Forsyth, Missouri – With amazing September weather, 4.73 Fish Per Angler, 60% of the field with a limit, and Patrick Bowman’s 21.5″ Big Bass, we finally had a great all-around tournament in 2023. Bull Shoals showed out for Stop #6 of the 2023 MoYak Fishing Series Kayak Bass Trail sponsored by Old Town Kayaks.
After the dust settled, Troy Enke, with 90″, narrowly edged Lance Burris’ last-hour comeback by 3.25″.
Rookie Zachary Woolverton secured yet another top-ten finish and has a 13-point lead in the AOY race. His efforts set the stage for a battle at our final event on Lake of the Ozarks. Chad Davison and Lance Burris will try to chase the rookie down on their home lake in October. On the team side, Dorman Hughey and Troy Enke rode Dorman’s pattern to a decisive win over Team Glide or Die (Jake Pruett and Tyler Cokely).
Here are your top ten for the 2023 MoYak Stop #6 Bull Shoals presented by Everhart’s Outdoors.
Troy Enke – 90″
Lance Burris – 86.75″
Cole Armer – 83.25″
Lyle Dube – 82.5″
Pat Lassek – 82.25″
Zachary Woolverton – 81.75″
Jerry Cornelius – 80.25″
Josh Keatts – 79.5″
Michael Sandlin – 78.5″
Patrick Bowman – 78.25″
Let’s take a closer look at the top five finishers and hear how they solved the puzzle on Wappapello in their own words:
What was your strategy going into the day?
- Troy – Just hope for a limit after hearing all the negative dock talk leading up to the event.
- Lance – Just start covering water till I started to put something together.
- Cole – My plan was to cover water and fish channel swings, then fish brush piles in the afternoon.
- Lyle – My strategy going into the day was to stick with a summer pattern, although the water temps seemed to have dropped pretty dramatically, Fishing steeper rocky main lake banks.
- Pat – I was hoping for a mid-80s temp on tourney day…well, I got it but the fish weren’t biting.
Were you able to prefish and did you find anything that helped you on game day?
- Troy – No, I went in blind and leaned on my team partner’s advice.
- Lance – Did not get time to prefish.
- Cole – I didn’t get any time to prefish.
- Lyle – I practiced Friday but very little. I was pretty sure I knew where I wanted to spend my time and didn’t want to beat it up much. Caught a few fish and that definitely gave me confidence for tourney day.
- Pat – I had a good prefishing day before.
What was the general tackle you used on game day?
- Troy – Popper with a feathered treble on the back, Mid-sized Plopper in T-1000 color, Spro Bronzeye Frog, and Jackhammer. Abu-Garcia BlackMax bait casters, 13 Fishing Blackout 7′ M/H rods, TrikFish 20lb Camo Mono (30lb braid on the frog rod).
- Lance – Kistler 7’3″ mh paired with their 8.1:1 Chromium reel throwing a black and gold CrockOgator buzzbait and a white spook.
- Cole – Mid-size whopper plopper and a small Yo-zuri popper.
- Lyle – Throughout the day I mixed in a few different baits to see what I could make work but a 1/2 OZ Jig on a 7’ 6” casting set got all my bites except for one.
- Pat – Jig and plastic worm.
How far did you have to travel to find your fish?
- Troy – I began catching fish around 7 a.m. around a mile from the ramp. I covered 8 miles during the day and only had three bites after noon but all were over 15″ and all on the frog on shady bluff banks.
- Lance – Caught my fish within a quarter mile of the ramp and covered about 5 miles.
- Cole – I traveled about 2.5 miles from the ramp.
- Lyle – I did not travel very far at all to find my fish. Never went more than a mile from the ramp I used.
- Pat – I had about a 30 min pedal to my spot which didn’t matter cause it was still dark for 20 more minutes… During this time, I got hung up twice.
What depth range were you looking for (what was your water temp/clarity)?
- Troy – I was looking for an all-day topwater bite but I didn’t get one till around 11 a.m. Water temp in the 60’s to start then mid-70s the further down the lake I went. Clarity seemed to change from inches to several feet every 1/4 mile.
- Lance – Found everything 2-3′ deep by the bank or in the center of the channel blowing up on shad. The water temp was 70 and 6″ to 4′ of clarity.
- Cole – I ended up catching them in the very backs of pockets, everything being in less than 4ft. Water visibility was 4-5ft and water temp was 80 degrees.
- Lyle – I was looking for deep banks. Really just pitching the jig up and working it down maybe 12’ before pulling it back. The water was not clear at all. Maybe a foot of visibility, which is comfortable for me.
- Pat – 3′ to 6′
Was there anything else special about the day?
