An Early Morning on Table Rock Lake

VisitMO.com fishing and outdoors expert Scott Pauley works to land the one that, eventually, got away.

The sun had not yet risen, and the slightly more than gentle breeze had the air temperature hovering somewhere between cold and go-get-a-big-jacket cold. Thus began a recent fishing and photography expedition on beautiful Table Rock Lake in Branson.

Led by our outdoors expert and professional fisherman Scott Pauley, we hit the water before sun-up in search of lunkers. The VisitMO.com crew was Pauley (@FishInMO for Twitter junkies), Jim Murphy (@VisitMOFish) and yours truly (@MoTravelGuy).

Pauley was doing the fishing – he is the expert, after all – Murph was on the video camera and I was snapping pictures for future Missouri Division of Tourism projects (this writing included).

Pauley shows off one of his catches on Table Rock Lake.

As the sun began to rise, Pauley found a spot he liked and started casting in search of big bass. While fishing an area of open water – where one would assume the depth to be several hundred feet – Pauley told us he was actually fishing in about 45 feet. We were floating atop a large bluff; Pauley was casting a crawdad-like bait and dragging it along the top of the unseen land mass in hopes of tempting large bass in search of food.

Pauley landed a small-mouth once we got to this location and he later hooked another reel bender that, unfortunately, released before it could be landed. I’m pretty sure it was a marlin, but Pauley and Murph agreed that was unlikely.

As we moved from point to point around the lake, Pauley shared with us some of his tips and insights on fall fishing in Missouri. Unfortunately, one of his insights was that the weather pattern of the previous day – a front that brought cloud cover and a bit of rain – might make the fishing conditions difficult on this bright, sunny Tuesday morning.

He was right; during the next several hours, finding fish proved to be fairly difficult. Pauley landed a couple of big bass at different spots around the lake, but success was limited. Still, it was a beautiful day and getting to see a generous section of the lake was loads of fun.

One of the most unusual parts of our trip involved a spring of teal. As it flew over our heads, wings flapping in unison, the spring sounded like a jet aircraft. It was pretty awesome.

Although Pauley didn’t land as many fish as he’d hoped, it was great to be out on the water and to spend time on one of the state’s most beautiful lakes. As a side note, Pauley and Murph fished for trout on Lake Taneycomo before I arrived in Branson; with no witnesses to contradict their claims, they boasted of catching about 20 each in a span of two hours. What is it they say about fish stories? …

Anyway, if you’re interested in the outdoors, head over to our YouTube channel to see videos of Pauley talking about fishing in Missouri. Check back often, as footage from our recent trip should be available soon.