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Bill Babler

OA Contributing Reporter
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  1. Like
    Bill Babler got a reaction from Daryk Campbell Sr for a article, Table Rock Lake Current Fishing Report 1-10-20   
    Dam-Long Creek area with Mike
    Hit the water out of Old 86 yesterday morning at 7:30 in the Geico Ranger with a really stiff South wind and some pretty good swells. Water was clear and 48 degree.   Plan for this morning was to crank and throw the stick bait on windy banks and then take a breather and do a little vertical stuff if we could find them.  Always good to see and fish with Mike.  The guy is always in a great mood and really reminds me of Beck which was also one of his best friends.  He loves to fish and simply loves what he does.  He is pretty good at it.😎

    Started on a transition bank  with a lot of wind and some big surf pounding it.  I was on the sticker and Mike started with the RK.  I hardly had my butt in the seat when he said, " There she is."  Really nice 2.5 lb. LM.  Wind was really blowing down the bank, kind of had the boat sideways with me on the back and Mike on the front.  He was fishing a bit deeper with the bow in 18 to 20 feet and me in about 1/2 that and still  almost full cast from the bank.
    About 3 cast later and he was winding it pretty good and also pulling it he caught a nice Jaw.  Again probably 2.5 or so.  Here is a tip, don't be afraid to throw that Spro Rock Crawler deeper than you think.  Mike was throwing it on 10 lb. Carbon and he was ticking the bottom at 12' .  We fished a 300 yard stretch of the transition until it flattened out and he caught 4 all keeps with the good one pictured above.  I wasn't really warmed up good yet so that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

     
    Wind was blowing a gale and he had a phone call to take so we pulled into a creek to check for some deep ones.  They were there but fussy as all get out.  While he was on the phone I caught a good keeper K swimming the Keitech Deep-Deep at 50 feet plus.  As soon as he was done he put 2 more keepers in the boat  also on a swim bait deep.  I think I'm down 6 to 1 but who's counting.

     
     
    Saw some Loon's working in another creek and went in.  Here is where I was totally blown away.  Mike is a Garmin guy and we watched the Garmin Panoptix Livescope all day.  He kept saying Bill, Bill get up here and look at this.  At a spot in the creek he said," Bill get up here and look at this, there is a school of shad 50' in front of the boat at 30' with a school of bass under them at 35', I'm going to catch one right under that school from here."  And, Durn he did it,   Threw past the bait ball counted it down and swam it through the bassyou could see the fish fighting back toward the boat after he hooked it.  Simply amazing.  99% of us would have never caught the great Brown Fish that Mike pulled from the middle of the creek suspended under shad away from everything.

    With a pretty nice wind on a transition bank going into one of the major creeks in the dam area, we started fishing the McStick pretty serious for about a hour and I even threw a Megabass a bit but no bites at all on the stick bait.  If the Table Rock Hammer cannot catch one on a stick bait its probably time to put it down.

      I asked if he wanted to catch some deep jig fish and he was all on board so we motored up Long Creek to the ridge I had been doing well on.  We both fished a Pig Sticker 5/8 and 3/4 GP Orange. 

    Now durn it, I'm pretty good at this and these are my fish.  As you can tell this is probably not going to be good for me.  Stinkweed put 3 keeps in the boat before I got one.  PS  Mine was bigger.  He then put 1 more keep and 1 short in so at this point I'm pretty much toast but it is sure fun watching him catch them.  Dudes we caught some jig fish out over 40'.  He is "EXTREMELY PATIENT"  He calls it Hard Headed but if he thinks he can catch them he does not move.  Same thing with the Rock Crawler he will throw it and throw it.  It works if you can make yourself do it.  The day he caught the 5 pounder he said he threw it and caught 5 in the first hour, nothing for the next 2 hours still throwing it and then 4 more in about 45 minutes with one over 5 and 1 around 4.
    We stopped at another transition on the way in and he caught another really nice LM on the RK. again he was fishing it probably a bit deeper than most of us, I'm saying that crank bait fish came out of probably 15' plus. 

    Mike fishes a Motorguide Tour Pro and it lifts and deploys with 2 fingers.  It is totally silent both turning and running.  The new MG with spot lock is not out yet but Motorguide has told him it will be something special and should be out soon.  Mike has been very loyal to Motorguide thru all the spot lock deal and also with the new Garmin so I'm excited to see what he thinks of the new motor.
    Final score Mike Mcclelland 12 keepers and one short.  Bill Babler 3 keepers.  Last time I beat him 8 to 3, so he got his revenge and really gave me the best water to fish all day.  We'll get out another couple of times in the next two weeks before he has to go back on the road.  It was a fantastic and educational day with a really good buddy.
    If you all have any questions about equipment or technique you would like Mike to answer just post them here and I'll see what he has to say.
    Good Luck
     
  2. Like
    Bill Babler got a reaction from tho1mas for a article, Holitna River Float Trip with Bill and Phil   
    Just for general information, Phil and I flew on Alaska Air out of KC.  We chose to fly first class for several reasons, one being the distance of the journey and others being very marginal price difference when you took into account we were taking lots of weighted luggage, especially a gun.  Alaska has very similar baggage restrictions as other airlines with the exception that you may include in your luggage an oversize bag if it is caring sporting gear.  Not overweight, but oversize at no additional charge and this really helped us. Also we were fed and watered in a proper manner and not thrown a sack of chips or peanuts.  Makes a difference when your in the airplane for nearly 8 hrs. 
    Nice Breakfast on Alaska Airlines

    We arrived at about 11:45 in Anchorage and hustled a bit to get a couple of loaves of bread from Great Harvest Bread Co. to take on our float.  Food was going to be provided but I'm glad we took the bread as it really worked out well.  A note on the Mountain House food provided.  It was really good. and a two person portion is really for 3 people.  It is filling and easy to prepare.  I think the only meal we could finish without leftovers was the B&G.  I did take lots of condiments and extras and they highlighted it very well.  I would not be afraid to take Mountain House for a couple of weeks at a time, its that good.  Especially the Biscuits and Gravy, simply outstanding.
    We had fish two nights and Phil cooked the fish.  I made most everything else.  He cooked Char fillets on the grill and fried Sheefish.  Both were excellent.  We mostly boiled our drinking water or used water purifying bottles.
    Alaskan Adventure Lodge at Sleetmute, formerly know as the Holitna River Lodge is owned by Dan Paull and girlfriend Jami.  It is not an easy place to get to.  Really there are only a couple of bush flight companies flying in there.  We flew with Sound Aviation.  Bill and Beth.  It is quite an operation and they fly non-stop daily to most of the villages in the area, hauling food, sundries and lots of people.  We had a dog on our flight home that had a fish hook in its tongue so they get passengers of all types.  It is the Bush. They fly a 6 passenger retractable sheel Piper and by next year will have a 12 passenger online hopefully
     They seem to always be a bit late and we were late both going and coming.   We really pushed it coming out as we got to our terminal only 25 minutes prior to boarding for our home flight.
    SOUND AVIATION 

    The flight to the Lodge  via Sleetmute was just about as interesting a flight as I have had in Alaska,  with the diversity of geography just outstanding.  The peaks and ruggedness of this area is simply an unforgettable site.
    Flight from Anchorage Picture

