WIN TICKETS TO 2024 OZARK EMPIRE FAIR

105.1 The Bull has YOUR CHANCE to win tickets to the 88th Annual Ozark Empire Fair! The 2024 Ozark Empire Fair is Thursday, July 25th, through Saturday, August 3rd, at Ozark Empire Fairgrounds.

CLICK HERE for more information or to purchase tickets.

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WIN TICKETS TO DAN + SHAY

105.1 The Bull, The Ozarks Best Country, welcomes Dan + Shay with special guests Jake Owen and Dylan Marlowe on Saturday, July 20th, 2024, to Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre for their 'The Heartbreak On The Map Summer Tour'! LISTEN to The Hot Mess Morning Show with Summer Stevens for your chance to win a pair of tickets! DOUBLE your chances to win by entering to win ONLINE below!

CLICK HERE for more information or to purchase tickets.

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Spoon Fed Bass

It's one of the more overlooked baits to catch bass. A jigging spoon. With ned rigs and drop shot rigs so popular these days, a jigging spoon has lost favor with a lot of fisherman. Despite being one the best ways to catch fish, a vertical jigging spoon doesn't get as much attention as it deserves. Anytime bass, or any game fish really, are keyed on shad a spoon fluttering down in front of them will get strikes!

Spoons come in a variety of sizes and styles. The size you select usually depends on the size of the bait you're trying to mimic and how deep of water you're fishing.  And speaking of depth, the misconception is that spoons are only a deep water bait. Not so, bass can be caught on spoons in water as shallow as a few feet. It's the fluttering action that makes the spoons appealing and as long as you have enough water to jig it up and have it flutter back down, it will catch fish!

Another plus with spoon fishing is that it's easy to use. Most times you're vertical fishing so it's simply a matter dropping the spoon to the bottom and hopping it back up. We'll want to pop the bait off the bottom with some serious jerking action. Remember to allow the bait to fall back on a semi-slack line so you'll detect the strikes. Most times that's easy as most fish hit spoons with force.

https://youtu.be/gGnnTZUCk30

Points, cut-throughs, and humps are some of the best structures to fish a jigging spoon. The addition of current will make spoons more appealing too. So, the next time you're on the water, don't forget to give jigging spoons a try. You just might be surprised how many bass you catch! Be sure too and check out my Ozarks Outdoors podcast! We're always talking fishing, boating, floating, and more! It's really all about everything outdoors!


Kids Fishing Fun Day Was Awesome!

It's was a great morning of fishing at this year's 43rd Annual Kid's Fishing Fun Day at Rutledge-Wilson Park! Saturday's event is sponsored by the Southwest Regional Office of the Missouri Department of Conservation and takes place at the stocked pond at Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park.  Kids learn about different types of fish and how to cast, and may catch and keep up to three fish. There's nothing quite like watching a kid's face light up after reeling in a fish! It didn't seem to matter how big or small, the effect was the same. Smiles all around!

https://youtu.be/gYcrYGYjlzw

When I checked last, over 170 kids had signed up for the mornings fishing sessions. This year, Amos and John Livingston, crappie touring pros Team Livingston were on site handing out free tackle and helping the kids bait hooks and take off fish. It's one of my personal favorite events to be a part of. I too, was helping kids learn how to cast and get the worms on the hooks. 105.1 The Bull are partners with Team Livingston and both Amos and John are frequent guests on my Ozarks Outdoors podcast.

If you missed Kid's Fishing Fun Day, you can still bring the family out to Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park for some fun! Check out one of their Family Fishing Night events. The first of the summer is Friday, June 14th!


Brent Cobb "Songwriter-Singer"

It was another great show at the Midnight Rodeo! Brent Cobb thrilled the crowd Thursday evening singing his songs that seem to connect with the fans in a very personal way. Those in attendance seemed to know all the words to every song Brent sang! Being from rural south Georgia, and raised in a small Southern Baptist church, music was everything for the young Brent Cobb. Having written his first song at age 12 he's continued to hone his craft and has become one of best songwriters in country music.

