If you thought stop #3 on Truman was hot, yikes! 78 at launch, water temps in the mid 80’s and an air temp over 100 degrees at awards had all 80 of us and the most of the bass a little stunned.
Another grinder derby was the dock talk as many anglers who prefished were finding numbers but not much quality. Those who found both were very quiet about it. The dog days lived up to their name as our FPA (fish-per-angler) was 3.25 and only 39% of the 80-person field (a new Stockton kayak tournament record!) submitted a limit of bass.
In the end, we had a tie for first broken by Jared Fosnow’s absolute Stockton Lake Freak, a 22″ largemouth he said hit a spook early Saturday morning. Here are your top ten for the 2022 MoYak Stop #4 Stockton Lake presented by Everhart’s Outdoors and hosted by The Bait Shop.
- Jared Fosnow 83″
- Troy Enke 83″
- Chris Robbs 79.5″
- Chad Davison 79.25″
- Micah Funderburgh 78.75″
- Scott Kroger 78.25″
- Lance Burris 77″
- Tyy Ward 76.25″
- Zach Woolverton 75″
- Chris Moyher 73.25″
- COMO Crushers (Chris Robbs & Chad Davison) 158.75″
- Burrito Banditos (Richie McMichael & Troy Enke) 154″
Let’s see how the top five figured it out;
What was your strategy going into the day.
Jared – The plan was to throw topwater until daylight then to make laps up and down a series of bluff points and small cuts in the bluff working a jig and shakey head. With hopes of being in the right places at the right times to get in on the schooling fish busting shad like practice.
Troy – The forecast that I saw said clouds most of the day. I tied on several topwater lures and just went fishing.
Chris – My strategy was to stay in the creek channels near deeper water, I figured between the heat and the water dropping they would want to be near deeper water. I also wanted to cover water quickly in the morning while the fish were shallower and more active because I had a feeling that once the sun was up and the heat turned on, the bite was going to slow down. Part two of the plan was to when the bite slowed, so would I, then start picking apart the areas similar to where I was getting bites or go back to areas where I got bit.
Chad – It seemed like the bass were feeding up on baitfish, and I felt like the early topwater bite would be critical. I had 4 rods rigged up with various topwater baits.
Micah – Fish shallow flats and secondary points early targeting bass feeding on shallow baitfish and then I didn’t really have a plan after that.
Were you able to prefish and did you find anything that helped you on game day?
Jared – My first time bass fishing Stockton was last weekend. I got about 6 hours of prefishing in but on a totally different arm of the lake. But it really helped me narrow down the baits that were working and structure that was holding fish. It was probably one of the best days of fishing I’ve ever had. Mid morning I found some above average size fish schooling up and busting shad in the middle of two large pockets/small coves. There would be 3-5 fish completely out of the water at one time busting shad. It was a unreal bite that lasted for just over an hour before the wind shut it down. One thing I found was that dragging the Shakey Head worm and football jig instead of shaking or hopping them was really key to getting bites. The smallies I caught wanted it almost sitting still.
Troy – No
Chris – I was able to pre-fish. I got down to the lake later Thursday evening and got in the water for just an hour or two just to try and get a feel for it. Went to another area early Friday morning to do some recon and found a pattern early in the morning and then just covered a lot of water the rest of the morning to find similar areas where I had found bites and to rule out as much water as possible. What I think was the biggest help was actually ruling out as much water as I did within the area, which helped me stay focused on the areas where I got bites come tournament day.
Chad – I did prefish on Friday, and I had a really bad practice only catching one bass and losing a few. The topwater bite was the only thing I had success with.
Micah – Since it was my first tournament I made it a point to get a good day of prefishing in earlier that week. I pretty much did exactly what I did when I prefished because it worked.
What was your best finish before this one?
Jared – This was my first bass tournament on Stockton. 20 years ago I did take the win over some buddies on a weekend camping/walleye trip 🙂
Troy – 6th in 2020
Chris – Stockton has probably been my best lake since I started fishing MoYak in 2020. I believe in 2020 I had like a 20th place finish there and then last year I also cashed a check with a 4th place finish.
Chad – I had a 2nd place finish last year – tied for 1st but lost the tiebreaker.
Micah – First tournament
What was the general tackle you used to win?
- Heddon Super Spook in Chrome/Pink with the saltwater hooks replaced with Gamakatsu TGW trebles.
- 3/8 oz CrockO-Gator Head Knocker buzzbait with the factory old school Black skirt and Gold blade.
- Zoom Magnum Finesse worm in Green Pumpkin on a 1/4 oz Crock-O-Gator Shaker Football Head. I dyed the last 3/4” of the tail with Chart Spike-It and also lathered it in Garlic Smelly Jelly.