    Arrival at the Lodge we were met by Dan, Jami, Terry, and Rodney that is their main staff with also another staff of 3 guides.  We stayed in the Trapper Cabin.  Small useful and to the point.  Table, chairs, wood stove and bunk beds with comforters, pillows and small sheeted beds.
    Phil in front of the TRAPPER CABIN

     Their Lodge and big garden was just to the right.  We had several meals in their lodge served family style and very good, especially the garden vegies and rasberries deserts fresh from that garden..  Jami has cooked in Alaska camps for several years.  The dining hall is at the rear of the lodge and their kitchen and living quarters are in the front.  They don't seem to mind a bit about coming into their space but we were cautious about it, as we both know how that feels.  They have a community restroom and shower house attached to the back of the lodge with two sinks a shower and potty.  Nice hot running water during generator hours, which I believe are 6 AM to 1 PM and then again from 4 PM to 9 PM.  Everything is on a generator and gas is 5 bucks a gallon.  Not really bad but logistically its hard to get.  It is delivered once a week from an air carrier out of Sleetmute, about 40 miles down stream.
    View from the front of the Lodge.  We saw Moose in the river bend and also a pair of Beavers

    Tuesday morning we packed up our considerable gear along with their camping and food for the several day float and packed the boat.  Rodney their camp handyman and general great guy was going to take is 60 miles up the river by boat and we would float back.  He took us about 55 and Phil saw a gravel bar he liked and I will tell you that one move by Phil really made our trip.  More later.
    Boat packed for Holitna River trip

    The river is quite large at the lodge and gets larger as it heads for the Kuskokwim   Going up river it starts to change to a more traditional fly fishing wade able type of water and really this is what we found we were looking for.  Where Phil and I camped that first two days was the best water for our type of fly fishing.  This water held huge amounts of spawning chum salmon and grayling and char were feasting on eggs.  Great for beaders,  nymphers and jiggers.  We used a bead a jig, a mop fly and streamers to catch chum,  and silver salmon as well as char and grayling, with the grayling almost at will.  I had 5 on my first 5 casts with a bead and then 5 more in 5 casts with a mop.  Phil could catch them one right after the other on a Lilleys Jig.
    Holitna River at our first camp site, traditional fly fishing water

    After unloading and sitting up our camp we caught quite a few fish.  The idea was to pack the raft and start down the river on Wednesday morning.  We got up to a flat raft that had a leak  Rodney had pumped it up with an electric pump and left us a hand pump that we later found out had the guts out of it.  We texted the lodge for a new pump or a raft repair and of course they could not arrive until Thursday so we had two nights at the first camp.  That was super as it had the best fishing.  If we were to do it again we would have gone up to the confluence of the river another 35 miles and made that float picking us up just about a day downstream from our first nights camp.  We didn't know this.  I'll talk about the Sheefish in a minute but they really need to accessed if that is your primary fish on the lower river from the lodge.
    The second night a two raft party floated by that had started on the upper river and said the grayling and char fishing were outstanding also further up.  We both surmised at the end of the trip that a 5 night float from the confluence and then a two night lodge stay would be the best of both worlds.
    Raft set up ready to float

    Rodney got us floating by 11:30 on Thursday and that first day was fantastic on the upper river.  Phil was catching char and grayling at will and we found a slack that was totally full of red salmon and silver salmon.  We caught just about all the silvers we wanted to and could have continued to catch and catch but we strolled on.  Great day on the water.
    Nice 4 person tent with fly, provided by the lodge

    We slept dry and comfortable every night.  Phil had a cot and his pad and I just used my pad and bag.  I never got into the bag as it was quite warm.  I just spread it over me like a down throw.  We also had some fantastic camp fires that Phil built every night that were a pleasure to watch.
    Nice Camp Fire

    Our camp was elevated on Friday night and we caught several silver salmon and pike.  It was on a beautiful turn in the river and you could see for several miles down stream,.
    Phil with Pike


    Saturday we got into a more traditional Sheefish location and caught 3 sheefish and several silver salmon.  Mostly caught on a jig in a deeper hole.  Also the NE wind started to blow and we thought we might be in trouble as we were rowing right into the teeth of it.
    Sheefish

    Our Saturday night camp was on a wind swept bank and Phil did a magnificent job of anchoring our tent.  He had to reanchor in the night as the wind was howling.  We had to be picked up on Sunday as it was just to tough going right into that stiff N. wind.
    As I stated earlier the reason for the Holitna float was for sheefish.  We wanted the Kobuk for lots more sheefish, but could not make that happen, it is at least a year in advance for that type of float.  The upper Holitna is beautiful and I hope one day to perhaps see the upper river beyond where we started but again there are so many rivers to run and probably not enough years left to make a dent on them.
    I will tell you we were both in very good shape for this float and shared completely in the camp work and rowing.  I had been on a 4 month fitness plan getting ready and Phil is most always in good shape.
    I was doing 200 setups, 200 15lb. weighted arm curls a complete stretching and loosing program and a 40 minute exercise program on a bike with a lot of cardio prior to the trip. It made a huge difference as we were both very strong rowers and had energy left over at the end of the day.  Phil is a way better lifter of weight and he handled the heavy lifting.
    Either Phil or I would be happy to help anyone on this trip so just email us if you want to go.  Also here is the best jig that the lodge used for most everything from salmon the sheefish, I tied this one this morning.   I also got a kick out of one of the guides saying he lover the Whopper Plopper for Pike.  They caught most of their sheefish on the jig, hardware and soft swimbaits like the Keitech.  I think they said they used the BP brand as they were longer lasting.  I also saw bags upon bags of Zoom Flukes lying around.
    Jig

    The brand is Jake's Jigs and they are popular through out Alaska and the pacific NW.  I have seen them on Kodiak and at times they use them in the salt for mooching.  I have several I'm going to send up to the Lodge for Dan to tie.
    Jake's Jigs

    Thanks for watching and a big thanks to Rodney, Terry, Dan, Jami, and Bill and Beth at Sound
     
     
     
     
     
     
  3. Like
    Bill Babler got a reaction from dan hufferd for a article, Simply Unreal Fishing   
    Ethan with a Super nice Taney Brown Trout male with Kype in full spawning colors.
    Click on the pic for a totally beautiful male brown in full color.
    On Taney everyday this past week with results that were beyond good, especially for the Summer heat.  If you can fish, Great.  If you can't fish much it does not matter, your still going to get bit.
    Have not fished above Dave's flat or below Lilley's, all in between, mostly averaging about 50 fish per day with most in the 14 plus inch class,  with lots and lots bigger, and very few smaller.
    By playing the flow you can continue to have success throughout the morning.  I'm starting at either 5:30 or 6 am.  Till 8 am you cannot make a mistake.  Stickbaits, Power Bait, Crawlers, jigs, PW, all are working.   
    When the sun hits the ball game changes, as does the flow but the bite can continue if you adapt.  Seems like at about 8 the flow really slow down, and at this time if you go to live bait your not in trouble.  The Power worm, power bait or sitckbaits will almost go dead.   You can go to a TJ full micro in pink or any small pink jig under 100 oz and you will still be fine, with that or a crawler.
    I have not been out there as much latter in the morning past 10 am but the guides that are taking multiple trips are telling me at 11 am or so when the flow increases the bites are totally insane on a crawler or down around monkey on PB.
    If you watch it and only keep the quality fish you can clean 4 fish that easily weight close to 5 pounds after they are gilled and gutted.  Over a pound and a quarter average and that is fantastic, at any time of the year, let alone dead of Summer.