He's written songs for Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, and others. He released his self-titled EP back in 2012 and began opening shows for Blake Shelton and Sara Evans. From there, things only got bigger for the young star. In 2018 Brent received a Grammy nomination for "Best Americana Album" for "Shine On Rainy Day."

Most recently, Brent was the opening act for Chris Stapleton's "All-American Road Show" tour and was on Luke Combs 2023 tour as well. He makes sure too that you know he's a "songwriter-singer" and not a "singer-songwriter." "I'm a songwriter first, singer second." Take a few minutes and check out my interview with Brent before the show Thursday evening and then check out his music! You can do that by clicking HERE!   

 

https://youtu.be/AczxNW5dfc8


Gasconade River Smallmouth!

Having cut my teeth wading creeks as a kid, fishing moving water has always held a special place in my heart. Don't get me wrong, I love fishing our Ozark lakes as much as the next guy, but there's something special about river fishing. The current, downed trees, shade, water color and other variables preset a different set of challenges than fishing a lake. Casting accuracy is imperative for success when you trying to whip your lure under overhanging limbs and right into that shady spot that's likely holding a nice smallmouth.

We have so many great fishing opportunities here in southwest Missouri and northern Arkansas! The area lakes get most of the publicity but the regions rivers offer some world-class fishing! It's a fishery that's often overlooked too and a lot closer than you think. The Gasconade River is only about an hour or so from Springfield.

I recently had the opportunity to hop in the boat with Tommy Bench, owner-operator of the Gasconade River Guide Service. Tommy was a recent guest on my Ozarks Outdoors podcast and our conversation about catching those Gasconade smallmouth got me fired up to hit the river! When he said he an afternoon free for a few hours, I jumped at the chance! Most days, Tommy is busy guiding on the Gasconade and Big Piney Rivers.

         

Having success on the river starts with the right boat. We jumped in Tommy's flat bottom with a 40hp jet drive and up the river we went! And talk about beautiful! Winding up the river taking in scenery, the wildlife, and we spotted an eagle flying overhead! Getting to the fishing hole and back was half the fun!

https://youtu.be/AYQg0upzuKk

After a few miles run up the river we started slinging flukes in hopes of catching some big bronzebacks! Most of the fish were in some phase of the spawning process in the stretch of river we were fishing. We spotted several beds, some with fish on, or around some of them. Of course, it didn't take long before Tommy had a nice one or two in the boat!

https://youtu.be/XPvwH970Oy8

I managed to sling a few over the side as well. I started out with a couple smaller fish. I had a couple come unbuttoned on me too, but hey, that's fishing.

The fishing picked up once the sun slid behind the bluff. When the shadows stared getting longer it was time to switch to a topwater bait. And if I'm being completely honest, it was seeing one of those big smallies come up and smack a topwater was what I came to see! Fortunately, towards the end of our afternoon, a nice smallmouth busted my Rapala Skitter-Pop!

All of this was just enough get me fired up and I can't wait to get back on the Gasconade! Take it from me, there's nothing like fishing a river and especially when you're in a boat with someone that knows the river like the back of his hand! Reach out to Tommy Bench, owner-operator of Gasconade River Guide Service. Get yourself and friend or two together and hit the river with Tommy! There's truly nothing quite like it, and it's right here in our backyard! Again, check out our conversation on my Ozarks Outdoors podcast and "Happy Fishing, everyone!"


The Cadillac Three Rocked The Rodeo!

If you know, you know! For those who have been fans of The Cadillac Three for some time know how great this band is! Since the release of their debut album in 2012, the band was know as "The Cadillac Black" back then, their fan base as steadily grown over the years. All without being part of so-called "mainstream country music." Since signing with Big Machine Records in their hometown of Nashville, Tennessee in 2013 they've released 6 albums. Their most recent, "The Years Go Fast" was released in the fall or 2023 and is some of their best work yet!

