First Missouri Qualifier Held at Table Rock Lake

Early Spring Weather presents Anglers with additional Challenges

As we all know, early spring fishing can be tough at any lake but especially at Table Rock.  As a clear water Ozark highland impoundment, it hosts all three native Missouri species in good numbers.  This adds a new variable for anglers, do they concentrate on the larger Black Bass, the more aggressive Spotted Bass or the more predictable Smallmouth.   Practice proved tough for most of the anglers, with some large fish being caught but numbers hard to find.  Anglers explored all parts of the lake from the deep, clear water bite near the dam to the dirtier water up the Kings and Long Creek.  In the clearer water temperatures ranged from 44-48 degrees with temps as high as 54 degrees in the more stained water up the rivers.  Alabama rigs, Wriggle Warts and Swim Baits proved to be the most reliable baits, but some jerk bait fish were caught in the clear water with spinner baits and jigs working in the stained water.   

Typical of early spring tournaments, the weather proved to be a variable for all the anglers.  Our cold spring has delayed the normal spring migration but the warm up the week before our event had the fish moving daily.  Saturday started cool but clear skies and bright sun quickly warmed the participants.  The shifting winds foretold the incoming front and unfortunately the heavy rain hit us just as weigh-in began at about 3:00 o’clock.  Sunday’s weather also was a challenge with shifting winds and warmer temperatures.  Since most fish were positioned on primary and secondary points, the wind turned the bite on and off as the wind shifted hourly.   

The boater side was won by one of our perineal front-runners in Robert Hime. He led the event from wire to wire with a Saturday bag of 17.42 pounds which he followed up with 15.32 pounds on Sunday for a total of 32.74!  Like many anglers Robert struggled finding numbers in practice with only 3 keepers on Friday, but like all good anglers he made the right adjustment on Saturday and hit some new spots. His first two keepers came on Commemorative Creations wart style bait and followed it up with a swimbait fish.  This still left him with only 3 keepers at noon, so he made his second adjustment and it proved to be key.  Over the next 2 hours on his new location Robert boated 11 more keepers on swimbait!  Obviously, Robert started Sunday on his hot location but also saw some schooling fish in the back of a nearby cut and picked up additional fish to allow him to cull up to the winning weight.  The small swimbait he used was small Table Rock shad color on a ¼ oz jighead. 

Second place was won by an old friend of Missouri TBF, Cole Finley. It was nice to have Cole fishing with us again and it was no surprise that he found two limits on Table Rock lake even in tough conditions.  His Saturday bag was 12.53 which he followed up with 16.56 on Sunday for a total of 29.09.  Cole worked hard each day with an A-rig to entice bites from deep trees.  His local knowledge allowed him to focus on the most productive individual trees and used his electronics to quickly determine if active fish were present and willing to bite.  By working his A-rig erratically, he triggered fish that were following his bait to bite throughout the day in varied conditions.

Rounding out our qualifying field was a new TBF member, Justin Layton. He followed up his first day bag of 12.05 with 13.92 on Sunday for a total of 25.97.  Justin spent practice time in the dirtier water throwing a crankbait but was not satisfied with the bite and made an adjustment for tournament day.  Electing to fish the cleaner water on the main lake he concentrated on deep trees with an A-rig.  Location was key for him, concentrating on bluff walls and/or channel swing banks.  His bite was deep, so he had to count his rig down 15 feet and patiently retrieve the rig at a very slow speed. 

Our strong boater field proved that good anglers can always find fish, even in changing conditions.  We had 3 other boaters find a limit of keepers every day with Scott Hill, Brad Tyer and Chris Embry each sacking 10 fish.  Tom Kaufmann had a strong showing on Saturday, culling through multiple keepers to sack 17.28 pounds which included the big bass of the tournament of 7.14 pounds.  Each of these anglers used the A-rig as their primary bait, including the big bass for Tom.  The A-rig contributed the most fish for this event but since the fish were deep, several of the submerged trees now have new ornaments hanging from their limbs all over Table Rock Lake.

The Missouri TBF has one of the strongest co-angler group of any circuit in the country and they did not disappoint at Table Rock.  Fishing behind a quality group of boaters can be tough, especially when the bite is on an A-rig but these co-anglers figured it out.  Leading the field with a late charge on Sunday was Jason Morisaki.  Not being deterred by a tough day on Saturday, Jason brought 11.41 pounds to the scales on Sunday that included 5.99 big bass!  He found his fish by concentrating on steeper, wind blown secondary points with an A-rig and a jerk bait. 

Finishing second was one of our consistently competitive co-anglers, Gary Martin. He caught a mixed bag of Black, Spotted and Smallmouth fish each day with a total bag of 11.20 pounds.  He focused on the 10-25 foot depths around Kimberling/Shell Knob area.  He used a jerk bait for the shallower fish and an A-rig to probe the deeper depths.