    Lots of brown trout currently on the move above Lilley's.  They seem to be hanging in any of the bends or deeper pockets and by that I mean just depth changes, as really there is not a lot of deep water right now.

     
    Big fish are also coming in as just about every trip  we are catching both rainbows and browns in the 20" to 22" class.  
    If you get a chance even though its hot outside right now so is the bite.  Come on down.
    Good Luck
  4. Thanks
    Bill Babler got a reaction from trythisonemv for a article, Simply Unreal Fishing   
    Ethan with a Super nice Taney Brown Trout male with Kype in full spawning colors.
    Click on the pic for a totally beautiful male brown in full color.
    On Taney everyday this past week with results that were beyond good, especially for the Summer heat.  If you can fish, Great.  If you can't fish much it does not matter, your still going to get bit.
    Have not fished above Dave's flat or below Lilley's, all in between, mostly averaging about 50 fish per day with most in the 14 plus inch class,  with lots and lots bigger, and very few smaller.
    By playing the flow you can continue to have success throughout the morning.  I'm starting at either 5:30 or 6 am.  Till 8 am you cannot make a mistake.  Stickbaits, Power Bait, Crawlers, jigs, PW, all are working.   
    When the sun hits the ball game changes, as does the flow but the bite can continue if you adapt.  Seems like at about 8 the flow really slow down, and at this time if you go to live bait your not in trouble.  The Power worm, power bait or sitckbaits will almost go dead.   You can go to a TJ full micro in pink or any small pink jig under 100 oz and you will still be fine, with that or a crawler.
    I have not been out there as much latter in the morning past 10 am but the guides that are taking multiple trips are telling me at 11 am or so when the flow increases the bites are totally insane on a crawler or down around monkey on PB.
    If you watch it and only keep the quality fish you can clean 4 fish that easily weight close to 5 pounds after they are gilled and gutted.  Over a pound and a quarter average and that is fantastic, at any time of the year, let alone dead of Summer.

    Lots of brown trout currently on the move above Lilley's.  They seem to be hanging in any of the bends or deeper pockets and by that I mean just depth changes, as really there is not a lot of deep water right now.

     
    Big fish are also coming in as just about every trip  we are catching both rainbows and browns in the 20" to 22" class.  
    If you get a chance even though its hot outside right now so is the bite.  Come on down.
    Good Luck
  5. Like
    Bill Babler got a reaction from STLbassbuster for a article, Turning the Knob on Table Rock Bass   
    Table Rock Lake Current Fishing Report June, 14 2019  Shell Knob, MO.
    White River Outfitters
    Perhaps the most perfect Top Water Morning, Just up Stream from Shell Knob.
    ss
    The Idea this morning was to fish out of Eagle Rock.  I had a last minute cancel that I was not able to fill and have two trips next week out of Eagle Rock and wanted to get up there and see what was happening.  Got to the 86 bridge at 5:30, and knew I was in trouble as there were boats and rigs parked everywhere.  Didn't want to fight the mob, I'm guessing a pretty decent size derby.
    Didn't want to waste a perfect morning so I booked for the Shell Knob Bridge Ramp and there were only 2 rigs there at a little after 6.  Lots of boats flying by from up stream so I'm guessing the ER derby crowd was headed downstream to big water.  Mistake for the most part.  I headed upstream right into the teeth of them.  Boats on most ever dock and major runnout from SK to Carter, all right on the bank or flipping any dock they could find.
    With the cloud cover slight drizzle and little chop you could not have ordered a better Top water morning.  Fish were absolutely blowing everywhere at depth.  At first I thought they were whites, but nope, mostly LM with some really nice K's and several Jaws mixed in.  I petty much caught big keeper fish cast after cast from 6:15 till 9:30 on a Fin.  I have fished here in the good and bad times and today for me was for sure one of the good times.  Wish my son could have been out with me, he was here last week and we caught fish, mostly on a jig but today was special as it was all about the Top.

    A couple of guys that were fishing a dock came out and pulled up to me saying that had seen me wacking them and did not mean to intrude but wondered how I was catching them.  I asked first off did you catch any on that dock and they said no.  They had watched the MLF guys catching them early in the mornings on a shad spawn under docks and thought that was the deal.  I said it might have been a month ago, but those fish were long gone and out here for me to catch.  I tried to help them, but It just was not going to happen,so I wished them luck and they pulled off.

     About that time the fish blew up again.  I was sitting in 106  feet of water.
    Message to self, I don't think White River bass need to hide under anything.😎
    Just about every fish I caught and the numbers were a bit silly, were keepers.  With the way they were feeding this morning, I'm guessing they probably will not eat again until sometime next month.   I just got really lucky being in the right place on the right day at the right time.

     
    These fish were chasing schools of shad and also schools of fry.  There are just millions of tiny fry swimming in big schools around the Knob.  Some shallow and some deep.  Just have no idea how many offspring are out there this year as I think we  had a fantastic spawn.  

     
    My boat was so saturated with poop, fry, shad and crayfish that I had to take it to the car wash and wash it out to prevent from grinding it into the carpet.

    Lots of Daddy's in them also, just about the size of a 3/8 oz. jig
    Put lots of fish on the board, but for the most part just gave them a smooch and sent them back to the briny deep to continue on their feeding binge.

    I did catch 1 on a jig just for kicks and grins and a couple on a drop shot and a spoon, but the Fin was the deal by far on this perfect top water day on Table Rock Lake.

  6. Like
    Bill Babler got a reaction from Daryk Campbell Sr for a article, 5-26-19 Table Rock Lake/Lampe Mo,. Report   
    White River Outfitters current Mid-Table Rock Lake fishing report Sunday, May 26

    6 AM On the Rock Point 19
    Had one of the best days of the year today, not only because the fishing was simply unreal, but my client Jeff was a long time Table Rock Lake, ie Ozarks Lake's fishermen.  He had great stories from the late 60's and 70's.  Jeff had fished Table Rock, Bull Shoals and Taney when he was in his early teens with Rex Grady, staying at Lake Shore Resort.  He had also fished the Rock with the Fletcher's out of Devils Dive and floated the Kings River many times out of DD Resort.

    Nice dark Table Rock Jaw on a  Red Fin
    Launched this morning in what I thought was perfect timing and was wrong.  We pulled away from the H hwy. dock at 5:15.  I t was going to fish the swim beach at Baxter but there were 2 boats on it.  Next was the point going out of the Indian's on the left.  Boat on it.  Went to the buoy point up the White across from Red Barn,  boat on it.  Next was Red Barn 3 boats on it.  Next was 19, boat on it.  Next the Old Road Bed point.  Success.

    LM like topwater too
    Fin bite was savage with the boat in 25' throwing across the point.  We caught 9 here, all keepers and they just crushed it, to the point of being scary.  Guy on 19 had vacated so I bogged over there and we caught 6 on it.  All short but again they hammered it.  Zoomed back to the road bed and bang a nice jaw on the fin and then  switched to the Keitech.  3.3 with a 1/4 oz. head in either Rainbow Shad or Pro Blue.

