SHOALS A FANTASTIC VACATION SPOT, AND THAT'S NO BULL
The final regular season event of the Lady Bass Anglers Association trail will be held on Bull Shoals in June, and one thing is for certain, it will highlight what a great vacation spot it is for the family. With over 1,000 miles of shoreline, Bull Shoals is the largest lake in Arkansas- so large it spills over into Missouri. Many visit Bull Shoals for the renowned bass fishing where many would argue finesse fishing was born. But with proximity to Branson you can be sure the fun does not end with fishing.
The dam is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the lake, located in north central Arkansas on the Missouri-Arkansas state line, enjoys a solid reputation for lunker bass. The dam was completed in 1951- the fifth largest concrete dam in the USA. Bull Shoals, sitting above the White River, has a surface area of 45,500 acres and 1,000 miles of rugged shoreline. Bassmaster Magazine selected the impoundment as one of the country's Top Bass Lakes with abundant largemouth and spotted bass, white bass, crappie, channel cats, and walleye. Largemouth weighing up to 12 pounds are caught here.
A fish attractor program to improve habitat and enhance fishing success has resulted in over 450 attractors being placed in Bull Shoals. A map showing their location is available from the Visitor Center. The "attractors" are positioned in clusters below the water’s surface, where flooded timber creates large brush piles serving as shelter for young fish, minnows and shad and attracting predator bass. These attractors are marked with blue and white reflective signs on the shoreline.
Largemouth Bass tend to hold to wood cover like laydowns and brush piles, Spotted Bass will move to chunk rock points and bluff ends and Smallmouth Bass will hold on isolated rock piles and mixed pea gravel / rock banks. Popular baits include; suspending jerkbaits like Smithwick Rouges or Lucky Craft Pointers, 4” single tailed grubs on ¼ oz. jig heads, tight wiggling crankbaits like a Storm Wiggle Wart and small jig and craw combos such as a Jewel Eakins’ Jig and Craw. After the fish have spawned they will move into open
water and suspend. Topwater baits like Cotton Cordell Redfins, Heddon Spooks and Lucky Craft Sammys are all very effective baits. Summer offers some of the most exciting action both early and late in the day. Schools of Spotted Bass chase shad on the surface during the low light hours. Again, topwater baits will catch these aggressive bass.
During the heat of the day conditions can be tougher. Fish will move out to deep ledge rock points and channel banks up to 50’ deep. Jewel football and spider jigs matched with Chompers’ jig trailers, tube baits, and Carolina rigged french fries or finesse worms are all key baits during the summer. Slowly work the bottom in these areas paying special attention to any wood or rock cover you may find. Largemouth will tend to be shallower than Smallmouth or Spotted Bass, and will hold in the brush piles. Texas rigged Berkley Power worms and Jewel Eakins’ jig and craw combos are your best bet in the heat of the day.