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First Time On Table Rock


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Family planned a trip to Branson so I brought my boat along to get some fishing in. I live in Northeast Illinois near Wisconsin and fish for everything but love catching bass. Most areas I fish back home are mud bottom, shallow and heavily weedy. There are some deep quarry type lakes where I live but I dont have any experience fishing a deep reservoir type system like Table Rock. My buddy knows a guide down here and he gave me some tips via telephone on drop shot and big jigs. I have to admit I was intimidated fishing such a large system like this with no experience. We got here last Sunday but I did not fish until Monday. I launched from the State Park by the dam each time. Hit the water Monday at around 6am and tried a bay hoping to find some bass chasing shad up in the shallows. Only saw a couple blow ups but I wasnt fast enough with my spook. Worked a deeper secondary point with a KVD 6XD crank bait and hooked into 2 nice spotted bass but both times I let them jump right at the boat and they came unbuttoned. I needed to learn these spots were a lot more aggressive than the typical large mouth I catch back home. Ended up catching a nice flathead catfish on the same lure. Bad storms rolled in so I didnt have as much time on the first morning as I wanted.

Monday night I took my brother in law and 2 of his kids out for a couple of hours. They are just starting to learn how to fish so I just tied on some weighted swim baits on to make it easier for them to cast. My bro-in-law caught a nice spotted bass near the State Park Marina. Alittle while later I caught this nice one off a point on a 6XD crank. On the way back to the ramp I saw a huge school of what turned out to be big white bass on the sonar. Was able to catch one but with my family being new to fishing I was spending more time unhooking snags and birdsnest issues.

Tuesday night hit the water for a little bit before dark with my bro-in-law and his sons. We only managed 2 spotted bass both on a Zoom trick worm Texas rigged.

Wednesday hit the water solo at 6am. Was hoping for a topwater bite but nada. Another boater told me the topwater window was very short that morning. I ended up fishing a drop shot in 10-20 fow off a point and caught 2 spotted and 1 smallmouth. Was using 4" robo worms. I ended up heading South of the Rt 86? bridge and caught a few nice spots on a 3/4 oz football jig in about 10-20 fow. I was fishing chunk rock hoping for smallmouths. Bite got tougher as it got hotter. I found some boat docks over 30 fow and casted some 1/2 oz spoons into the empty stalls and caught a couple nice spots.

Friday I hit the water around 7am. A little later than I wanted but its my vacation. Caught first fish of the day on a point on a drop shot. It was the only fish I had for a little while and then took the wife and mother-in-law for a ride around the lake. During the ride I saw a bunch of shad busting on the surface off a main lake point so I stopped the boat and one shot, one kill, landed a spot on a Strike King red eye shad. Next cast caught a smallmouth. This area was a point that had deep 100 ft water on one side and a 10-30 on the other. I was right in the mother load of fish busting everywhere when my wife gets a call from her father who was watching our 2 year old back at the dock and he needed her to get back so I had to leave the holy grail. These fish were busting the surface over and over again. Not the 5-10 seconds you normally see. Went back to the hot area with the wife and with in a few minutes we had a double on. I landed mine in the net and I could see her fish was much, much bigger and I tried to land a double trying to be a hot shot. Big mistake. I caused her line to break and lost a huge fish. I felt really bad. Hers was caught on a shakey head and mine on a drop shot. I caught a few more spotted bass before wife was getting too hot and I dropped her back off at the dock. Saw this little shad floating around so I took a quick photo. Seems like this point I was fishing holds fish throughout the day as I was catching fish in the middle of the afternoon. I think the shad are hanging out in the 100 fow and then get driven into the point where the bass heard them up. Did a little exploring and then the bro-in-law and his son wanted to come out so I picked them up at the dock. Caught this nice smallie on a Red Eye shad just before they got to the parking lot. Took them out and my bro-in-law landed a spot on a drop shot and my newphew got this pig on a shakey head. Headed back to the dock area and my nephew hooked into a huge fish but he tied on a bad knot and lost the fish at the boat. Looked like a hog of a white bass but not sure.

I found the toughest bite on this lake came in the hour before dusk. I really had trouble landing fish during this time period. Even when I marked schools of what I believe were white bass could get very few to bite. I also noticed the water wasnt the gin clear I was expecting. I am guessing it was the time of year. Probably made it easier for a beginner having some stain in the water. I did find it hard to make myself get away from the shallower water. Even when I was fishing 20-25 fow I was trying to make myself fish deeper but my confidence wasnt there.

I had been checking the posts on this forum and found the information very helpful. You have a great lake here and I look forward to coming back someday. We are leaving first thing in the morning. Only got a few days of fishing in but had a blast. I attached some of the photos.

Tight lines my friends.



















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Well made it to Cuba, MO. Blew the motor in my Trailblazer SS. Good news is its only $1,500 to tow it and my boat back at the same time. Wait, that's not good news ha ha. This is gonna cost me about $5000 or more but i still had a good time fishing Table Rock.

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sorry bout the trailblazer, but glad you got to fish the rock, i live in MO and that lake is stil hard for me to fish.

-'84 Ranger 395V w/ 225 Mariner EFI

"A Bad Day Fishing, Is Away Better Then A Good Day Of Work"

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