    I'll be durned fat Kentucky's eat Red Fins also.
    It really never slowed down.  I jumped a bit and we threw the fin on each new location, but the Keitech never stopped getting bit.  Most locations we would catch at least 6 with a combination of just about every fish that swims in the lake.  Fished 5 gravel runnouts this morning between point 19 and point 16 with no bad stops.   Hitting the Road Bed twice early looking for fin fish. 

    Walleye prefer swimbaits to Red Fins
    Boat today was most often in 25' but did hit 35' several times.  Most fish in 12 to 20 ft. 

     Fat 10 inch bluegill on a 3.3 Keitech.  We caught several they seemed to be about 15' deep
    Total of 17 topwater fish as we caught a nice K on the last cast on a fin.  Probably 25 down fish on the swimbait and did not see any drop shot fish what so ever.

    Baits were pretty simple for us today.  We used two.  Surface temps at 74-76 degree water is clearing fast.
  7. Like
    Bill Babler got a reaction from 5bites for a article, 5-21-19 Table Rock Lake Report   
    White River Outfitters Guide Service Table Rock Current Fishing Report

    Real Nice Table Rock Lake Spotted Bass  3.15 pounds.
    Picked up Bill and Jack at Mill Creek Resort at 0600 and headed for the mouth of the James.  Fished around Point 9 for a couple of hours swimming a 3.3 Keitech in Pro-Blue and caught some very nice SM.  Boat in 15'.  Wind started to blow and we headed up the James, surrounded by MLF guys, which this morning all minded their own P's and Q's and we did not have to contend with them.
    Most of the locations I caught them on Saturday were high and dry  We did manage to catch 4 up there 3 SM and 1 really nice K.  One on a jig and the others on the Keitech.  These fish were 15' and under.
    As I was coming out we saw Pete at the cut thru Island below Jackson and his client had a nice fish on a jig.
    Here is where it is much better to be lucky than good.  I have not seen a schooling fish to speak of all year and right at the mouth of the White,  thar-she-blew.  LM, K's and Jaw's a plenty.  There were big chops out there and they were blowing right in the waves.  Here is the deal, we stayed on those fish for almost 2 hrs.  Mostly catching them on a Fin and a swimbait, it was amazing.  These fish were blowing in 90ft. plus and they just kept on and kept on.
    I never leave when they are biting like that regardless of time but we eventually left when it started thundering and wind blowing just to much.  Have no idea of numbers but it was pretty stupid.  Just some thumper fish with the 3.15 lb. K in the picture with Jack being the biggest.
  8. Like
    Bill Babler got a reaction from tho1mas for a article, 5-21-19 Table Rock Lake Report   
    White River Outfitters Guide Service Table Rock Current Fishing Report

    Real Nice Table Rock Lake Spotted Bass  3.15 pounds.
    Picked up Bill and Jack at Mill Creek Resort at 0600 and headed for the mouth of the James.  Fished around Point 9 for a couple of hours swimming a 3.3 Keitech in Pro-Blue and caught some very nice SM.  Boat in 15'.  Wind started to blow and we headed up the James, surrounded by MLF guys, which this morning all minded their own P's and Q's and we did not have to contend with them.
    Most of the locations I caught them on Saturday were high and dry  We did manage to catch 4 up there 3 SM and 1 really nice K.  One on a jig and the others on the Keitech.  These fish were 15' and under.
    As I was coming out we saw Pete at the cut thru Island below Jackson and his client had a nice fish on a jig.
    Here is where it is much better to be lucky than good.  I have not seen a schooling fish to speak of all year and right at the mouth of the White,  thar-she-blew.  LM, K's and Jaw's a plenty.  There were big chops out there and they were blowing right in the waves.  Here is the deal, we stayed on those fish for almost 2 hrs.  Mostly catching them on a Fin and a swimbait, it was amazing.  These fish were blowing in 90ft. plus and they just kept on and kept on.
    I never leave when they are biting like that regardless of time but we eventually left when it started thundering and wind blowing just to much.  Have no idea of numbers but it was pretty stupid.  Just some thumper fish with the 3.15 lb. K in the picture with Jack being the biggest.
  9. Like
    Bill Babler got a reaction from Larry Eby for a article, 4-30-19 Table Rock Comprehensive last Several Days   
    I"m gong to start this in reverse order starting today and going back thru the past week.  My work load has been totally Table Rock 8hr. trips with the exception of a trout attack on Sunday.  Most of the past week has been corporate stuff.  This year with really good clients that wanted to be there and fish.  At times this is not the case.
    4-30-19  National Crop Insurance group staying at Tall Pines   Pete Wenners and Phil Stone helped on this trip today and it was really pretty good just prior to the storm.  We started in the lower lake area fishing topwater on a cloudy overcast morning with surface temps at 56 and water clarity at clear beyond clear.  All of us had huge blowups and swats and nothing to show for it.  Fish would just blow up all over or behind it and follow it to the boat but Pete's group was the only one that captured one on top and that was mid morning.
    I believe Pete's best deal where he could find a slime free location was a 5bites Ned Rig.  Both Stone's group and my group caught them on a 2.8 inch Keitech.  We had 15 keepers and 19 total fish in my boat which was excellent keeper to catch ratio.  This was a 4 hr. trip.  I think Phil did about the same.
    4-29-19 Six hour bass out of Shell Knob.  We caught a butt load of fish yesterday but the keeper ratio was really bad.  Lots of spawned out and male LM.  Several on top but the majority on a Keitech either 2.8 or 3.3  I think we had close to 50 fish with only a dozen or so small keeps. Surface temp at 56 and water clearer than the lower end.
    4-28-19 was a trout day.  We had 41 for anyone interested on a Berkley Power Worm 7' under a float.  Had some just flat excellent fish.
    4-27-19 Dental Group of Missouri.  We had a fantastic day in the wind and boat traffic on the Rock. " Truly Stellar."  Lots and lots of boat traffic but not bothering us one little bit.  They were not fishing what I was fishing.  Surprise, surprise.  Had 35 bass with 15 really nice keepers, all Jaw's.  Boat was in 30 to 40 feet letting the 3.3 inch Keitech hit on the very ends of the long runnouts just before they dropped into the channel.  We were fishing with a 1/4 oz. Keitech tungston head with a 2/0 hook.  We would let the bait sink to the bottom and then slow wind it back.  Most times it was hitting in 15' to 20' to staging fish.
    4-26-19 Fished out of Shell Knob with a pair of fishermen about to fish the Shriner derby.  Struggled all day, catching crappie and short fish.  Probably had 20 bass a dozen crappie and a couple of squeeker keeps.  Keitech.
    4-25-19 Fished Mid-lake Baxter  56 degree water and they were biting on the long runs, most fish were staging in the 15' to 25' range and we caught them swimming the Keitech thru them.  Had 21 quality keepers, mostly SM and most averaging 2.6 to 2.9 pounds.  Thats a slim range but most were males and cookie cutter. Had 8 crappie
    4-24-19 Same as on the 25th. but had 26 keepers and no crappie.  Mostly fishing the long run out ridges near the big spawning pockets  I will tell  you I only fished the same location once all week and it was a huge gravel flat up the James a bit prior to point 10.  We hit it twice Saturday and on the 24th.  It is really solid with keepers.  Saw at least a dozen boats fish near it on the bank and in the pocket and never seen a fish caught while my guys were really sticking them off the end of that gravel.
    With all the boats Saturday we had no problems, I think everyone including the tournament participants knew the lake was crowded and everyone so as to speak stayed in their lanes.  This lake right now is in great shape.   Not a load of 4 to 8 pounders,  but absolutely great on 2.to 4 pound fish.
    Good Luck out there.
     
