Fishing & Boating News
When Bassmaster Elite Series pro Kevin Short won the 2011 Bass Pro Shops Central Open at Table Rock, he spent the early part of the tournament fishing deep with limited success. The Arkansas pro eventually dialed in a shallow-water pattern with a square bill crankbait to catch double-digit limits the final two days and finish with a winning weight of 33 pounds, 8 ounces.
Fellow Elite Series pro Brian Snowden expects the winning weight will be somewhat higher in this Open. “It is not going to be fantastic weight-wise,” Snowden said. “If you can average around 15 to 16 pounds, that will be close enough to win.” The Missouri pro predicts it will take 45 to 48 pounds to win on his home lake and an average of 13 pounds a day to make the Top 12 cut.
“It’s going to be a tough tournament, but there will be some good structure fish that can be caught on a drop shot, football jig and Carolina rig in 15 to 30 feet of water,” Snowden said. “There are still going to be quite a few fish out because the water hasn’t cooled down enough to bring them all shallow.”
Snowden predicts Short’s winning pattern of 2011 could be repeated this year. “The secondary pattern that usually comes on this time of year will be fishing shallow wood with a square bill crankbait or a jig,” he said. “The good thing about this time of the year is the lake can spread out the anglers and it will fish pretty diverse with shallow and deep stuff.”
Rain and high water levels kept Table Rock from developing a thermocline, so bass remained shallower than normal throughout the summer. “The high water just scattered the fish,” Snowden said. “Some were up shallow in the bushes, or some were 15 to 40 feet deep because there was no thermocline.”
An algal bloom also led to a fish kill on the lake this summer, but Snowden believes the majority of the casualties were rough fish. The algal bloom could actually be a blessing in disguise for the Open contenders who prefer to fish shallow. “Most of the time the algal bloom just makes bass stay or go shallower,” Snowden said.
The high lake level also created a consistent stained water color throughout Table Rock, which should produce good fishing all over the lake. “You can definitely catch a big fish in a lot of different areas right now,” Snowden said.
The major tributary arms, such as the James and Kings rivers and Long Creek, should be hot spots for the shallow patterns during the Open, according to Snowden. He suggests the best structure fishing will be from Campbell Point to the dam area.
Table Rock contains strong populations of largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass, so Snowden predicts it will take a mixture of each bass to win this event. “I think the winner is going to catch mainly largemouth, but he is going to have a few filler fish of either smallmouth or spotted bass,” Snowden said.
Anglers will take off each day at 7 a.m. CT at Table Rock State Park. Weigh-ins will be held at 3 p.m. CT at the State Park Marina the first two days, with the final weigh-in on Saturday held at the Bass Pro Shops in Branson, Mo., at 4 p.m.
2015 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Title Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
2015 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Presenting Sponsor: Allstate
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