"In the Boat" presented by Jewel Bait Company
R&H 42 Annual Winter Bass-O-Thon
Bull Shoals Lake, December 12th
7-3 pm Lead Hill
Cloudy/light rain all day with 5-15 mph wind
35-45 degree with a 52 degree surface temp
Lake level "High" 674 (20' above normal pull)
Team David and Carl Wooten
1st place 5@ 17.65
Practice: Me and Dad had not fished Bull together since July and my last trip to Bull was in
September for a small club (night) tournament. Things are a bit different now with the lake up 20'
above normal pool. Although the dams are running 8 units around the clock and an additional 2-4
flood gates - The water around the shore line is still well up into the tree's and all the parking lots
are for the most part under water. Neither of us had the chance to get out the prior weekend. Dad
had to guide on the river and I had a club tournament on Norfork. We decided that We would go
one day during the week. I had won the club tournament on Norfork with a nice limit of 14.05
pounds and caught several other nice keepers that day on Jewel football jigs. The fish there had
moved out of the brush I had been fishing around the old shore line in the coves. It was easy
picking for us and We figured Bull may fish the same since both lakes are pulling water
aggressively. Thursday would be the day me and Dad finally got to head out. We launched at
Oakland and the parking lot was still completely under water. It was foggy with a nice north wind not
to mention 13 degrees!!! We headed into Mountain creek and I soon found out that we should have
slept in a little. I just could not get warm. We fished the North side of the creek to block us from the
bitter cold wind and just fished until the sun got up and started to warm things up a bit. It was slow
on the bluffs but we did manage a few good keeper smallmouth out around 40'. We then started
working our way out of the creek around 10am. When we finally found the blacks in a steep cove. It
pumped out 3 quality fish all over 3 pounds and one of them around 4.5lbs. We had only moved
about 10' down into the cove and had plenty more area to cover. We left there and fished 3 more
areas like it and ended our day around 1pm submitting to the cold weather and having caught 9
keepers that would have been around 16-17 pounds. It was a very good practice for us.
Tournament Day: The weather had changed but at least it was much warmer than our practice
day. We launched and the temp gauge on my truck read 35 degrees and It would warm up to 45
even though the sun never came out. We were boat 17 out of 50 and when our number was called I
headed to the cove way down in Mountain creek. It was a 30 minute run and it seemed like every
boat in the tournament blew by us. With our little 150 It felt like we were in slow motion and all I
wanted to do was start fishing!
As we pulled up no-one else was in site, In fact we never seen or heard a boat all day until we ran
back up the lake. I looked at my watch and it was 7:30 as I got settled in and started casting to the
steep wall. I started us out a little further just in case but no bites until we reached the area were the
ledge ran out from 20'. The ledge was loaded and We boated 9 keepers and 5 shorts in a 15
minute flurry. Our smallest keeper was around 3 pounds and our largest was a 4.60 black. We
continued fishing it for awhile but it seemed to have just gone dead. That seems to always happen
when we start culling fish back into the school. Before leaving Dad wanted to start back at the
mouth and try spinnerbaits and cranks. I threw the crank while He fished behind me with the
spinnerbait. When we reached the key area again Dad hooks up with another nice 3+ black and
We culled once more. We jigged it again before leaving and I got another keeper smallmouth but
he was only around 2.5 and would not cull. We headed to our other area's and kept catching lots of
keepers but found it hard to cull. Our last area we found in practice Dad catches a nice 19"
smallmouth that would just barely cull. We then ran back to the cove where we started and I catch 2
more keepers, a 3 pound smallmouth and a Kentucky that would just barely cull the 19" smallmouth.
It was 1pm and we decided to run back toward lead hill and hit some of the coves we like to fish in
that area. We pulled into our first cove and caught 8 more keeper smallmouth from 2-3 pounds but
could not cull. That confirmed the bite was on in that area as well and I knew we didn't have enough
weight to win without a kicker. We fished hard the rest of the day and never could cull again. We
ended our day having caught 40 keepers with our best 5 at 17.65 and our largest at 4.60. The
weight held on and our big bass was only beat by one team.
Final Thoughts: It was a great day on the water! We never missed or lost a fish all day and caught
fish all day as well. The quality was good as well. It was just one of those days were I felt truly
blessed and a little lucky. We had found one spot that pumped out our winning weight (a hole every
angler dreams of) plus several other quality fish and every move we made resulted in success, It
was just one of those days I will never forget.
Equipment: 7' G-Loomis, 15lb. seagaur, 5/8 oz
Jewel Football jig & Jewel Eakins' craw= 39 keepers (4 weighed)
7' G-Loomis, 20lb trilene xl, 1/2 Nichols pulsator 1 keeper (weighed).