  10. Like
    Bill Babler got a reaction from tho1mas for a article, 4-30-19 Table Rock Comprehensive last Several Days   
    I"m gong to start this in reverse order starting today and going back thru the past week.  My work load has been totally Table Rock 8hr. trips with the exception of a trout attack on Sunday.  Most of the past week has been corporate stuff.  This year with really good clients that wanted to be there and fish.  At times this is not the case.
    4-30-19  National Crop Insurance group staying at Tall Pines   Pete Wenners and Phil Stone helped on this trip today and it was really pretty good just prior to the storm.  We started in the lower lake area fishing topwater on a cloudy overcast morning with surface temps at 56 and water clarity at clear beyond clear.  All of us had huge blowups and swats and nothing to show for it.  Fish would just blow up all over or behind it and follow it to the boat but Pete's group was the only one that captured one on top and that was mid morning.
    I believe Pete's best deal where he could find a slime free location was a 5bites Ned Rig.  Both Stone's group and my group caught them on a 2.8 inch Keitech.  We had 15 keepers and 19 total fish in my boat which was excellent keeper to catch ratio.  This was a 4 hr. trip.  I think Phil did about the same.
    4-29-19 Six hour bass out of Shell Knob.  We caught a butt load of fish yesterday but the keeper ratio was really bad.  Lots of spawned out and male LM.  Several on top but the majority on a Keitech either 2.8 or 3.3  I think we had close to 50 fish with only a dozen or so small keeps. Surface temp at 56 and water clearer than the lower end.
    4-28-19 was a trout day.  We had 41 for anyone interested on a Berkley Power Worm 7' under a float.  Had some just flat excellent fish.
    4-27-19 Dental Group of Missouri.  We had a fantastic day in the wind and boat traffic on the Rock. " Truly Stellar."  Lots and lots of boat traffic but not bothering us one little bit.  They were not fishing what I was fishing.  Surprise, surprise.  Had 35 bass with 15 really nice keepers, all Jaw's.  Boat was in 30 to 40 feet letting the 3.3 inch Keitech hit on the very ends of the long runnouts just before they dropped into the channel.  We were fishing with a 1/4 oz. Keitech tungston head with a 2/0 hook.  We would let the bait sink to the bottom and then slow wind it back.  Most times it was hitting in 15' to 20' to staging fish.
    4-26-19 Fished out of Shell Knob with a pair of fishermen about to fish the Shriner derby.  Struggled all day, catching crappie and short fish.  Probably had 20 bass a dozen crappie and a couple of squeeker keeps.  Keitech.
    4-25-19 Fished Mid-lake Baxter  56 degree water and they were biting on the long runs, most fish were staging in the 15' to 25' range and we caught them swimming the Keitech thru them.  Had 21 quality keepers, mostly SM and most averaging 2.6 to 2.9 pounds.  Thats a slim range but most were males and cookie cutter. Had 8 crappie
    4-24-19 Same as on the 25th. but had 26 keepers and no crappie.  Mostly fishing the long run out ridges near the big spawning pockets  I will tell  you I only fished the same location once all week and it was a huge gravel flat up the James a bit prior to point 10.  We hit it twice Saturday and on the 24th.  It is really solid with keepers.  Saw at least a dozen boats fish near it on the bank and in the pocket and never seen a fish caught while my guys were really sticking them off the end of that gravel.
    With all the boats Saturday we had no problems, I think everyone including the tournament participants knew the lake was crowded and everyone so as to speak stayed in their lanes.  This lake right now is in great shape.   Not a load of 4 to 8 pounders,  but absolutely great on 2.to 4 pound fish.
    Good Luck out there.
     
  11. Like
    Bill Babler got a reaction from STLbassbuster for a article, 4-22-19 Kind of Nuts Today   
    Started at the dam early and it was just not what I wanted it to be.  Had several fish with a 4.52 jaw but not many bites.  Loaded u.p the rig and headed for Baxter.  Temps at the dam were 56 when I launched at 6.

     
    Relaunch at Baxter at 11 and the temps were 60 and it was just flat on.  I caught them on a Keitech 3.3 and a jerkbait with the boat in 30 ft.  Fish seemed to be in that 15 ft. range suspended and moving up.  Fished from 11 to 5 and did not go 10 minutes without a bite.  Wind was just perfect.  Had 2 keeper walleye one 19 inches and one 22 inches and I released them.  Had 10 crappie, the biggest I have ever caught.

      One here and one there.  They were monsters. Biggest at 3.08 and 18 inches.  Next biggest at 3.02 and 17.75 inches.  The 10 weighed in at a little under 24 pounds.  Smallest was a shade under 17 inches.

    I have fished in my 65 yrs. on Lake of the Ozarks, Lake Barclay, Kentucky Lake and Toledo Bend and never had a 2 pound crappie let alone a 3 pound crappie and for gosh sakes catching them on Table Rock is just unreal, I'm in a fog.  Knife is 15.5 inches long.

    Every crappie came on a suspending jerkbait.  Color did not matter as long as it was Blue.  They were not schooled, one here and one there.   Pole timber was always present.  Best 5 bass would have pushed 17 pounds, all the best being jaws.
     
     
  12. Like
    Bill Babler got a reaction from liphunter for a article, 4-22-19 Kind of Nuts Today   
    Started at the dam early and it was just not what I wanted it to be.  Had several fish with a 4.52 jaw but not many bites.  Loaded u.p the rig and headed for Baxter.  Temps at the dam were 56 when I launched at 6.

     
    Relaunch at Baxter at 11 and the temps were 60 and it was just flat on.  I caught them on a Keitech 3.3 and a jerkbait with the boat in 30 ft.  Fish seemed to be in that 15 ft. range suspended and moving up.  Fished from 11 to 5 and did not go 10 minutes without a bite.  Wind was just perfect.  Had 2 keeper walleye one 19 inches and one 22 inches and I released them.  Had 10 crappie, the biggest I have ever caught.

      One here and one there.  They were monsters. Biggest at 3.08 and 18 inches.  Next biggest at 3.02 and 17.75 inches.  The 10 weighed in at a little under 24 pounds.  Smallest was a shade under 17 inches.

    I have fished in my 65 yrs. on Lake of the Ozarks, Lake Barclay, Kentucky Lake and Toledo Bend and never had a 2 pound crappie let alone a 3 pound crappie and for gosh sakes catching them on Table Rock is just unreal, I'm in a fog.  Knife is 15.5 inches long.

    Every crappie came on a suspending jerkbait.  Color did not matter as long as it was Blue.  They were not schooled, one here and one there.   Pole timber was always present.  Best 5 bass would have pushed 17 pounds, all the best being jaws.
     
