2013 Elite Series Ramada Quest
One reason for that is that Bull Shoals is what BassGold calls an "upland reservoir." And while all water types are patternable – which is why BassGold works so well – upland reservoirs are like the poster children for patterning bass. In other words, catch 'em somewhere doing something, and you can run all over the lake – or a big chunk of it – doing the exact same thing.
Take last year's winner on Bull Shoals as an example. Brandon Palaniuk cranked rockpiles: He had one main spot, but ran up to 10 miles just to crank a single pile because he knew the fish would be there.
KVD on a roll, day 3 Bull Shoals
We spotted Kevin VanDam running up the lake and gave chase. He pulled up to a windy bank and quickly caught two bass that be immediately released. He obviously has his limit.
As you would expect, he's fishing the windiest part of the lake and twitching a jerkbait with authority. He is fishing more aggressively than anyone I've seen in this tournament. Would you expect anything less?
When asked how he's doing, he gives us a thumbs up. Then he promptly catches another bass, which allowed him to cull. Folks, that's three bass in less than 5 minutes. This guy is a bass' worst nightmare.
There's another VanDam victim in the boat, and just as quickly back in the drink.
VanDam pulls up the trolling motor and rockets off.
Limits are where it's at
This early in an Elite season, there are usually a couple of dozen anglers who have limited each day they’ve been on the water. In 2013, though, there was the Sabine River, where a limit was rare. Even Falcon Lake challenged a few anglers. Now, after two days at Bull Shoals, where limits are pretty easy to come by despite the wicked cold front that greeted competitors on the first day, just two anglers have limited each day they’ve fished: Bill Lowen and Ish Monroe.
Lowen failed to make the cut, so his streak is safe going into the next Elite event. Monroe is right in the thick of things here, so his streak is in jeopardy for another day.
They have the two longest current streaks in the Elites. Lowen is at eight. Monroe is at nine and counting. These are baby streaks. The record is 57 straight by Kevin VanDam.
Bull Shoals day 3 AM report from KVD
Bull Shoals Dam
The Bull Shoals Dam is 2,256 feet long. You can drive over it. High concrete railings keep you safely on the road, but the rail is open enough to sneak peaks of both the tailwaters and the lake. Height of the dam above the streambed is 256 feet. The Ozark Mountains tower over everything.
KVD off to a fast start on day 2
KVD boats his 4th fish early in the day on Saturday. Day 2 fishing Bull Shoals.
AOY standings after day 1
Bull shoals tournament history
Bull Shoals was one of the best tournaments in the Elite Series last year. The fishing was outstanding (bassing average of 4.96) though the size of the average bass was less spectacular (2.77 pounds). It’ll be interesting to see how things shake out today.
The only area where Bull Shoals might have disappointed last season was in the size of the daily lunkers. Zell Rowland caught the biggest bass of the event, a 6-13 that struck on Day 2. The other daily lunkers all weighed less than 6 pounds.
In the earliest days of B.A.S.S. events on Bull Shoals, the lunkers topped out noticeably larger. In 1975, Jack Hains (the 1975 Classic champ) had the biggest bass (8-2) in B.A.S.S.’ first tournament on Bull Shoals. Dee Thomas won that tournament and put flippin' in the national spotlight.
A year later, Dan Ray caught an 8-3 in the All-American on Bull Shoals. Then, in 1988, H. Mark Peters caught the biggest bass ever in a B.A.S.S. event on Bull Shoals. It weighed 8-9.
So, the fishing seems dramatically better these days on Bull Shoals — anglers are catching more bass than ever before — but the top end isn’t as big … so far.
day 1 keeper from KVD on Bull shoals
Day 1 keeper from KVD on Bull Shoals.
Weather may lead to a slugfest at Bull Shoals
Hopes of catching bass at Bull Shoals seemed to be blowing in the wind at today's takeoff. It certainly didn't feel like good weather for fishing, with a northwest wind gusting from 10 to 20 miles-per-hour, which flapped the American flag and spun the windmill atop Bull Shoals Boat Dock.
But, as early catches have shown, this lake is getting primed for it's spring explosion. The water surface temperature in the boat dock was 60 degrees yesterday and had cooled to 54 degrees this morning.
That slight, brief cooling isn't going to stop the spawning process. And it's going to get increasingly warmer the rest of the way.
Predicted highs and lows for Bull Shoals:
Friday - 57 high, 34 low
Saturday - 68 high, 43 low
Sunday - 70 high, 43 low
Monday - 71 high, 51 low
It's forecast that there will also be some wind each day, shifting to the south-southeast over the weekend.
This is setting up as a "perfect spawning storm."
Often when you try to predict the weather or fishing, you'll find yourself horribly wrong. So keep that in mind.
