2012 Bassmaster Elite Series Recap – Bull Shoals Lake

I finished 18th with 45 lbs. 6 oz. and was pleased with my finish as I increased in weight every day.


Before practice ever started, I thought this event would be a clear water sight fishing and finesse bite.  Boy was I wrong!  The water had an algae bloom and was dingy, and most of the fish were either pre-spawn or post spawn.  I found some clear water and looked for spawners for a long time and never found any, so I focused my efforts on post spawners.  I covered as much water as possible and shallow cranked the majority of practice.  I caught around 12 or 13lbs a day in practice.


Day 1: I found some good fish in the back of a large creek in the middle of the lake, and opted to start the day there.  I targeted bluffs, points, and laydowns with square billed crankbaits and creature baits.  I caught a quick limit and was culling by 8:30.  I kept culling for hours and all the fish seemed to be the same size.  At noon, I made a decision that hurt me greatly.  I left fish to find fish, and it did not pay off!  I left the mid lake area at noon and ran 30 miles up river to fish a couple of creeks that I had been thinking about all day.  I went all the way up there and it just wasn’t happening.  I never upgrading again.  I finished the day with 12lbs 15 oz and in 54th.

Day 2: I learned from my mistake on day 1, and I told myself that I would not leave the area that was so good to me the first part of the first day.  I caught fish all day long on the shallow crank, and culled up eary so often.  I had around 13 lbs with 1 hour left, and I knew I needed to upgrade a few more times to make the top 50 cut.  I pulled up to one bank and culled 2 or 3 times with minutes left and that is what I need to advance.  I weighed in 14lbs 13 oz and moved up to 41st.

Day 3: After gaining confidence in my creek, I knew that my areas were holding good quality bass.  I once again chose to grind it out with a square bill crankbait.  I fished as may points and bluffs as I could, and I got three over 4lbs in the boat.  Two of which came in the last hour of the day!  I was actually heading out of my creek, and had a gut feeling to turn around.  I turned around and ran back to a bank that I hadn’t fished yet.  I caught two 4lbers back to back!  I weighed in my biggest bag of the week, 17lbs 10 oz., and missed the top 12 cut by a little over a pound.  I finished in 18th.  

Key Tackle: 15 lb Berkley Trilene 100% fluorocarbon was crucial all week.  I was burning square bills down rocky banks, and never broke a fish off all week.  Berkley 100% fluoro is the way to go.  It is easy to cast and super strong!

Key Equipment: I have never fished as fast as I did in this tournament.  My average speed on the trolling motor was 60.  Optima batteries and 101 Minn Kota allowed me to keep the trolling motor on high all day without slowing down.  I had use a Pinnacle Optimus XT 7.3:1 high speed reel to keep up with the speed of my trolling motor.  It is one of the smoothest high speed reels I have used.

Stay Positive and Don’t Get Stubborn.

God Bless,

Brandon Card