     
  13. Thanks
    Bill Babler got a reaction from STLbassbuster for a article, About to Break Loose. 3-11-19   
    Table Rock Lake Kimberling City 3-11-19 Report

     
    Launched at Cow this morning to a cloudy grey sunrise with surface temps at 42.7.  Boated down to White's Branch to see if I could catch any of these big A-rig fish that are showing up in the tournaments.  From Schooner Creek to Cow Creek the lake is full of dying shad and gulls.  Thousands of dying shad and enough gulls to scoop them up.  I will tell you, if you see this Run.  Don't even drop the trolling motor, cause they ain't havin it.  You have to get away from those shad to get bit.
     

    I fished for 3 hours right in the middle of it and got ZERO BITES.
    At 10 o'clock I came to my senses and got away from this buffet and it got good.  Surface temps were like a Rocket Ship today and were on the rise, big time.  Even with that the fish wanted it slower than slow.  They ate a stick bait on flat water and another deal.

     
    I put a total of only 7 fish in the boat but they were all solid keeps and lost one around 8 lbs. at the boat.  As a matter a fact she hit the side of the boat twice but when your using a 15' 4 lb. leader and are by yourself its hard to capture those biggens.  After the crazyness I put her through she just decided to dive down and wrap me in a tree and be done with that foolishness.
     

    Word on the lake today was the A-rig was just not working, it had to be slow.  Bottom Ok on the Ned, but not quality fish.  Jerkbait in the trees and the floater were on them and they were all good.
    Surface them at 2 PM when I pulled was 48.1 at Cow Creek with gin clear water.  Visibility in that area is 15' on the white spoon test.
     

    Just about to get good, these fish are starting to stage on channel swings and spawning cove mouths.
    Good Luck
  14. Like
    Bill Babler got a reaction from Daryk Campbell Sr for a article, About to Break Loose. 3-11-19   
    Table Rock Lake Kimberling City 3-11-19 Report

     
    Launched at Cow this morning to a cloudy grey sunrise with surface temps at 42.7.  Boated down to White's Branch to see if I could catch any of these big A-rig fish that are showing up in the tournaments.  From Schooner Creek to Cow Creek the lake is full of dying shad and gulls.  Thousands of dying shad and enough gulls to scoop them up.  I will tell you, if you see this Run.  Don't even drop the trolling motor, cause they ain't havin it.  You have to get away from those shad to get bit.
     

    I fished for 3 hours right in the middle of it and got ZERO BITES.
    At 10 o'clock I came to my senses and got away from this buffet and it got good.  Surface temps were like a Rocket Ship today and were on the rise, big time.  Even with that the fish wanted it slower than slow.  They ate a stick bait on flat water and another deal.

     
    I put a total of only 7 fish in the boat but they were all solid keeps and lost one around 8 lbs. at the boat.  As a matter a fact she hit the side of the boat twice but when your using a 15' 4 lb. leader and are by yourself its hard to capture those biggens.  After the crazyness I put her through she just decided to dive down and wrap me in a tree and be done with that foolishness.
     

    Word on the lake today was the A-rig was just not working, it had to be slow.  Bottom Ok on the Ned, but not quality fish.  Jerkbait in the trees and the floater were on them and they were all good.
    Surface them at 2 PM when I pulled was 48.1 at Cow Creek with gin clear water.  Visibility in that area is 15' on the white spoon test.
     

    Just about to get good, these fish are starting to stage on channel swings and spawning cove mouths.
    Good Luck
  15. Like
    Bill Babler got a reaction from David Goddard for a article, Table Rock Lake Current Fishing Report 9-4-18   
    Surface temps the last few days has been hanging in the 76 to 79 range depending on area of the lake.  This morning at Shell Knob it was 77 and pretty much stayed there.  I'm going to go ahead and do the K-Knob first.  Lets just say Shell Knob  to Big M and Shell Knob to Baxter as it is all pretty much the same deal right now, with one note worthy exception that I will tell your about in a minute.
    Lots and lots of drop shot fish in the 26 to 40g foot range not so much really congregated but several on a lot of locations, mostly gravel.  There are also fish chasing all day long, some in the middle and some just about everywhere.  I can't catch them worth a hoot on top water, but they will eat a under spin with a 2.8 inch Keitech decent.  What they will eat the best is a 1/2 oz. Little George in Silver or Chrome.  I started at the end of last week with 5 most of them probably 20 yrs. old and I now have none.  They took them from me.
    Today especially, as I saw something I have not seen for 25 plus years on the Rock.  Today I witnessed at massive school of LM chasing shad.  The last time was up the Kings River near Blue Hole today it was at the mouth of the Kings.  I was fishing the point going into Mill Creek at Twin Rivers and saw them bust right in the middle of the White River Channel.  Its 98 feet deep right there.  I really did not pay a total load of attention as I thought they were Whites and would be up and down.  Deal was they stayed and stayed up.  Finely after about 5 minutes I just had to go check it out as they just kept surfacing in about a 40 acre patch.  I pulled out there and tossed the Little George.  and it was a total slam and while I was reeling in the fish I saw that they were LM. busting all around the boat.  Got the fish to the boat and it was a solid 4 pounder.  When to reach over for him and he dived and snapped off the George.  I had another one rigged so I calmly did the same frigging thing and lost another Little George.  These were on 6lb that I had been catching K's on with out a problem.  These LM were not that by a long shot and they were moving and slashing at top speed.  Picked up another rod with a yellow magic and they were still busting all around me.  Some of these feeds were as big as a bushel basket.  Tossed out the YM on 8 pound Maxi and as soon as it hit the water if was gone, I mean it was like you threw in a 500 lb. boulder.  It was there one minute and I had a slack line the next.
    I had 2 remaining rods with baits, both were under spins on 8 pound line.  I boated 6 LM on them all about 3 pounders before the Keitechs were torn off.  I also caught 1 more on a drop shot and one on a swim jig.  All cookie cutter 3 pounders.  These fish were on the surface at least 20 minutes and then they were gone.  Wish I would have had a camera guy but the futility and craziness would have really embarrassed me.
    Reason for all the lite tackle was I was to have had some extremely mature fishermen today and that was what they were comfortable with.   Due to the rain at Shell Knob they did not get out, so I was on my own after the drive over.  I has also been catching some up there swimming a jig thru deep trees, and that has been a hoot.
    Now for the rest of the lake.  The deep Football jig bite has really tapered off, and the drop shot bite is back on again from Kimberling City to the dam.  Guides are telling me a half day trip they are using 6 dozen crawlers and fish are both suspended and on the bottom in the 26 to 35 ft. range.
    James River is still fishing well on the Football Jig at that same 30' depth range with some really solid K's and LM along with the big boys.
    Hope I don't have to wait another 25 years to see LM surface on the rock in a massive school like this.  I don't believe there was any other bass in that 40 acre school but LM and as I have said, for the Rock in Post LM kill that is just something few people have ever gotten to see.
    Good Luck
     
  16. Thanks
    Bill Babler got a reaction from dan hufferd for a article, Table Rock Lake Current Fishing Report 8-6-18   
    White River Outfitters Table Rock Lake Current Fishing Report

    Well the Surface temps have upped  and then down and now back up.  We have gone in the mid-lake area from 88.9 down to 79.9 to today at 84 degree in the last 8 to 10 days.  My gravy train of concentrated fish has ended and they have scattered throughout the entire water column.  We had top water fish this morning and If I had been there quicker we would have had more.  This deal has really changed.  Lots of singles and very few multiples.  The best fish chasing are SM and they will hit a top water if you can get it to them in a hurry.  Had been catching some of the Dixie Jet but just a couple of pecks on it this morning.  Most fish coming on the drop shot in 27 to 36 ft. either on the bottom or suspended.  Again lots of nice size K's not as big as they have been but most pushing the 14.5 to 15.5 inch mark.

