Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Family Vacation on Table Rock Lake 8/15-17/13

After visiting beautiful Table Rock Lake for each of the last two years, my parents decided to buy a time share. Table Rock is tauted as one of the best bass fishing lakes in the country. My first two trips sure gave me that impression. You can read about my first trip in 2011 here. It took a little under 10 minutes to haul out a monster bass. And, the fish never stopped biting.

Well, this year, we brought the Skeeter with us so that I didn't have to rent a boat for the bargain price or $60 an hour, not counting gas!

As you can imagine, I was really excited to be able to fish for 3 straight days! I have to admit that I was a little concerned with the fact that the area had experienced massive flooding the week before. I knew they would be dropping the water level a foot or more per day. But, hey, we were booked for Big Cedar and I knew that we would have fun regardless. How could you not! You have to see this place to understand!

The Wilderness Club at Big Cedar has TONS of features that I can't even begin to list. Tons of pools, hot tubs, a Lazy River, and great eating! It is one of the most family friendly places you can explore! Bent Hook Marina has a great selection of baits straight from Bass Pro. They have boat and equipment rentals and great amenities!

 Naturally, my wife and kids were really stoked about playing in the pools, lounging around, and eating. But while they dreamed about it in the early morning hours, I was out fishing.

Well, that's where the fun begins.

I started out fishing some areas I had experience in, but nothing was biting. I threw a wide range of baits from wacky rigged PowerTeam Lures Sick Sticks, to Strike King 6XDs, top water plugs, you name it. Not a bite. Same for my dad. We fished from 7am to 12pm without so much as a bite. We moved everywhere and fished everything from dirt banks to 25 foot drop offs. When we arrived back at Big Cedar, I talked to several of the guides and pros who use the Bent Hook Marina as their home base. It was tough for them too. No fish caught. So, I shrugged it off, loaded the kids and my wife, and went pleasure boating.

Later that afternoon, my sister and brother in law arrived from Springfield and we enjoyed a great dinner and then went to swim. In the back of my mind, I just KNEW that the tables would turn the next morning.

A weak hit or two over the course of the next morning showed that it had not changed. Again, frustrated, I parked the boat and enjoyed the fun...trying to forget about how much it cost us and how much effort we went to to drag a boat 10 hours just to get stumped. But, again, we had a blast in the afternoon playing in the water!

Later that afternoon, I ran into a local fisherman who seemed to know what he was doing. He pulled out several NICE fish out of the box and showed them to me. Sucking up my pride, I asked that he give a novice a few pointers. I told him that I suspected the fish to be deep, although I had fished 20-25 feet of water with everything I had. He told me to fish deeper. Find standing timber in 30 feet and drop shot.

Drop shot? In 30 feet? Neither are something I know anything about. Don't get me wrong, as far as TVA lakes are concerned, I can fish "deep water", such as Tournaments on Wilson Lake. But, that's 18-22 feet.

Ok. So I was fishing in the wrong place. I could fix that. All I had to do was learn how to drop shot and find standing timber in 30 feet. The lake is COVERED in standing timber, so it shouldn't be hard to find. Right?

Oh the irony. See, when I sold the Stratos, I sold it WITH my Hummingbird 798. The Skeeter doesn't have any modern electronics. So, the only way to find standing timber was to troll around, peering into the water, hoping to see a tree top. Every once in awhile I did, but if I had a bite, or I was hung up, or the wind blew me off...I would never find it again. To add insult to injury, the only good fish i hung all day threw me at the boat....as you can see from the vid.

So, now I am HARDCORE about buying a nice unit. If I would have had a nice fish finder, I could POSSIBLY have done well. Big stretch, I know. But I feel like it would have made a difference.

Anyway, it was Aubree's 8th birthday, so nothing was going to keep me down. We had a great birthday dinner, visited Bass Pro, and relaxed!

Check out Aubree's Bee Suit for tending her bees!