The tournament will be Oct. 14-16, with launches and the first two days' weigh-ins at Table Rock State Park. Launches will begin at 7 a.m. and weigh-ins the first two days will be 3 p.m. The field will be cut to the top 30 pros who will fish the final day, with the weigh-in at Bass Pro Shops at Branson Landing starting at 4:30 p.m.
Rain may not be conducive to fans watching the weigh-in, but legendary pro Guido Hibdon of Missouri said it could be a plus for the fishing on Table Rock.
"You can only play for rain," said Hibdon, who has fished Table Rock and Lake of the Ozarks for decades. "In autumn on the Ozark Mountain lakes, if you can get some rain the bass will come out of the woodwork and spinnerbait fishermen will catch them."
Shad and bass - largemouth and spots - are moving into the back of creeks feeding the scenic lake that has more than 750 miles of shoreline. Water levels can fluctuate between 43,000 and 52,300 acres, and recent reports have Table Rock at a healthy level.
Hibdon said even without precipitation, the PAA Tournament Series field should have enough options for everyone to spread out and do something they like.
"You can catch them a lot of different things this time of year, and if the weather gets bad you definitely can," he said. "You'll have guys fishing shallow and others looking for the deep bite. Docks, obviously, will be checked out pretty hard. A big, deep-diving crankbait and even swimbaits may be good, too. And they always bite a jig."
Angler registration will be Wednesday, Oct. 13, at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield starting at 3:30 p.m. Fans are encouraged to attend to meet the pros for autographs and photos, and then stay for free seminars. More free seminars will be held at Bass Pro Shops at Branson Landing beginning at noon on Saturday, Oct. 16, prior to the final weigh-in.
PAA pro Kelly Powers of Missouri lives has fished Table Rock for years and said the field could find unexpected changes next week.
"I've gone into a lot of tournaments in October thinking something would be the deal, and it's been totally different," Powers said. "Things can turn around in a short amount of time but we'll have a good tournament.
"There probably will be a strong drop shot bite along with a spinnerbait bite in clear or dirty water. I don't know of any lake in the country with such a good spinnerbait bite. With the lake being clear and deep, with no wind and calm conditions that could be big."
Powers said if conditions "are right" then it could take 17-20 pounds a day to win. But if Table Rock is being stingy, then 13-15 pounds could be a good catch.
The PAA and Recycled Fish will host a lake cleanup on Oct. 16 starting after the pros launch from Table Rock State Park marina. Volunteers interested in helping collect trash from around the lake can get more information by visiting www.RecycledFish.org
Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce: www.bransonchamber.com
Table Rock State Park Marina: www.stateparkmarina.com
Branson Landing: www.bransonlanding.com
About the PAA:
The Professional Anglers Association is a non-profit organization that gives professional anglers a unified voice in order to aid in the growth of the sport of professional bass fishing. The PAA also aims to administer educational programs to the average angler, to increase enjoyment of the sport, and to embrace sound conservation practices to further the future of the sport.