Getting set for Grand Lake

It’s back to business for me this week as I’m preparing for the fifth FLW Tour event of the season this coming weekend on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake.
Last week, I took a break from the fishing and put in some tourist time with my fiancé, August, in Nashville, Tenn. and Branson, Mo. Both cities were along the way between Lake Chickamauga, where I spent some time, and Grand Lake, where I was headed, so the travel worked out well.
We had a great time and took in as much as we could in three days in Nashville, including trips to the Grand Ole Opry and the Nashville Zoo. We also spent a couple of nights downtown listening to live music.
There are literally blocks of cool little bars and establishments with live music playing every night in this city. I can guarantee you it’s a lot of fun.
Branson was really neat, as well—a city of about 10,000 that is one of the major tourism attractions in the Midwest U.S. Located on the shores of famous Table Rock Lake, Branson hosts a lot of bass anglers throughout the year and has an abundance of theatres and fun things to do for people that don’t visit for the fishing.
There was a ton of stuff going on while we were there.
For me, the highlight of the stops that we made was getting to visit the Table Rock Fish Hatchery, which grows around 800,000 rainbow and brown trout per year for stocking streams throughout Missouri.
We were able to see trout of all sizes, including some real giants. I really was wishing I could grab a fishing rod out of my truck to do battle with a few of these critters!
We were able to feed some young trout, so it was a really neat experience—something that I would have loved to do when I was a little kid.
It takes the hatchery about 15-18 months to grow the trout to 12 inches in size, at which point these are released into streams around the state for anglers to catch.
On Grand Lake, things have been going pretty good. Through the first part of the practice, I’ve been catching a few fish so hopefully I can put a good plan together to catch some fish during the tournament, which starts tomorrow (June 6).
I’ve been able to catch some good fish shallow early in the morning on topwater baits. Then once the sun gets high, I switch my focus to deeper water in the 17- to 25-foot range, fishing with deep diving crankbaits and jigs.
Grand Lake has great bass fishery, so we’ll see what kind of weights it will take to be competitive in this tournament.
After the tournament, I have to take some sponsor people fishing for a couple of days on Grand Lake, then I finally get to come home next week after being gone since May 6.
I’m really excited to get back to see everybody at home and catch some walleyes, which I’m dying to have a good feast on.
My time at home will be short-lived, though, because I’m headed back to Tennessee for the last FLW Tour event of the season at Lake Chickamauga. After that tournament, I will be back in Sunset Country for the rest of the summer, which I’m looking forward to.
I tell all the people I meet on my travels that you couldn’t pay me to live anywhere else during the summer—and that’s really the way I feel!