Fishing & Boating News

Dillard Delivers The Goods At Table Rock Open

by: Helen White, Bassmaster

Jim Dillard of West Monroe, La., takes the lead on Day 1 of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open held on Table Rock Lake out of Branson, Mo. Dillard brought 16 LBs, 15 oZs to the scales at Thursday's weigh-in.
Photo by Shaye Baker/Bassmaster
(Oct 1, 2015 - BRANSON, MO.)

 It was a slow day of fishing on Table Rock Lake for most of the competition, but Jim Dillard got off to a fast start to take the lead in the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open #3 presented by Allstate.

After a slow practice, Dillard’s first three bites on Thursday were 4-pounders that helped put him in first place in the pro division with a five-fish limit weighing 16 pounds, 15 ounces. “The day went way better than I expected,” he said. “It turned into a good day.”

The West Monroe, La., angler said he saw one of the 4-pounders he caught Thursday during practice earlier this week. He also saw some more 4-pounders today that he missed. “They would follow my bait, so I know there are more in the area,” he said.

Dillard hopes the cooler weather predicted for this week will turn the fish on as the tournament progresses. “That would be nice,” he said. “I am fishing a little shallow and a little deep. It just depends on what I run to. I am basically running from waypoint to waypoint from around here (on the lower lake) to uplake.”

Bassmaster Elite Series pro Tommy Biffle hopes to make the 2016 GEIGO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro in his home state of Oklahoma by winning this Open. “I am going to be sick if I am not (in the Classic),” he said. “If I don’t make it, I will probably schedule a trip to Afghanistan or something.” After catching a 14-12 limit Thursday and moving into second place, Biffle might be able to avoid that Afghanistan trip.   

The Wagoner, Okla., pro caught plenty of keepers in practice, but the cold front that passed through this week slowed down his fishing. “I thought today was going to be better than what it was,” he said. “I just didn’t get as many keeper bites as I had been getting in practice.”  
Biffle noted he caught seven keepers relying on one pattern, but he believes Table Rock bass are in transition between summer and fall patterns now. “There are fish out deep and up shallow, and they don’t know where they want to be yet,” he said.

The remaining pros in the Top 5 are: James Watson, Nixa, Mo., in third place with a 14-5 limit; Allen Rude, Pauls Valley, Okla., fourth, 13-14; and James Elam, Tulsa, Okla., in fifth with 13-4.

Nixa, Mo., railroad conductor Jason Newberry relied on his experience on his home lake to catch three keepers weighing 11-3 and take the lead in the co-angler division. “I have spent a lot of time on the water here the last two weeks,” he said. Newberry caught most of his keepers early in the morning on a football jig and tube bait.

Competition will resume Friday morning at 7 a.m. out of Table Rock State Park Marina, and weigh-in will take place in the same location at 3 p.m. Saturday’s weigh-in will move to the Branson Landing Water Fountain near the Bass Pro Shops at 1 Bass Pro Drive in Branson, Mo.

The Branson/Lakes Area Convention and Visitors Bureau is hosting this event.

2015 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Title Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops

2015 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Presenting Sponsor: Allstate

2015 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2015 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Premier Sponsors: A.R.E. Accessories, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, GoPro, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha

2015 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Supporting Sponsors: Carhartt, Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels, Huk Performance Fishing, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Power-Pole, Rigid Industries, Shimano

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The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series presented by Allstate, Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation events, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Costa Bassmaster High School Series, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.