"It has been unseasonably dry and warm in Southeastern Missouri," said Pickens Plan pro Randy Blaukat of Joplin, Mo. "The fish never stopped biting; it has been like a pre-spawn all year. It is going to fish more like the first week of April rather than the first week of March.
"Anglers should be able to find fish just about any place they go on the lake and do well," Blaukat continued. "I think I would concentrate on the lower third. The water tends to be a little more clear and the fish seem to be a little more active down there.
"There are a lot of crawdads that the bass are feeding on now - I would try using crawdad crankbaits. Jerkbaits, spinnerbaits and jigs will work as well."
According to Blaukat, the mild winter has kept the bass shallow. He believes that anglers will be surprised at how shallow they will be able to catch fish. Normally the bass would be suspended out deep this time of year, however, right now the bass are bank-oriented and he thinks anglers will be successful fishing in 5-foot depths.
Anglers will take off from Port of Kimberling Marina located at 72 Marina Way in Kimberling City, Mo., at 7 a.m. daily. Weigh-in on Thursday and Friday will be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday's final weigh-in will move to Walmart located at 18401 State Highway 13 in Branson and begin at 4 p.m. Takeoff and weigh-in are free and open to the public.
Pros will fish for a top award of $35,000 plus a Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Co-anglers will cast for a top award consisting of a Ranger 177TR with 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $5,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met.
The EverStart Series consists of five divisions - Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of four tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the Strike King Angler of the Year title along with $5,000 for the pro and $2,000 for the co-angler. The top 40 pros and co-anglers from each respective division will qualify for the EverStart Series Championship that will be held on the Ouachita River in Monroe, La., Nov. 1-4.
The EverStart Series tournament on Table Rock Lake is being hosted by the Port of Kimberling Marina.