Sean McBee returned to the Missouri TBF to add to our already strong co-angler field and took the last qualifying slot with 9.79 pounds.  Like most anglers Sean tried several baits in practice but focused almost exclusively on the A-rig during the event.  He found the smaller bladed rig with 3-4 inch baits produced the most bites.  Color was also key in the clearer water so he used fat swimbaits in the darker colors without additional flash/glitter.  Unfortunately, his fish were also in the trees so he donated several A-rigs over the two days to the lake.

Table Rock is our first Qualifying event which leaves all boaters and co-anglers with 3 more opportunities to qualify for the National Semi-Final.  The next chance to qualify is at our second annual Buddy Bass event at Lake of the Ozarks on May 19th at Pa-Ha-Tsi (see website for Entry form).  At this event the winning team qualifies for the National Semi-Final as long as both members agree to participate at the event.  The next traditional Qualifier tournament will be at Truman Lake be June 8-9th.  Finally, each club in good standing with a minimum of 6 dues paid members on April 1st will be eligible to send their club champion boater and co-angler to the event (all dues must be paid to Missouri TBF by 4/1/19). We look forward to seeing everyone at the upcoming events and want to thank you for your support of the TBF.

For full results check out our results page


May 19th, 2019

6:30am to 3:00pm

LAKE of the Ozarks – Pa He Tsi Ramp


80% payback

$20.00 per boat optional for 100% payback on Big Bass Pot


Entry fee $150 for an entry form CLICK HERE

Includes a Chance to Qualify for the TBF NATIONAL SEMI-FINAL

And an Opportunity to move on to the TBF National Championship and BFL All-American 

The 2019 Season is set for Missouri TBF!

             At the December Board meeting the Missouri TBF voted on an exciting schedule for 2019.  Once again, the schedule will include 2 separate solo tournaments along with the annual Team Championship, providing each member with 3 opportunities to qualify for the National Semi-Final events.  The first qualifier will be held at Table Rock Lake (Mill Creek Ramp) on March 23 & 24th.  The second event will be at Truman Lake (State Park Marina) on June 8 & 9th.  If mother nature cooperates anglers should have the opportunity to catch some big sacks at each event.  With the clear water of Table Rock and the cover rich environment of Truman lake anglers will be challenged to show their mastery of a wide range of techniques if they are to produce the kind of bags necessary to reach the top of the field.

               Missouri TBF’s two-tournament schedule gives anglers twice as many chances to qualify for the National Semi-Final.  Unlike some circuits, the Missouri TBF has two separate statewide tournaments which helps clubs and their anglers avoid family and other commitments each year and still have an opportunity to qualify for advancement to the TBF National Championship, BFL All-American and even the Forrest Wood Cup. This is not a “series” format, instead the top 3 anglers and 3 co-anglers from each event will move directly to the TBF National Semi-Final this fall.  This means that anglers can fish the Qualifier, the National Semi-Final and the TBF National Championship all in a matter of 12-16 months!

The Qualifying tournaments are a traditional “draw” format, with boaters and co-anglers being scored separately.  This means boat partners will not be fishing against each other during the day, which creates a friendly experience for everyone (see Tournament Rules for full details). For 2019 the new lower entry fees will be maintained with an optional side pot available for those that wish to take a chance on a cash prize! At the Qualifiers anglers and co-anglers will be fishing for daily big bass payouts, trophies and expense paid trips to the National Semi-Final.  Additionally, annual Angler and Co-Angler of the year prizes and trophies will be awarded to the top point getters over both tournaments.

               In order to participate in the Qualifiers anglers must have annual dues and individual entry fees paid at least 7 days prior to the event. Entry forms for the Qualifier are available on the website or from your club President.   Clubs or individual anglers who are interested in joining the Missouri TBF should contact Tom Kaufmann at (573)216-4980 or Dennis Maggart at (816)718-0335.  We have clubs across the state that are looking for boaters and co-anglers so if you are an experienced tournament angler or a weekend guy wanting to have fun and learn more about how to catch big bass please give us a call. 

See 2019 Missouri TBF Bass Federation Tournament Qualifier Entry Form on website

The Second Annual Missouri TBF Team Championship

The Missouri TBF is excited to announce details for the Second Annual Missouri TBF Team Championship May 18th at Lake of the Ozarks (Pa He Tsi Ramp).

This event is open to all anglers, allowing us to introduce non-TBF members to the advantages of participating in our programs.  The winning team from this event will have the opportunity to fish the 2019 TBF National Semi-Final. 

Cash awards, trophies and lots of draw prizes will be available along with special prizes for TBF Members that bring a new TBF member to this event.  Further details and entry forms for this exciting new tournament will be available soon but please put this date on your calendar. For more information on this exciting event please contact Joe Hughes at (573)216-4232.