- Dobyns Spotted Bass Special jig in PB&J living rubber with a Strike King Rage Craw trailer in Green Pumpkin Purple Swirl.
- Rainy Day Jigs hand tied Grey bucktail/hackle jig for casting to suspended fish using LiveScope. All thrown on Ark Invoker Pro and Ark Essence rods with Daiwa Tatula reels spooled with Seaguar Invizx fluorocarbon.
Troy – 1/2 oz white buzzbait with a gold blade, 3/8 oz Misfit hand-tied jig with beaver trailer, Whopper Plopper (Bone), 1/2 oz Jackhammer black and blue with a rage menace trailer
Chris – Got on them early with a buzz bait. Spent the rest of the day dragging a jig and a worm looking for upgrades.
Chad – All of my fish except one was on a topwater popper wrapped in Crankwraps Spotted Tail Shiner. The other was on a fluke when the fish missed the popper.
Micah – 7ft spinning rods with top waters and then mostly deep cranks and drops shot later in the day.
Anything else special about the day? Big Bass Story?
Jared – A couple things.
The First would be making the last-minute decision Friday evening to fish it or not because of the forecasted temps. On Thursday afternoon the AC quit for the third time on my truck. Which was a tough choice knowing I had already made the hard decision to scrap my practice location and fish brand new water I had never seen. Deciding to not let the heat get me down and then having that area pay off after the hours I put into researching it was pretty special.
Next would is getting to see/talk to all the guys and gals at the awards. It just never seems to be enough time to see and talk to everyone. Getting to meet new people and catching up with friends we don’t get to see much is the part I have always enjoyed the most over the years while traveling all over the country for crappie and bass events.
The coolest part of the whole day but also a little bit disappointing. I was about 10 minutes into the morning and maybe 50 yards from the ramp. I was throwing topwater just off the bushes along the bank when I heard some fish blow up behind me. When I turned the kayak around I saw what looked like a stump sticking out of the water with the moonlight shining on it. It later turned out in the daylight to be a 15’-20’ tree that had washed up in the shallow water. I picked up the Spook and made a cast to the right of it and then to the left. Just as it made it past the “stump” it got slurped under and it got me wrapped up in the tree. I see-sawed it back and forth a few times and it came right up and out of the water. Not much of a fight really until it hit the net. A little disappointing because it would have been cool to see it happen in the daylight but probably a good thing I didn’t see how big it was which could have led me to do something different than what I did.
Troy – I went up a creek and found a channel swing with a pocket of deep water and a bunch of brush. I threw the buzzbait near the brush and began the retrieve and a bass blew up on it but didn’t get it. I was about 10 feet from the brush and my trolling motor was taking me right into it, I threw in again and brought it close, the fish smashed it again and now I had a problem. I had to fight the fish and get the Xi3 remote in my other hand and turn on spot lock before I hit the tree. About that time the fish lunged and the reel malfunctioned and I had an immediate backlash…. CRAP. I then had to reel through the backlash and try to net the fish. It was a clown car sh*t show. Danny Johnson was right around the corner from me. I’m sure he heard me having a come-apart.
Chris – One good thing about the extra early start was getting to see the entire sunrise, it was a beautiful morning sky. Also got to spend some time talking and goofing off with the other guys at the boat launch which is always fun.
Chad – I was really impressed with my team partner, Chris Robbs. He located the area that was holding fish for us which led to both of us cashing a check and getting the team win. My big bass was the last bass I caught of the day. It was 18″ and I caught it at 7:04am. I couldn’t get anything going after that.
Micah – No
See any wildlife worth mentioning?
Jared – Other than the 1742 deer I dodged on my 1 1/2 hour drive down to the lake. I did get to see a water snake eating a small frog along a bluff.
Troy – A wild Croc
Chris – No
Chad – No
Micah – I saw a family of otters during my prefish and the momma otter tried to chase down my top water.
Lose any bigguns?
Jared – Just one in the 15 1/2”-16” range on the Spook when trying to reach the net to the wrong side of the boat to land it.
Troy – I lost 3 on topwater but I don’t think they would’ve helped-at least that’s what I’m telling myself, lol.
Chris – No
Chad – I caught 6 and lost 1 – seemed like a good one, but no idea how big it was.
Micah – My first fish of the day hit about 4 feet from the yak and, as I was fumbling around for the net he came off… She wasn’t massive but definitely would have helped my cause. Learned to put my net in a better spot.
How far did you have to travel to find your fish, what depth range did you target and are you willing to share the general area of the lake you chose? What was your water temp/clarity?
