Lakecaster Online

Tournament Pathfinder
by John Presley

The final Bassmaster Central Invitational was held on Table Rock Lake in Kimberling City , Missouri April 19-21. I stayed at the Harper's Valley Resort in Kimberling City. It is located right on the lake with boat slips available. The owners are Basil and Nancy Ellis who are great hosts and really cater to the their guests. They even had a chili cookout one night for all the fishermen staying there. I highly recommend you check this place out if your going to Table Rock to fish or planning to visit Branson Missouri for a weekend or vacation. They really have some great rooms and the price is right. If your planning a trip to Table Rock give them a call at 1-800-688-2193 or visit their website at and they will make your stay a pleasant one. I got to the lake late Saturday night and around 2:00AM a tornado hit the Kimberling Inn Marina totally destroying it and other business in the surrounding area .The first day of practice the weather was clear and the temperatures were warm. The first thing I noticed is that the fish were on the nest every where I looked. I used two days of practice just looking for bedding fish and found a bunch of them. They were really spooky during practice and some just were not interested in the bait. The water was so clear you could see them on the nest in 20 ft of water. On my practice days and during the tournament I used two baits to catch my fish. I used a 4 inch Hibdon SuperTube made by Gambler Lures on the shallow bedding fish. The other way I caught the fish on the deeper nest and also staging fish was a Mo Joe Rig with 10 pound line. The bait I was using was a Swacky Worm in green pumpkin and watermelon red. I was taking the Swacky worm and cutting it down to the size of a small finesse worm. The Swacky Worm is a worm that was designed by local pro Carl Svebek of Sam Rayburn .The worm is made by Gambler Lures in Florida. If you have not tried the Swacky worm yet you need to, it catches a lot of fish. It's available at Ann's Tackle Shop in Jasper or visit Gambler's website at The first day of the tournament started with cold temperatures in the 30's during take off and gusty 25 to30 mph winds . I was in the last flight only 6 boats from the end on the first day. Since I was in the last flight I decided most of the shallow pockets were the fish were bedding would be taken . So I went to my main lake and secondary points where I could see the deeper fish during practice. But because of the wind you could not see them. I caught a limit by 12:30 and by 2:00 so did my partner. I caught all my fish the first day on a Mo Joe Rig in 8 ft to 20 ft of water on the Swacky worm. After the first day I was in 74th place with five fish that weighed 10-07. The first day leaders were Cody Bird of TX with 5 fish 16 -10 , second place was Keith Green of AR with 5 fish 16-08 , and third was Bill Beck of MO with 5 fish 15-11. On the second day I got to use my boat again and went back to my point but had two more tournament boats there. That morning my partner put three keepers in the boat before I had one. But I had four in the boat at 1:00 and he had four. We had to weigh-in at 2:30 and on my last cast after I pulled the trolling motor up I caught my fifth keeper and rushed to weigh-in. My limit the second day weighed 10-04 giving me a two day total of 20 -11, moving me up to 56th place, one pound out of the money. The leader after the second day was Keith Green of AR with 10 fish that weighed 30- 02, second place was Scott Rook of AR with 10 fish 29-04 , and in third was Cody Bird of TX with 10 fish 28-11. On the third day I thought it was going to be a bad day my partner told me his fish were 40 miles from mine. But luckly that morning he told me to just go to my fish and do what I needed to do. He really turned out to be a great partner. The first spot I started on, I had a lot of boat pressure and it was hit hard but that morning I caught one keeper Kentucky on a Mo Joe rig and largemouth off a shallow nest on a Gambler 4 inch Hibdon SuperTube. I moved to another spot and caught a keeper smallmouth and a keeper Kentucky. Then I moved back to my first spot and caught my fifth keeper with 1 1/2 hours left to fish. We then went to another area and my partner caught three big Kentucky's and I culled two fish . On the third day my limit weighed 11-02 giving me a three day total of 15 fish that weighed 31-13 and good enough to move me up to the money and finish in 41st place and bring home $1500. The winner of the Missouri Invitational was Jay Yelas of TX who moved up from sixth place on the second day to win. Jay had a three day total catch of 15 fish that weighed 43-13, good for $51,000. Second place went to Cody Bird of TX with 15 fish that weighed 43-07, good for $32,000.Third place went to Scott Rook of AR with 15 fish that weighed 42-05, good for $30,000 and fourth was Keith Green of AR with 15 fish that weighed 42-03. good for $9,000. The tournament was won on site fishing for bedding fish .Several of the top finishers were site fishing or rigging points to catch their fish. I really enjoy fishing Table Rock Lake and is a great fishery. I hope to come back soon and fish it again. Next month I will talk to you about the Bassmaster's Classic, who made it and also tell you about the great city of New Orleans.

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. Or e-mail me at JOHN@SAMRAYBURNFISHING.COM. of check out my website at SAMRAYBURNFISHING.COM.

Good Luck and Good Fishing.

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