18,19,and 20 on the Red River in Shreveport Louisiana.

The fishing on big Sam has been really good in the past few weeks while on my guide trips we got into some big hybrid bass schooling. One day we boated and released over 40 from 3 to 10 pounds.

By the way , when I am not fishing tournaments I am a full-time fishing guide on Lake Sam Rayburn. If you would like to book a trip please call me at 409-698-9713 or Ann's Tackle Shop at 409-384-7685.
Good Luck and Good Fishing.

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