Over the past 10 years, the name Mark Rose has become synonymous with summer and fall ledge fishing along the Tennessee River chain of lakes. He’s won six FLW tournaments on the system, mostly during the postspawn period. However, as he is proving this week on the frigid waters of Lake Guntersville at the FLW Tour event presented by Lowrance, Rose’s Tennessee River savvy extends beyond summer and fall. After checking in 19 pounds on day three, Rose now leads the FLW Tour event with a three-day total of 61 pounds, 8 ounces, carrying a 4-pound, 12-ounce advantage into the final day.
Rose’s inherent understanding of Tennessee River bass, no matter if the water temperature is 45 degrees or 85 degrees, is uncanny.
“I just feel comfortable on these Tennessee River lakes,” Rose says. “It’s hard to explain, but I can assess water conditions quickly here, and I have a feel of where to look for bass given the conditions. Some of the places I’m catching bass this week are the same kinds of things I look for in the summer – little transitions, indentions, isolated pieces of cover. I’m just looking for that stuff in 2 to 6 feet of water now instead of 20 or 30 feet like I would be in the summer. But it’s the same kinds of little subtle changes in the bottom that create the habit that Tennessee River bass like to live on.”
Rose’s gift for reading Tennessee River water came into play in a major way on day three after a cold overnight northeast wind pummeled his best shallow grass area, turning some of it a stained to muddy color. On days one and two, Rose had targeted inside grass lines with vibrating jigs for prespawn fish. With the dirtier, colder water today, Rose moved up to fish shallower rock with a crankbait.
“Whenever the water dirties up like that, these fish like to get on targets – rock, wood or stumps – something a little more substantial than just grass,” he says. “So in a couple of my places I fished the harder cover in the area.”
He uses the riprap to fill in time while waiting for the sun to get up where he can read water color and grass better in the shallows.
“Today I had to sort of hunker down in my area and make the best of it after that wind blew it out,” he adds. “If it blows in there again tonight and keeps it from clearing up, I’m probably going to have to move to some other areas that are similar, but more protected from the wind. I’m really hoping that wind lays down and my primary area clears back up a bit, and I can get out there and fish that scattered grass more like I did on day two.”
Top 10 Pros
1. Mark Rose – West Memphis, Ark. – 61-8 (15)
2. Bryan Thrift – Shelby, N.C. – 56-12 (15)
3. Alex Davis – Albertville, Ala. – 54-6 (15)
4. Scott Suggs – Alexander, Ark. – 51-11 (15)
5. Shinichi Fukae – Palestine, Texas – 51-5 (15)
6. Christopher Brasher – Longview, Texas – 51-4 (15)
7. Andy Morgan – Dayton, Tenn. – 49-7 (15)
8. Brandon Cobb – Greenwood, S.C. – 48-10 (15)
9. Justin Atkins – Florence, Ala. – 48-10 (14)
10. Chris McCall – Palmer, Texas – 47-0 (15)