    There are shad of every size right now and the K's seem to be hitting the young Threadfin and the Big Jaw's are after the small Gizzards.  When you see a single fish chase its going to be a nice jaw in the mid-lake area, if you see multiple its K's and Whites.

    On the drop shot this morning if we could see them we got bit most of the time.  We however were hunting for singles and doubles and did not see a single set of marks with over 3 fish in the school.  The last month I've been fishing to worming schools of K's that had multiples of 10 in them.

    Man we had a great bite here from May to August 1st.   Now we are kind of back to Summer fishing where the fish have seen just about everything we have to offer them and on top of that they decided they don't like each other and have singled and paired up.
    There are probably some big whites to be caught if you wanted to work at them, but most of my folks have been after the green fish.  I believe however you could target them in the pockets.

    This morning we had LM-K-SM and White so a bit of everything except my normal Eye.  Shad shape worm and a cut tail early then they got fussy and wanted the real thing about 9 AM so we gave it to them.  Nothing on a jigging spoon, only the top water and the drop shot baits.  

    The photo's are from the last several days.  Here is a really nice Jaw on a Lake Fork 6" chrome spoon that was chasing Gizzards

    Here is the release swim away

  17. Like
    Bill Babler got a reaction from tho1mas for a article, Table Rock Lake Current Fishing Report 8-6-18   
    White River Outfitters Table Rock Lake Current Fishing Report

    Well the Surface temps have upped  and then down and now back up.  We have gone in the mid-lake area from 88.9 down to 79.9 to today at 84 degree in the last 8 to 10 days.  My gravy train of concentrated fish has ended and they have scattered throughout the entire water column.  We had top water fish this morning and If I had been there quicker we would have had more.  This deal has really changed.  Lots of singles and very few multiples.  The best fish chasing are SM and they will hit a top water if you can get it to them in a hurry.  Had been catching some of the Dixie Jet but just a couple of pecks on it this morning.  Most fish coming on the drop shot in 27 to 36 ft. either on the bottom or suspended.  Again lots of nice size K's not as big as they have been but most pushing the 14.5 to 15.5 inch mark.

    There are shad of every size right now and the K's seem to be hitting the young Threadfin and the Big Jaw's are after the small Gizzards.  When you see a single fish chase its going to be a nice jaw in the mid-lake area, if you see multiple its K's and Whites.

    On the drop shot this morning if we could see them we got bit most of the time.  We however were hunting for singles and doubles and did not see a single set of marks with over 3 fish in the school.  The last month I've been fishing to worming schools of K's that had multiples of 10 in them.

    Man we had a great bite here from May to August 1st.   Now we are kind of back to Summer fishing where the fish have seen just about everything we have to offer them and on top of that they decided they don't like each other and have singled and paired up.
    There are probably some big whites to be caught if you wanted to work at them, but most of my folks have been after the green fish.  I believe however you could target them in the pockets.

    This morning we had LM-K-SM and White so a bit of everything except my normal Eye.  Shad shape worm and a cut tail early then they got fussy and wanted the real thing about 9 AM so we gave it to them.  Nothing on a jigging spoon, only the top water and the drop shot baits.  

    The photo's are from the last several days.  Here is a really nice Jaw on a Lake Fork 6" chrome spoon that was chasing Gizzards

    Here is the release swim away

  18. Like
    Bill Babler got a reaction from Seth for a article, Turner Jones micro jigs   
    First question, first.  Yes he made several jigs and prototypes.  He made Bill Beck and I some float and fly jigs also and they were unreal for early season Bass.  Merlin Olsen was a fly fisherman and was fishing the Green River, either early 80's or late 70's.  His guide used the "New fly/jig and of course they ripped them."  Merlin immediately wrote Mr. Jones and asked if he was in need or would like a spokes person for his Micro's.  Merlin said he would be that person free of any obligation other than Mr. Jones giving him all the Micro Jigs he needed to keep catching trout.  Deal was done and a match was made.
    Prior to and after Turner's passing his Grand Daughter who lives pretty much off the grid made them for Phil and a few other of their better clients.  She  ran out of materials and there was some problem with stolen molds and other equipment from Turner's estate.  Kind of a tangled web, to say the very least.
    At one time Turner took a partner, a young woman who he thought was going to help him.  She immediately stole lots of written information and molds and sold them to Lucky Strike and that's how they started making the product.  Thru much legal battling Mr. Jones got this stopped as he related to me. The jigs Lucky Strike made were similar but trash, there is a bonding process that adheres the  miniscule single strand of Hen Hackle under a colored collar of shrink wrap that holds this together.  There is no tie thread or no marabou as Turner said it makes the jig way to heavy and not realistic.  Both thread and marabou add bulk and this fly is extremely streamline and zero bulk.
    After he molded and painted the head and added the eyes he then added the shrink wrap and hackle body and then clear coated the head and the attaching wrap.  Multiple steps that he said had to be exercised correctly to make the fly as life like as possible.  He said it is either a newly hatched sculpin or a small minnow imitation.  He also made Sculpin jigs that the head was an identical match for a very small sculpin.

     
    We ended up this morning with 62 fish for 3 clients on this jig.  The fish here are extremely fat and healthy with lots of fish in the 13 to 17 inch range.

     
  19. Like
    Bill Babler got a reaction from Daryk Campbell Sr for a article, Sunday Fishing Report   
    Fished the AIA as an alternate with good friend Don Gossett  it was the kick off for Table Rock. After a 2.5 hour fog delay. We started to clear blue high pressure fishing. Surface temps started at 47 and by 4pm had reached 51 in the dam area
    Lots of the channel swing creek locations I had been fishing really muddied up but we managed 11.78 pounds. 2 of those came from clear water in the Kimberling area on a float-n-Fly. Both were 4 pounders.  It was hard for lots of us, we only had 4 keepers and a total of only 6 fish. The other 4 were A-Rig fish. 
    86 boats in the derby and we came in 13th and got a decent little check. 20.44. Won it with second at 15.24. Out of the 86 boats 40 teams skunked so it was a very tough bite
    Most to all fish caught on a Rig, Swim Bait, Spoon or jig. However I have no idea how you could fish that jig as the moss and slime are terrible
    With the water warming this week and the lake color I expect to see some crank bait and spinner bait shallow as the water has risen over the moss line.  Moss line is at 906 and the lake is now 916 with color so that should come into play pretty quick
    None of the fish however were spitting craws. All Shad so it makes you wonder. I’m hyped about fishing this week and will try and keep you up to date
    Good Luck
  20. Like
    Bill Babler got a reaction from FlatCreekReaper for a article, Riggin the A-Rig   
    There are a dozen names for it and some of them are not flattering.  Alabama Rig A-Rig, Umbrella Rig, Mob Rig, School Rig or just plain old Stupid Rig.  Thing about it is what ever you call it or how ever you feel about it, this fishing method is legal, deadly effective and here to stay.
    In the Fall of 2012 this rig started showing it's "Ugly Face" to some and "Oh My Gosh Good" to others.  The first one I happen to see was being used by Pete Wenners and Chris Tetrick.  They had started using this Andy Poss fishing method after seeing it win multiple tournaments in the Eastern US.  Now the fishing method that Andy started in 2009 is wide spread throughout the entire country and at least 20 different bait manufactures make and market variation of the Umbrella rig.
     