Jared – I covered about a 3/4 mile stretch of bluffs and went back to some key points and cuts several times throughout the day. Not 100% sure but I believe it was the Big Sac arm. Kind of mid-lake.
On the bluff points and cuts, the key was 8’ to 12’. That seemed to be where the drop-off was into deeper water. They were holding on top of the drop early and then suspended just over the edge of the drop-off later in the day.
The schooling fish were mostly in 25+ feet of water and I caught several right out in the main lake channel in 45+ feet of water. I would motor to where I saw them busting and then used the LiveScope to stay on the bigger schools of shad that had bass under them. I would wait for the bass to start breaking them up and push them to the surface.
I would call it pretty clear and over a foot of visibility but I’m used to fishing in the mud at Truman. Not sure on temp. I am replacing my 9” Garmin with a new Humminbird but ran out of time to get it installed before this event and I don’t have a temp sensor on the 1222 LiveScope unit.
Troy – I launched in the Son’s creek area south of Ruark and went upstream about a mile then worked my way back to the ramp and tried to fish anything that looked juicy. We had about 6 inches of visibility and a ton of bait. Around 10 am I began fishing the rip-rap and landed 3 upgrades in five casts on the buzzbait. Then I fished about 2 miles toward main lake hitting cuts and coves and trying to get as many casts as I could. Spot lock helped me in the wind and I was able to get one upgrade on the jig by picking a main lake pocket full of laydowns apart with it. I think I traveled around 5 miles total.
Chris – It was about a 30 minute drive from where me and my teammate Chad stayed. I chose to fish a creek arm off of the main lake and just started covering as much water as possible from close to where I launched. Super shallow up against the bank in the morning then anywhere between 8-16 feet the rest of the day.
Water Temp: 83-86 degrees
Clarity: 2-3 feet visibility
Chad – I didn’t go far from the ramp. Upper end of the lake. Topwater – pretty shallow. Water was mid-80s and less than 2′ of visibility
Micah – About a 10 min peddle to my starting spot, fished a smaller finger in the upper lake portion. I caught almost all my fish in 1-3 ft of water early and then failed to locate/catch them after that.
Did the weather affect your bite?
Jared – It affected where I ended up fishing. I was on much better quality fish last Saturday while prefishing the Mutton Creek area. But with the predicted winds out of the Southwest I knew the other area would probably be unfishable. So I spent several hours each night studying maps and google earth at the end of the week trying to find something that would setup the same as what I found last weekend.
Troy – I was hoping for more clouds and was very thankful when they covered up the sun. My Hobie’s air conditioner has never worked. The wind was fishable where I was and I can’t say enough good things about spot lock. I’m very happy with that purchase so far. It’s not going to beat Burris in a drag race but sometimes the tortoise wins. Let’s just hope I don’t get too comfortable standing up while cruising along at 3 mph and end up turtling the whole yak.
Chris – The hot sun getting up in that clear sky definitely slowed things down for me, but I was still able to catch fish throughout the day.
Chad – Early morning was key – once the sun was high, it got tough. I thought the wind would help, but didn’t help me.
Micah – The heat and wind definitely didn’t help.
Do you plan to fish the remaining MoYak schedule?
Jared – I try to fish everyone I can but between work and chasing my youngest daughter around a couple states for traveling volleyball and soccer it makes it tough. I do have several weeks of vacation left I need to start using so maybe Pomme, Bull Shoals and for sure the state championship on Table Rock.
Troy – Norfork will depend on the weather. I should be able to make the rest if my elbow doesn’t fail me again.
Chris – That is the plan. My goal is to crack that top 10 in AOY and I am currently hovering just outside of it and need to get rid of 1 or maybe 2 scores that I currently have to get that done with all these great anglers we have!
Chad – Definitely
Micah – I plan on being at Norfolk and Pomme but my schedule won’t line up for the other events.
Fish caught – 260
Total limits – 31 (39%)
Margin of victory – 0″
Smallest Bass Award – Nathan Head 3.5″
Air temp at launch – 78
Air temp at takeout – 101
Water temps reported – Mid 80’s
Results — 2022 Stockton
|Broc Van Tassell||73||—||12||254|
|Steve Van Tassell||68.25||—||18||239|
|James Curtis (Ozark)||0||—||67||149|
Results — 2022 Stockton Team
|The Chatter Boys||116.50||—||7||272|
|Shake & Bake||106.25||—||8||268|
|Western MO Sticks||98.25||—||10||260|
|Crankin & Spankin||90||—||11||257|
|Slappin Da Bass||81.25||—||12||254|
|Bourbon and Bass||74||—||13||251|
|The Midwest Sticks||63.5||—||16||243|