- Troy – I was excited to see grass growing so far down the lake. I hope it holds! I caught two limits of fish over 15″ from 7-11 a.m.
- Lance – Half of my limit came from random blowups throughout the day.
- Cole – I found a very unique bite. The bass were corralling tiny minnows in the backs of pockets, and the only thing I could get bit on was the popper that looked almost exactly like one of those minnows struggling on the surface. After I figured out that was what was going on, I ran about 8 pockets and caught fish in all of them.
- Lyle – The only thing really special about my day kind of plays in the next question. The special thing was the amount of bites I was able to get. I did not fish clean through the morning.
- Pat – Figured out the smallmouth moved in and the largemouth wouldn’t bite that well… I didn’t get my first fish til around 8. I knew the morning bite was done, so I just stuck it out and fished buck brush in 3-6 feet of water with a jig and plastic worm and was able to scrape together a limit of mostly smallmouth.
Did you lose any fish that would have made a difference or do you have a story to tell about your biggest bass of the day?
- Troy – I fished clean for once and it paid off. My biggest demolished my frog next to a bluff transition. It all happened so fast that I didn’t have time to get nervous and it jumped next to the boat and then came off in the net after a five-second fight.
- Lance – Didn’t lose anything, fished pretty clean. The biggest bass of the day came with 20 minutes remaining, blowing up on shad.
- Cole – I lost one good one that would have culled me up another inch or two. The fish jumped right next to the kayak and went higher than my head. Most acrobatic fish I’ve seen…
- Lyle – Lost 3 fish I’m certain would have helped. It was extremely frustrating but I kept pitching.
- Pat – I missed one nice one on a buzz bait in the morning, and that was it. Around mid-day, I was fortunate enough to get a 19.50″ largie to bite.
See any wildlife worth mentioning?
- Troy – A couple of beavers and several deer.
- Lance – Saw a wild Dorman in his natural environment.
- Cole – Saw two nice bucks crossing the road on my way to the ramp.
- Lyle – No report.
- Pat – No report.
- Zachary – No report.
Compared to Beaver, Table Rock, Taneycomo, and Norfork, where would you rank Bull Shoals in the White River chain?
- Troy – I’d place it third behind Taney and Table Rock.
- Lance – I would rank Bull Shoals as the top Lake for catching fish there any time of the year with Taneycomo only coming in second because of the size of the bass in that lake.
- Cole – I love Table Rock, but with all the attention and pressure it’s getting right now, I think Bull Shoals might fly under the radar as the best lake on the chain. Taneycomo is a different animal…
- Lyle – Bull Shoals is the only lake on the river chain that I’ve fished yet. I’ve had a really great time on the two visits I’ve had and it is beautiful. I look forward to fishing all the lakes in the chain though! I get to fish Table Rock in two weeks!
- Pat – No report.
What does the rest of your season look like?
- Troy – I have two MoYak events and the Big Bass 250/Mo Kayak B.A.S.S. Nation event on LOZ then maybe some Moyak winter events.
- Lance – I’ve got 5 tournaments remaining, the river championship, Bassmaster Susquehanna event, Moyak LOZ, Moyak Championship, and Big Bass 250.
- Cole – This was probably the last event of the season for me, I’ve got a one-year-old son and another on the way so I’m gonna be busy with dad duty. But I always enjoy fishing with MOYAK when I get the opportunity!
- Lyle – The rest of my first season is getting short! I’m currently looking at two more events in the next two weekends! A local Kansas City event, the Jackson County Kayak Bass Tournament, and then the KAMO classic on Table Rock.
- Pat – No report.
Do you have any sponsor or personal shout-outs you’d like to give?
- Troy – Huge shout-out to Dorman Hughey for putting me on the pattern he found. Thanks to my wife and family, Eco Fishing Shop, and Z-PRO Lithium!
- Lance – Shoutout to Kistler, their products never fail me. Crock O Gator, EcoFishingShop, Robohawk, Bonafide Kayaks, YakAttack, Ole Blue Tackle, ABC Mowers.
- Cole – Just a major shout out to my beautiful wife for taking care of our son while I got to go fish!
- Lyle – I have no sponsors but shout out to my wife Lauren because she lets me get out and learn this stuff and she has been super supportive of all the traveling and being away! She’s the best. And shout out to my brother Adrian! He’s my guy in this and we’ve been having a blast!
- Pat – None.
Fish caught – 293
Total limits – 37 (60%)
Margin of victory – 3.75″
Twenty+ Club – Patrick Bowman (21.25″) Zach Armstrong (20.25″)
Trash Pot – Josiah Rangel – 14″ Walleye
Smallest Bass Award – Chris Moyher 7.25″
Air temp at launch – 65
Air temp at takeout – 82
Water temps reported – Mid 60s to mid 80s