Man, that was quick! In a little over 100 hours starting last Friday afternoon, I’ve been to Table Rock, fished 2 half days, one full day, sat out storms one day, spent about $750 in meals, motels and fuel and driven back home to Mississippi. For those of you who haven’t heard, BASS was forced to cancel the Open scheduled for this week when authorities closed Table Rock Lake due to high water and unsafe conditions.
It doesn’t happen often with BASS. In fact, I can only think of a couple of times in the 15 seasons that I’ve fished with them, that this has happened. The first time was a few years ago when for Hurricane Ivan went through south Alabama while we were there and last year when high water on the Arkansas River forced them to move the last Elite event to Fort Gibson in Oklahoma.
At Table Rock, they tried everything that they could to hold this tournament, including moving the weigh-in site farther up the hill at the State Park, but once the lake officials close the waterway, there wasn’t much they could do. As is usually the case, they took everyone’s safety into account and the conditions were getting worse by the minute.
When I got to the lake Saturday morning, the lake was at about 918 feet elevation. As of today, it is at 935.12. That’s 17 feet up and according to what I’ve read on line, 2 feet higher than has ever been recorded on the lake. The lake rose about 3 feet the first day and between 5 and 6 feet each of the other days I was there. Since the docks in Table Rock are all floating, the owners were having to constantly adjust them. According to the motel we were at, they had to move theirs 7 times on Monday alone. I saw a couple of power poles for smaller docks that the water was almost to the top of, so conditions were pretty bad.
Needless to say, it made for some very interesting fishing conditions. I had located some bed fish on Saturday in about 4 feet of water. When I decided to go look at them again on Sunday, they were now in about 10 feet of water. I had gone to this event with sight fishing in mind and I was really looking forward to it. The rising water was forcing everyone to make constant adjustments, but the fishing was pretty good and a ton of 4 to 5 pounders were being caught. Had we been able to fish, it would have been a pretty major slugfest in spite of the conditions.
With it probably being rescheduled to the fall, this tournament will be a completely different event. I can’t be sure, but I think we’ll go from a power fishing tournament to a drop shot finesse type of event. That’s a shame because the weight will be good but they probably won’t showcase what a strong fishery that Table Rock really is. But then, it is what it is and whenever they schedule it for, I’ll be there, chasing the dream. That is of course; the good Lord willing and (pun intended) the creek don’t rise (again).
Thanks to the sponsors who make this all possible: Scoutlookweather.com, Lowrance Electronics, Phoenix Bass Boats, Mercury Motors, Motorguide Trolling Motors, Costa del Mar Sunglasses, Bass Angler Magazine and Mississippi Van Lines. Without all of you, none of this would be possible.