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Table Rock FLW Tour Major

Luke Clausen -- Competition Wrap-up
Saturday, March 31, 2012

Photo: Megabass

> 48th (10, 27-05)

I didnít spend enough time looking for pre-spawn fish and kind of got wrapped up in all of the fishing swimming around the bank. The size wasnít really there -- I caught a lot of 2 1/2-pounders. I really didnít see much bigger than that or catch much bigger than that. I caught one 4-pounder fishing out a little bit with the Alabama Rig and probably shouldíve focused more effort on that.

I wouldnít say it was tough to figure out because it was so easy to go to the bank and catch some. I got wrapped up in that because it was so easy to go to the bank and swing around and see some and catch some. It wasnít that hard. Itís easy to get caught up in catching fish when I shouldíve been looking for better quality. Thatís probably the biggest thing. I probably shouldíve spent more time fishing a little deeper and out away from the bank and catching better fish.

On (day 2), you start thinking about points. I know I do anyway. And of course making 10 grand versus making 4 grand or no money. You want to get to that point, too, so you ask yourself, ĎDo I stay here and cull for ounces or do I go try to be a hero and risk not catching anything?í I hung around the bank and culled up and Iím glad I caught what I did just to make a check. I didnít put myself in any kind of a position to have a chance at winning by doing that so youíre conceding defeat at that point.

Jay Yelas -- Competition Wrap-up
Saturday, March 31, 2012

FLW/Gary Mortensen
Photo: FLW/Gary Mortensen

> 66th (10, 25-11)

I spent some time in practice in the one creek where a lot of the top guys are fishing. I knew itíd be good in there, but I couldnít get on them. I fished it for maybe 6 hours on the first day of practice and I donít know if the water was still too fresh and muddy or what, but I only caught one nice smallmouth there and that was it.

I practiced right through the area where half of the Top 10 are fishing and I didnít catch them so that was biggest regret or mistake of the week.

I felt good about (day 2). I didnít go to the right water. I fished a different creek and threw some crankbaits and spinnerbaits and jigs and tried to get the bigger bites, but couldnít do it. I basically had nothing, so I punted and went back to bed-fishing to get some points and caught 12 pounds in the last 3 hours to catch a limit.

My Typhoon sunglasses were important sight-fishing. Just about everything I ended up weighing in came sight-fishing. Those Minn-Kota Talons were key, too, because they go down 8 feet and at a lake like Table Rock it helps on those little deeper banks.

There were five or six fish on beds in every pocket in the lake. That was a no-brainer, but it was hard to figure out how to catch the big females. I never could figure it out the whole week and thatís why I finished 66th. Thatís kind of how my week went.

Luke Clausen -- Day 1
Thursday, March 29, 2012

> Day 1: 5, 14-12 (47th)

I probably did as well as I thought I could, but it couldíve been better. I didnít find many new fish. I caught fish in places I hadnít fished in practice. I lost a 6- or 7-pounder, but those things happen.

Tomorrow, Iím going to do a little of everything. Iím fishing for pre-spawn fish, but I canít get many bites doing that. I think I maxed that out today. I had one that was 4 pounds, but that might be what youíll get.

Jay Yelas -- Day 1
Thursday, March 29, 2012

> Day 1: 5, 13-06 (62nd)

I didnít do as well as I was hoping to do. I just did the wrong thing today. I went sight-fishing. I wish I would have mixed in some other stuff. Most of the guys in the Top 10 arenít sight-fishing. On the last day of practice, there were a lot of big females right up on the bank. Some were spawning and some were just cruising, but the waterís come down a foot since then.

There are tons of males still on beds and theyíre all like 3-pounders. I think the water just needs to stabilize a little bit.

Iím going to change it up tomorrow. I wonít go sight-fishing. Iím going to different water that had some good stuff and I didnít fish any of that today. I could tell right away today that the fish on beds would be super-hard to catch. Itís just not quite the way it needs to be to win sight-fishing.

Jay Yelas -- Practice Wrap-up
Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Photo: BassFan

It wasnít much different from yesterday. I think I found another pattern that was working good today so I feel good about that. I found a lot more fish, but Iím not catching many fish over 3 pounds. There are so many 2 1/2- and 3-pound fish in this lake.

This is like the fourth day in a row at 80 degrees or higher and thatís why things are changing so fast. There are a lot of fish moving up to spawn. There are still some Alabama-Rig fish, too. There are so many different ways to catch them, but thatís typical for springtime. You can catch them shallow flipping, looking at them, just about any way. There are going to be a lot of things working. The key will be getting an edge on everybody and find the bigger fish. Thatís the name of the game in these tournaments.

I think itíll take a couple of 20-pound days and a couple of 15-pound days and youíll do fine here. Itís just those 4-pound and better fish are so hard to find.

Luke Clausen -- Day 2 Practice
Monday, March 26, 2012

Photo: BassFan

Itís not living up to the stories and the weights, for me anyway, that have been taking place here. I havenít caught any big stringers. Iím catching a fair number of fish, but no real giant stringers like these tournaments here recently.

I think itís a case of the water warming up. I donít think Table Rock is as good when itís warmer like this. More of them are getting on beds and scattering whereas when itís cold, theyíre in smaller areas and are a lot easier to target. Now, weíre starting to see a lot more fish move up on beds and this lake is changing pretty darn quick.

Itís going to be plenty warm this week. The first morning we were here the water was 57. Itís 66 right now. Itís gotten quite a bit warmer and theyíre making a pretty good push toward the bank right now. There is still a fair amount of water in the bushes, but I donít know what theyíre going to do with the level in the future.

Iím going to go explore some more area. I donít know really where I want to be at all. Iíve caught smallmouths, largemouths and spots in all different areas of the lake, and really they all seem to be about the same size. Iím just not catching too many big fish.

Thereís definitely going to be a fair number of fish caught on the Alabama Rig. It depends on the weather, too. There will be a lot more if we get some wind or nastier weather.

Jay Yelas -- Day 2 Practice
Monday, March 26, 2012

FLW Outdoors/Gary Mortensen
Photo: FLW Outdoors/Gary Mortensen

Itís definitely different from what I expected. The fishingís rather difficult. I havenít found an easy way to catch a good stringer of fish. Iím more or less just shocked that the fishing is as tough as it is. The conditions are just phenomenal and I thought it would be off the hook. I hear all these great reports about how good the fishingís been here all winter. The lake came up about 4 feet just last week and I think that has messed up the bite because it seems to have freaked them out or something.

I havenít had a good practice so far, but we have one more day and I hope I can figure out something good. You can catch fish. Itís just really, really difficult for me at least, so thereís nothing really too good to report. Weíve had chamber of commerce weather and I think that has a little bit to do with the bite being tough. This lake is notoriously tough on a sunny, calm day. If you get a little cold and some wind, itís a whole different deal. I think weíre supposed to have some wind and cloud cover during the tournament so I think these last 2 days will probably be the 2 toughest days weíll see here.

You have to throw (the Alabama Rig) here. Itís been winning tournaments all winter on this lake. You can catch them on that, but itís not like youíre going to go catch 20 pounds if you pick it up. Itís a grind with that, too. Iíve been disappointed with the quality of the fishing for a lake thatís as good as this lake is with the conditions being what they are. Here we are in late March and itís 80 degrees and the waterís up 4 feet in the bushes. It just shows you how little we know about these fish.

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