Going after big fish on Taneycomo is a challenge, but I think I'm close to getting it narrowed down. I spent a week on Taney last week and fished three ways, exclusively--dragging cranks (which Duane and I have written about), jigs, and throwing jerkbaits. Jerkbaits produced the biggest fish this time around
I am a big fan of the 6th Sense Provoke 106x and 106DD jerkbaits in Ozark Juice, Grape-Treuse, and French Bone Pearl colors. They are only $10, as opposed to a Megabass (which I do like, too, but at $25 a pop they can get expensive). Word must have gotten out because they are almost sold out of everything. But here's the link: https://6thsensefishing.com/collections/6th-sense-provoke-106-jerkbait. We also threw Spro McStick's, Megabass 110s and 110+1s, and Luck-E Strike Rick Clunn STK jerkbaits. Anything that looked like a shad worked well, as expected.
When they cranked the water on in the afternoons we boated up to the cable and beat the heck out of the banks all the way to Lookout. Then did it again. We'd average 2 fish on a drift, which is not a ton, but the fish were always 15-22-inches. My buddy hooked into a giant brown below Rebar but it broke the line. He set the hook, it jumped three times (giving us a great look), and swam straight at the boat. He gained the line but as soon as it reached the boat, it immediately turned for a big run. At that point, it was over. The brown was at least 26-inches long, but I think it was closer to 28-inches. I got good looks at him in the air and under the water before he swam out of our lives.
When the water was off, we jig fished on the bend above Monkey Island. There's a big school of fish up there and most were 13-15-inches. We also beat the banks around the landing. On one occasion I had a tank of a brown chase my jerkbait out from the shade right across from Garfield's on the bluff bank. Right above the dike about 30 feet. He was 10-pounds or so, easily. Duane and I have talked, and I think if you hit the bluff banks from the landing down you'd get into some big ones. I have caught some nice browns across the lake from the resorts on Lakeshore Drive over the years, too. Just didn't get a chance to try it this time.
Another thing we were catching was giant white bass by the cable on the south side of the lake. They schooled up toward the early evenings every day (from 4-6pm) and we caught 2-4 each day. All of them measured 16-17.5-inches long, and were easily 2-3 pounds. Such a blast!
Went with Duane early one morning and ended up catching three nice walleye, too. That day we ended up with seven species from Lookout to the cable (whites, walleye, kentuckies, smallies, browns, rainbows, and a sucker) on the jerkbaits.
I landed a 22-inch rainbow where the whites were schooled up, too. Weighed 4 lbs and fought like a tank. On the last day, finally landed a 20-inch brown below the boat ramp. Didn't weigh him.
It was extremely fun (and tiring) but required some persistence. If you're going to fish this way, stick with it! It can be hard work, but you know the reward is swimming around out there. We worked them all different ways, too. Jerk-jerk-pause, constant jerking to the boat, and sometimes 6-8 jerks and a pause. They hit each way. Just try different techniques and when you get bit, replicate that--until it stops working! We went some drifts without a bite, and on the second drift on the same bank hooked into a 17 or 18-incher. We had a bunch of fish following and "rising" at our jerkbaits on every drift, too. They were usually browns in the 18-20-inch range. Sometimes they bite, but 9 out of 10 they would investigate and scurry back to the bottom.
My grandpa even landed a 19-inch rainbow, his biggest trout in eight years!
We were using 8-lb test on medium-heavy baitcasting rods. We were prepared for the big one, but he had a little more in him than we liked! Until next time...