    As late Winter and early Spring of 2013 rolled around, A-rig fishing as it is known for short started catching huge strings of bass on all of our White River lakes Chain.  It was fueled by producing huge stringers of bass that had not been caught here since the fish kills of the early 90's.  It has become a staple here to this day.   What we thought at first to be a passing fad now is a very important tool in catching large stringers of bass in very cold and cool water months of the year, by simulating small schools of either threadfin or gizzard shad.
    Most Alabama Rigs are constructed of a 5 arm, wire rig, similar to the spokes on an umbrella.  There are umbrella rigs constructed with as many as 20 arms that hold various baits and teasers.  You are only limited to your imagine when it comes to attractants.  Each state has its own regulations on the rig, concerning how many "Hot Baits" or hooked baits you can have on the rig.  In Missouri we are limited to only 3 hooked or Hot Baits. If we are fishing in our Sister water in Arkansas we are not limited to 3.
    The next question is how in the world with only 3 hot hooks on a multiple baited lure can you select the proper one that the fish will hit.  Most Alabama Rigs are built with an extended middle arm.  This allows one single hot bait to trail the school or mob.  Fish also approach the school most often from the bottom, so wise A-Rig fishermen rig the two bottom arms and the middle extended arm to present the best opportunity for hook ups.  The remainder of the baits are teasers and should be presented in a way to make it look as if they are tightly schooled.  The bass will most often take the trailing bait or lower extended baits that are not tight to the teaser baits that are in the mob.  At times I even further extend the hot middle bait with a 3" eagle claw wire leader.  It works to perfection and I rarely get non-hook up bites.
    Baits and teasers can be anything from willow leaf spinner blades to a variety of soft plastics.  Combinations are countless.  With over 50 manufactures making soft plastic grubs, curly tail minnows, and boot tail shad imitations.

    Ok, you have now got your 5 arm rig and your soft plastic Yum-Yums, what hooks are you going to use if the baits are not hooked already and how ya gonna rig it?  When I first started I used Storm Wild Eye Shad.  This is a fantastic small swimbait.  It swims perfectly, comes in a variety of sizes and is nicely weighted with a super heavy hook.  It's best feature and maybe its biggest draw back is the heavy Gamakatsu hook.  With prices on the A-Rigs running from the 9 to 29 dollar range, you want to get as many of these bad boys back as possible when they reach out a grab some underwater something.  And they will.  Lots of fishermen have varied the hook strength to match the line strength that they are throwing the rig on.  Enough line strength to slightly bend the hook without causing it to break the line that is attached to the expensive A-Rig.

    When you do hang up, try not and set the hook, just let it come snug and run your boat around behind the snag and try and pull it loose from the rear.  This is the best method.
    For me,  I use pretty heavy line.  What say you, you are already dragging wire thru the water, might as well put lite  rope on it to get it back when that old underwater oak branch tries to snatch it from you.  Personally I now use a hook created by Table Rock Bait Co.  ie Chompers.  It is a jig head hook especially designed for the Alabama Rig.  Put a drop of gel super glue on the hook and slide the soft plastic of your choice and your nearly ready to start flinging.   That being said, how in the name of Virgil Ward do I attach the teaser baits to this apparatus.  It can be done several ways.  We all started using a very small hooked jig head, say 1/16th. to 1/8 and simply snipping the hook off at the bend.  That gave us the structure to attach the bait and maintain it in a very nice smimming mode.  Since we have had time to experiment, most good A-Riggers use a small screw attachment called a Hitchhiker.  They can be bought online or at most stores including WalMart.  You simply screw the Hitchhiker into the head of the teaser bait and then put the snap of the hiker into the swivel of the A-Rig arm
    Now, I have my line, my umbrella, and my baits all set up.  How do I get this monster in the drink and get it back?  When this deal first started most of us tried to just use a heavy jig rod and a reel that would spool enough big line to get it out there a reasonable distance. This seemed to work somewhat OK until you engaged the reel as the spare tire of a bait was still sailing thru the air.  Most often you just got a clank and a clink and that was pretty much all your regular bait caster wanted of that deal.  There have been a score of improvements in this field also.  The best A-Riggers of 2 yrs. ago were using a Shimano Curado 300e as the reel.  Still hard to beat, but this is heavy.  The reel is also a full hand full for a big guy.  For me at 5'9" I"m not that big I was having trouble with my Curados with not only the weight at 10.8 oz. but the size fitting my hand.  They also carry a very hefty price of $249.95.  The drag is more than solid at 15 pound, so this is the classic reel to handle a 3 plus oz. bait like the rig. It only comes in a gear ratio of 6.4 to1 which is satisfactory, but there are better options now.
    Lew's features a reel called the Super Duty that was designed with the A-Rig in mind.  It is Super tough with Brass gearing a heavy 14 pound star drag and is lite weight of 7.8 oz.  This reel is offered in gear ratios of 5.4 to 1 to 8.1 to 1.  It is a low profile soft sided palm size reel that fits the hand much better than the bulkier Curado.  Paired with the New for 2016 Falcon Cara Super Duty 7'6" casting rod you have a multipurpose outfit that fishes either an A-Rig or the new hit of the month sensation the Whopper Plooper.  Just bite off the rig and tie on the Plop and your ready to go. Lew's has the Super Duty regular price for $179.99, but I am seeing it offered on Optic's Planet for $142.00 to $148.99.  A full hundred bucks less than the curado and a very nice lighter weight option.  The Cara Super Duty weighs 2.1 oz. on a split grip frame so you have a outfit that you can throw perhaps a little longer at a total weight of 9.8 oz. making rod and reel lighter than the curado.
    Not bad at all for this type of a very heavy preforming outfit.

    We are completely set up and ready to let it fly now, but where do we do the flinging.  The A-Rig can be fished just about anywhere that the fish are.  It can be fished this time of the year to suspending fish on bluffends and cove mouths and channel swings just over tree tops.  As the water warms it can be fished to staging fish and fish that are rising in the water column.  I fish it in very similar locations that I would fish a suspending stick bait, as water temperatures rise.
    Late Summer and early Fall this bait will again excel as a wonderful dock bait.  When shad are schooling and chasing in the backs of the pockets, it is simply deadly around dock corners.
    The best method I have found is to fish the bait with a slow pulling method, letting the bait sink to the desired level on the cast and then retrieving it by pulling the bait thru the water and picking up the slack with the reel.  This method will allow the bait to stall or flutter as it is retrieved.  On the strike, and they can be violent, instead of jerking the rod, just continue to reel picking up the pace or draw the rod back as you would by sweeping it as the hook set on a carolina rig.

    How ever you feel about it, the A-Rig is here to stay.  Get geared up properly and see how some of our local fishermen are winding in once unthought of tournament weights.  Now is the time for the Rig, so get your umbrella up and get after it.
     
     
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