Great music starts with great songwriting. Lead vocalist and guitarist, Jaren Johnston has written songs for the likes of Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Steven Tyler, Jake Owen and others. You take that and combine it with the energy and playing of Kelby Ray on bass and steel guitar, add Neil Mason on drums, you've got one of the best threesomes in, do I dare to call it "country music"? It's way more potent than that! I had the opportunity to talk with Jaren and Neil the afternoon of the show at The Midnight Rodeo. Take a few minutes, check out the video and find out more about of the best, hard-hitting, bands in "country" music...The Cadillac Three!

https://youtu.be/eS2ldeUOSYk


Sac River White Bass

There's something special about those early season river fishing trips. For me, it's a confirmation that indeed winter is over. That doesn't mean we won't get another cold snap in the next few weeks, that seems to happen more often these days than it did years ago, but once I'm on the river chasing white bass, things are only going to get better from here. This year's lower lake levels and dryer than normal conditions has less water in the river. The lack of current seems to drag the white bass run out longer than it should be. Less moving water also makes accessing the better holes tougher too.

It's that heavy runoff that helps move the fish up river. That rain water adds more color to the water and makes catching whites easier too. Over the weekend, I finally made my way of the Sac River on the upper reaches of Stockton Lake. Normally, I can maneuver my little 16ft fishing boat an additional mile or two upstream. Not this year. The further up the river I went, the clearer the water got too.

https://youtu.be/jbKu_iSP8dU

That didn't keep us from having a good time and catching some white bass. Getting the boat out and enjoying the sunshine made it worth the effort as well. We saw a few folks walking though the woods hunting mushrooms. When they we close enough, I asked, "finding any?" One of the guys replied "a few, it's too dry." Just what I was thinking too. Later that afternoon we decided to call it a day and handed off our catch to a couple guys in their kayaks. Shortly after we left them, they came peddling back up to where we were loading up to show off a real nice walleye they caught!

Nathen was his name and indeed he boated a nice one! 7lbs 4ozs! Congrats Nathen! That's spring fishing for you. You just never know what you might catch in the river this time of year. And one nice walleye can make it  worth the effort! Some great eating right there!

Speaking of river fishing, check out my Ozarks Outdoors podcast! I'm talking with Gasconade River Guide, Tommy Bench! I can't wait to hit the river and catch some of those big smallies! Happy fishing, everyone!


Prespawn Crappie With Amos Livingston

 

It's finally spring! The older I get, the longer winter seems to be and after New Years I simply can't wait for spring and getting back on the water! Over the weekend, I had the privilege to share the boat with Amos Livingston on Stockton Lake. He and his brother John are Team Livingston, professional crappie fisherman that travel the country catching big slab crappie.

Once the water warms into the 50s crappie schools break up and fish start thinking about spawning and start to move shallower. The key is finding those staging areas where the crappie feed up before they hit the banks. Most of the fish we caught were in less than 10 feet of water. The key was finding active fish and pieces of isolated cover that the fish were holding on.

Of course, todays improved electronics make finding the cover and active fish easier. Live Scope has taught us a lot about fish behavior. We used to think crappie were pretty much a schooling fish that hung around cover waiting to ambush prey. We know now that they will actively chase bait on large flats. The flats closer to deeper water off the old river or creek channel are usually best.

https://youtu.be/46J9UrMweGY

When you can find a nice piece of isolated cover in the right spot, there are usually active fish hanging around. The trick here is sneaking up close enough to drop the jig down without spooking the fish. Try to pick off one or two from the edge of the cover before dropping down in the middle and risk getting hung up and spooking the group hanging around.

Below, Amos shares a great tip on how to rig extra weight to get your bait down quickly and help hold your presentation in front of the fish.

https://youtu.be/SQANonAT0xg

If you love fishing, catch my Ozarks Outdoors podcast! We'll be talking a lot about about fishing of all kinds over the next few weeks including a crappie spawn episode with Team Livingston.