Table Rock Lake

Living the dream! oh, and a Table Rock Lake fishing report

Posted by Phil Lilley on May 30th, 2013
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About us, getting ready to retire here in about 8 years I hope, Wife and I looked at my 201K (it used to be a 401K) and the dollars them smarty pants sharks on Wall Street were earning us probably weren’t matching the housing appreciation on the Rock so we invested in a little piece of MO. as our gamble on the nest egg, safer bet in our opinion. So I joined this forum to try and get some insight into fishing this absolutely beautiful body of water. And you guys are just the best at helping us once or twice a month guys get some fish and I can not thank you enough for the information you share.

Submitted by 2 in a boat. OAF Forum

We closed on the house first week of Feb. and the few times we’ve made it down, well, snow the end of April, really! So up until this weekend I got about 1 hour on the lake due to weather and a longer than usual honey-do list. And other than some trees (ok a LOT) and the trolling motor prop twice, caught one smallie. Finally this week I got some time on the lake.

And I know you guys that live full time on this lake know this but maybe need to be reminded now and then, back in a cove as that sun’s just starting to cast some light, water like glass, a fox and some deer coming down for that last drink before bed, those rock bluffs and oaks and sycamores towering overhead, it is absolutely so amazing I can not even put it into words, and I’m a talker. lol Well, it’s why we drive hours to go there for only hours on the water. The Rock in my opinion is the Garden of Eden in SW MO., if what we experienced this weekend doesn’t move a person then they are just a godless creature with no soul. Which is just my opinion, that and a dollar will buy you a cup of coffee.

By the time I got a bunch of crapola done Saturday it was about 6:30 PM when we pulled away from the dock. My future son in law and I headed across the lake to the Mill Creek area. It was a little breezy but soon we settled down on a west facing bank where the sun was still hitting it and started to fish. I set him up with an ultra lite Shakespeare pole with an ultra light shamano spinning real, I fished the same rig except for a Browning ultra light pole. 4 lb. fluoro, 1/8 oz. bullet shaped jig head, not a big hook, don’t know the size and a purple or smoke/glitter swimming minnow from Mark’s shop. Cast up shallow, slow erratic retrieve (twitch), bump and bounce it off the bottom every few feet, all the way out to about 30 fow. And guys, we smoked them. In a couple hours we had about 30-35 fish, 5 keepers, smalls, spots, and LMs. The LM/s were up shallow, bank to 15-20 fow, smallies & spots out about 15-30 fow. And on that ultra light a 17″ SM is what it’s all about in my opinion. If my rod is bent double and that drag is singing I’m grinning. We caught almost all of them where the bank transitioned from big or chunk rock to gravel. The smallies and spots seemed to like the gravel to larger rock transitions and the LMs were more on the gravel to chunk/large gravel spots. And timber improved the size and number when it was just off the bank out to 30-40 fow.

Sunday morning we headed right back to the same spot. Same rigs, same bait, same tactics. A couple taps in 30 minutes and that was it. So we switched over to the sunny side of Mill creek, and it was back on. Fished for 3 more hours, 35-40 fish, only 3 keepers all LMs, same pattern as the night before. Another thing I noticed was that the LMs were further back in the coves, the SMs and spots started picking up about mid way back from the main lake. I surmised it was because the smallies/spot’s diets consist more of shad and the LMs will eat anything that moves. We did see a lot of the fish, especially the smallies, tossing gizzard(?) shad as we brought them to the boat. Never seen bass up chuck their breakfast like that.

Monday morning, that cove I mentioned, up by point 8, just wow on the scenery!!! Same rigs, same bait, same everything, slower bite but the fish were better. Fished the west side all the way out to the island. Same set up, chunk or big rock to gravel/pea gravel was where they were at, but about 5′ deeper on Monday. First of a life time for me, a Rock Bass, (I’ve heard you guys call it goggleyes like the eye protection or googleyes like the internet search engine so I don’t know what to say so I’ll just call them a Rock bass lol). That’s a big what the heck is this bass! If I tried to explain it to someone out here in Kansas I don’t know where I’d start. “It’s like a LM but with a REALLY big head and a mouth like a small mouth, and speckled like a crappie, it’s an odd darn fish”. lol They were suspended on a rock drop cut, in about 30 fow. Caught 4 or 5 real quick like. Man what a fighter, pound for pound maybe a better fight than a smallie.

Monday evening about 7:30PM I took my 2 youngest daughters out (before you ask, I have 4 children, all daughters, and I know right lol). We headed over to Mill creek since the bite had been so good there in the evenings. Fished for about 30 minutes (3 smallies about 14.5″-14.875″) and I paid the price for ripping so many lips this weekend, jig hook right through the left ear lobe. The girls thought it was funny teasing me that I could get my ear pierced at the mall with an actual tool made just for that. Anyway, headed back to the dock to see if the neighbor could push it through, barb as already in and deep. He couldn’t so we headed over to Branson to the ER to get it pulled out.

Tuesday morning the other half of “2 in a boat” finally got to come out and do some fishing since the oldest with their others and the grand daughter headed home Monday. Back over by point 8 for the morning bite. Overcast, stormy looking, slower bite but even better fish. We only fished for about 45 minutes until the wife heard thunder and that was it, close the tackle box pull up the anchor mamma’s headed to the house. Same rigs, same bait, same tactics. Caught 12-15 fish, 8 keepers including a nice LM pushing 3.5 lbs. Again, on ultra light and 4 lb. fluoro, ya the sport of fishing.

So again I want to thank all you guys for your info, with out it I would have probably been skunked. I grew up on a ranch in the flint hills of Kansas and we have some absolute dynamite watershed fishing out there. But fishing a big farm pond and the Rock ain’t exactly the same, or maybe it is. I fished the Rock like a whole butt-load of ponds tied together by a big water interstate behind the dams. And you know what, it’s pretty close to that. I can honestly say I have never had a better 4 days of fishing in my life, I have had as good as on the farm ponds, but not better.

But all the fish aside, I spent some time with my future son in law, getting to have “the talk” with him as the girls call it, he’s a great guy and I’ll be proud to call him family. I spent time with my daughters on the lake, we fished, we laughed, they laughed at the hook in my ear and posted it on face space or what ever it is. We had family meals all around one table, with out the TV on, with out them on their darn cell phones, we talked, and laughed, and loved. My 3 year old granddaughter gave me a squeeze around the neck and whispered in my ear “I love you Papa and I love the lake”. The fish you put in the boat will go back in the drink in a minute, the fillets in the freezer will only last until the next fish fry, the memories we made this weekend I hope they talk about long after I’m gone.

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