But the 12 Elite Series anglers that qualify for Monday's final may be extremely happy that B.A.S.S. officials postponed Day 1 of the Ramada Quest yesterday. The clouds and warm weather that all 100 anglers craved Thursday are predicted to be there Monday, with a SSE wind at 8 mph.
And it would come after a three-day warming trend. The fireworks may just be started at Bull Shoals.
Bull Shoals day 1 report with KVD
Bull Shoals preview with KVD
Day 1 of Bull Shoals postponed
BULL SHOALS, Ark. — Strong storms heading straight toward Bull Shoals Lake, Ark., early Thursday morning forced B.A.S.S. officials to postpone the start of the Bassmaster Elite Series Ramada Quest.
Instead of beginning on Thursday at 6:15 a.m., the Ramada Quest will begin Friday at the same time. A full four days of competition will extend the tournament to Monday. The entire field of 100 Elite Series pros will compete Friday and Saturday, and the Top 50 who make the cut will continue on to Sunday. Only the Top 12 will advance to the final round, now set for Monday.
“Severe storms west of Bull Shoals are going to train through here this morning,” said B.A.S.S. Tournament Director Trip Weldon, onsite at Bull Shoals Lake Docks.
Weldon said he’d been watching the weather closely Wednesday and was awake and tracking conditions since 2:30 a.m. Thursday.
“Oklahoma (directly to the west of Bull Shoals) got hit. Here on the docks we’re already having gusts of wind close to 30 mph. The safety of anglers, staff and fans is of paramount importance. Lightning, rough boating conditions and heavy rains are conditions we take seriously,” Weldon said as lightning flickered in the still-dark skies.
Elite Series pro Charlie Hartley, waiting on the docks for his turn to pull his boat out of the water, said he was disappointed.
“We’re missing a great bite today. And we didn’t fish in practice for the bluebird skies we’ll get tomorrow. Today would have been a power fishing day. Tomorrow will be like a practice day as we turn to different techniques,” said Hartley, who is from Grove City, Ohio.
Reigning Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kan., described his feelings in one word: “Frustrating.”
“It is what it is,” he said, “but this lake doesn’t get rough. The safety concern is there, I realize that. But they’ll bite today. I guess I’ll go get started re-rigging for postfrontal conditions. Under bluebird skies, the bite gets tough.”
For 12 of the Elite pros, the postponement was a familiar experience. On March 24, the Top 12 finalists in the Rigid Industries Falcon Slam on Falcon Lake had a forced day of rest when a wind storm hit Zapata, Texas, the tournament’s host city. The championship round was postponed until the next day.
Looking on the bright side, Hartley said that once the weather system passes through, he could pursue his new fishing love.
“I’ll go trout fishing,” he said, excited about the rainbows he’d been pulling from the White River on lightweight spinning gear. Although the pros were banned from Bull Shoals Lake Thursday, other waters are open to them.
The third event of the Bassmaster Elite Series season, the Ramada Quest offers a first prize of $100,000 and an instant qualification for the 2014 Bassmaster Classic. All participating anglers earn points toward securing a Bassmaster Classic berth. The top points earner will win the prestigious Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title at season’s end.
Bull Shoals is producing!
The Elite Series pros will have plenty to fish for this week -- that is, if local Jay Berry doesn't catch them all first!
Berry posted this photo on Twitter with the comment, "Hit the grand slam on Bull Shoals just ahead of the@BASS_Nation Ramada Quest!"
It will be fun to see what the pros catch out there!
Casey Scanlon - 43-14
1. 14-13, 2. 15-5, 3. 13-12
Terry Scroggins - 43-2
1. 14-14, 2. 14-11, 3. 13-9
Cliff Prince - 42-15
1. 14-3, 2. 14-1, 3. 14-11
Cliff Pace - 41-15
1. 15-2, 2. 14-12, 3. 12-1
Jonathon VanDam - 40-7
1. 15-13, 2. 10-14, 3. 14-5
Fred Roumbanis - 40-7
1. 14-0, 2. 14-0, 3. 12-7
Britt Myers - 40-6
1. 13-5, 2. 14-6, 3. 12-11
Brian Snowden - 39-9
1. 14-8, 2. 13-5, 3. 11-12
Casey Ashley - 39-8
1. 13-13, 2. 12-6, 3. 13-5
Greg Hackney - 38-12
1. 13-11, 2. 12-0, 3. 13-1
Jason Christie - 38-8
1. 14-15, 2. 11-8, 3. 12-1
Chris Zaldain - 37-14
1. 14-0, 2. 13-9, 3. 10-5
Kevin VanDam - 36-14
1. 13-9, 2. 9-13, 3. 13-8
History & Notes;
Day 1: Bradley Roy
Day 2: Ishama Monroe 5-4
Day 3: Edwin Evers 4-11