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Bill Babler

4-30-19 Table Rock Comprehensive last Several Days

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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.


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Bill maybe a silly question but no one seems to use your deep water tactics on Beaver. They must work here. Bass are bass but nobody I know fishes deep until drop shotting starts. I've been out there for many FLW stops on Beaver and saw no one fishing in 35 fow. Same with the Bass Cat thing last week. There must be some pretty good sticks in their group and no one was facing out. Working on finding time to come and learn from you. Thank you for your great reports.

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I just usually get to Beaver a time or two a year, but Bull Shoals works the same way as the Rock.  You can sit out off the long runs and kick their tail. for the next month on a swimbait.  People started doing this here in the  80's and 90's.  most throwing a C-tail grub, or for that matter a jerk bait.  Lots of pre and post spawn fish swimming out there simi-deep.

With the water clarity we have right now you can easily catch them with any kind of wind on a jerk bait with your boat in 30'  If they are in 15 to 20 either suspended or on the bottom they will come and get it.  Best bet however is to swim it right to them using a grub or a swimbait.  This is just about as far from power fishing as a Ned rig.

This is just not as easy as it sounds, I have had years of practice teaching this.  I'm sure both Bo and Dock especially Dock does this a lot.  Bo can but prefers other methods and there are many.  Pete Wenners told me today it's for sure a great way to catch them but he just hates doing it.  It can take a big portion of your time during the trip to just get the folks fishing it correctly or maybe they never get it.

It is a method that for every fish my  clients catch, I could catch 5.  I'm a pretty sucky fisherman, but this is kind of my deal.  I have mastered over the years being able to follow the contour of the bottom from shallow to deep and be able to reel and PULL the bait keeping it in the strike zone for a longer period of time than the majority of my guests.  I will not fish 99% of the time when we are doing this as they will bite me and its just not fair.

Dave Wiebenga gave a nice report on this earlier today.  Being able to know the kind of stuff the staging fish are on is important and a lot of times there are just a couple there.  At other times its loaded.

I had a good friend and client last week that just watched me.  He said he had no idea you could move it that slow without it hitting the bottom.  Today Phil Stone's client the last few minutes of the day said, " gosh durn Phil I think I have it after 4 hrs."  Phil told me his first words to them were to move the bait slow and the last words to them after 4 hrs. were to move it slower.

Bill to your question, most derby fishermen are not going to fish like this.  its hard to fish that slow on the derby clock.

I Had the best teacher on the lake in Bill Beck.  He would ask me if I was fishing or just throwing it out and reeling it in.  It's not like watching grass grow, but its pretty close.

Good Luck

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I was catching them on a pointer with the boat in 25. The other 2 guys in the boat wanted to get closer to the bank because they saw one spawning under the walkway back at the dock. I'd rather catch them coming UP or IN than on the bank. You gotta catch a couple to convince them. I kept saying we need to get out a little deeper but 25 ft seemed to be the compromise. Its hard for some to do but with the clear water forget the bank out to 5 foot. 

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9 hours ago, Bill Babler said:

Bill to your question, most derby fishermen are not going to fish like this.  its hard to fish that slow on the derby clock

and right there you have the difference many times in winning tournaments and not winning.  it might seem to be slow fishing, but you can't say that when you tally things up at the end of the day.  when bass are suspended as many are right now in certain areas of the lake, you better learn to swim a lure at the level of the bass.

back when we really had trees in the lake, we rarely ever fished the bottom at night.  we swam lures through submerged tree tops out in a lot of water.  as can be noted by bill's success, it is worth anyone's time and effort to learn the technique.


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