See 2019 Missouri TBF Bass Federation Open Buddy Bass Tournament Entry Form on website

Record-Breaking 272 Teams at 2018 SAF Missouri High School State Championship on Truman

27 SAF Teams Advance to National Championship Held in Conjunction with the 2018 High School Fishing World Finals

The Missouri TBF hosted the 2018 SAF Missouri High School State Championship on Saturday, April 14 at Truman Lake.  A large field of excited anglers were greeted with a cruel trick from Mother Nature.  A warm week of spring weather was followed up on Saturday morning with a blast from old man winter with air temperatures at launch in the low 40’s.  Temperatures continued to drop all day with winds switching to the north and blowing at 15-25 mph.  This made for a tough challenge for our field and scratched many anglers plans of making any long runs up the Grand or Osage arms to find warmer water and early spawning fish. 

While the weather may have been unpleasant, it did not deter a huge field of young, enthusiastic anglers from hitting the water in search of largemouth and spotted bass.  With the help of  Missouri TBF’s new partners, National Youth Fishing Association (NYFA), the event attracted a field of 272 teams! This was truly an amazing turnout and a testament to the enthusiasm for high school fishing in Missouri and the quality of the event.  The event had outstanding support from the TBF national office, NYFA staff, local TBF volunteers and Long Shoal Marina.  With the generous support of TBF National sponsors (Lowrance, Ranger Boats, Hummingbird, Minn Kota and Cabelas), state sponsors (Lews & Dobyns Rods) and individual TBF members (Ken Whitfield, Don Heiser and Patrick O’Neal) Missouri TBF was able to give every participant the opportunity to enjoy the fishing and take home several additional prizes.

Topping the field was the team of Zak Hobbs and Tristian Konenik from Seckman High School (Imperial) with 5 nice keepers for 16.62 pounds (anchored with a 4.67 pounder).  They caught their fish using a white spinner bait (Indian and Colorado blades). The cold-water temperatures (48-49 degrees) made fish lethargic but they were able to trigger strikes by working the bait slower. They paired the spinnerbait bite with a white bladed jig using a swim bait trailer. Slow rolling the bladed jig triggered some of their bigger bites.

They concentrated on water 4-8 feet deep, focusing on secondary points in a specific cove near the dam. This cove had several wind-blown secondary points which attracted staging fish moving in looking for early spawning spots. They stayed in the same cove all day, bouncing from point to point covering all angles of the point.  Since this was the only place on the lake they found active fish they decided to grind it out.

Both anglers wanted to say a thanks to their boat captain for sitting out there all day in the cold and helping to keep them focused in very tough conditions.  In addition, they wanted to thank their sponsors 13 Fishing, The Rod Glove, Duns Sporting Goods, and Woo Tungsten.

Coming in second was a team from Mansfield High School of Dawson Barnett and Holden Dennis, bagging 4 fish for 16.11 pounds anchored by a big bass of 6.31 pounds.  They caught all their keepers using a spinner bait and home-made jig.  They had a total of 6 keepers and several shorts mostly fishing up the Tebo Arm.

The third-place team was made up of Devon Rathbun and Caleb Haines from Parkview High School (Springfield) with a sack weighing 15.45 pounds. They used a citrus shad and chartreuse/black square bill to catch most of their fish but also threw a spinner bait and rock crawler. 

Bites were tough with only 8-9 fish but 6 were keepers and proved to be the right size.  They ran up the Grand arm to some dirtier water and found a warm cove with 55-degree water.  They would like to thank their sponsors and especially their boat captain, Russel Hand, for making that long 20-minute run on a very cold day.

Finishing fourth,  was local favorites Rider Smith and Austin Hansen from Lincoln High School with 4 fish for 15.25 pounds (big bass of 6.32).  Finishing fifth,  was River Clunn and Zack Pierce from Ava with 5 fish weighing 13.99.

The big bass of the tournament was caught by Cater Fletcher & Jesse Anthony with a 6.51-pound lunker.  The big female hit a Megabars Jerk bait in pocket on a transition bank from chunk rock to gravel.

The outstanding turnout and commitment by the anglers means that Missouri will be able to send 27 teams to the High School Fishing National Championship.  This outstanding event will be held at beautiful Pickwick Lake in Florence, Alabama from June 26-30.  Contestants will not just be competing for a national title but also for scholarships and prizes such as laptops, gift cards, big screen TV’s, rods/reels and more.  Check out our website to register and learn more at:

 The Missouri TBF would like to thank all of the participants for their support and cooperation.  The anglers showed great sportsmanship and patience, which is required with such a large field of contestants. We are sincerely looking forward to having this next generation of anglers advance through the college ranks and into our adult TBF clubs.