Smallmouth Fishing Honey Hole near Joplin, MO

As first seen on….

I travel an awful lot for my day job. As a medical sales rep, I travel across Missouri and Kansas frequently (70k miles in last 15 months to be exact…ugh). The driving can get old, but I try to have some fishing gear with me everywhere I go. I was in Joplin, MO recently and discovered a good smallmouth fishing spot while I was in town.

I started by asking a couple of my buddies for some tips on where I might try. Paden Bennett, founder of the That’s a Good Fish brand and Ryan Walker, founder of the Ozarks Smallmouth Alliance, both recommended I look at Shoal Creek.

A quick google maps scouting session helped me pinpoint a spot that looked like a good access point. There appeared to be deep holes and water flows the fish might be sitting near. Grand Falls was the place to be, I decided.

I arrived about 7pm and there were a lot of people around in the main hole below the falls. There had to be fish sitting in there, but I moved downstream due to all the activity. I fished some timber and eddys that looked real fishy. It only took a few casts and had my first smallie on the bank. As a proud supporter of the Ozarks Smallmouth Alliance, I was happy to #freethefighter and let him swim back to his home to fight another day. My Ned Rig produced several more smaller fish as the night went on.

Near sunset, the crowd cleared and I made my move back to the main hole. It was hard to believe you could find such truly breathtaking scenery so close to town and so easily accessible.

There were a few younger guys with some GoPros strapped to their chest throwing whopper ploppers up close to the falls. I thought they must know something I don’t, but I honestly didn’t see them catch a fish.

I stood up on a rocky bluff behind them and casted my Ned Rig out as far as I could and found a hole that started producing fish on cast after cast. The most I got in a row was five. A lot of the fish were nice quality too, hovering around the 12-13 inch mark.

Luckily, I was able to have someone snap a quick photo of me as they were heading to their vehicle.

If you’re going smallmouth fishing near Joplin, I definitely recommend this spot. Come prepared with some dirty tennis shoes you don’t mind getting wet. There will be some places downstream you’ll want to fish to kill some time before the crowd clears. That’s when you can make your move back to the falls. I was throwing a Ned Rig with the small Z-Man finesse TRD worm in California Craw pattern. My jig head was a 1/6th oz. It was non-stop action the last 45 minutes and I could not have had more fun during an evening of work travel.


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Grandson helps Grandpa catch giant rainbow trout at Lake Taneycomo

The big rainbow trout were biting on Lake Taneycomo over the weekend. Payden Hays and his Grandpa, George Hays, both residents of Lee’s Summit, made the trek down to Branson over the weekend. Their goal was to help George, who has fished his whole life, catch his very first trout.

They rented a boat from Lilley’s Landing Resort and Marina and took off to Monkey Island, a place where Payden has found success in the past when other spots won’t produce. Sure enough, the fish were there. In less than an hour, George had landed his very first trout at 86 years old!

When the fishing slowed, they made a move down lake past the Landing. It was a good move. Within minutes, they were seeing giant rainbows coming after their marabou jigs. George casted out and felt a slam. Fish on! A couple minutes later, his second trout was in the boat, only this time it was a lunker! The beautiful rainbow trout was 23.5 inches long and weight 3-pounds, 13-ounces. It was the biggest rainbow Payden had ever seen caught over several years of coming to Lake Taneycomo.



To see more stories like this one covering outdoor news from around Missouri, follow along at






Need a Small Boat Transducer Mounting Rig?

  • Hands-On REVIEW of a Cabela’s Product: Video & Commentary
  • Affordable & Works Perfect for Small Boats
  • Durable & Adjustable, but Instructions are Difficult
The Sonar Transducer Mounting Rig works perfect, but the instructions could have been more clearly written.  It did help me understand more about finding the bigger fish!

By Tyler Mahoney

“Up until this summer, I had never personally used sonar electronics to aid in my fishing. I finally broke down and bought a small Lowrance Hook 4x Sonar unit in June.

My intention was to use it to fish the smaller lakes and ponds that I fish regularly with my small boat that is powered by a small electric motor. Once I bought it, I needed to determine how I was going to mount it. Luckily, I came across a great product at Cabela’s product that would allow me to mount it on any boat.

The product is called the Cabela’s Portable Transducer Mount, see the link: (
While it has some small imperfections, it works great for my purposes and I strongly recommend it, there is no hole drilling required and it is adjustable over a wide range of possible dimension.

The unit will fit boats with a 15-20 inch high transom and with a transom thickness up to 2-1/8 inches wide. It’s made from high-grade aluminum and while the instructions might have been more clearly written, it was not that hard to figure out once I got started.

The video will explain the issues I found. Overall, it meets my objectives and I like it.  Cost was under $50.
See the below Youtube video for a short product review:



  • Effective, but BE VERY CAREFUL
  • Tactics & Techniques

By Tyer Mahoney

When everything goes right, your stalk the long way around to expected turkey location is rewarded.

Heavy rain and wind can put the turkeys in a funk where they don’t gobble or respond to calls.  Severe rain can wash out nests, which means hens must breed again, thus prolonging the “henned up” effect every turkey hunter dreads.  Other times, such as late season, gobblers can be plain uncooperative and won’t investigate decoys or your calling.

So what do you do?

Simple.  It’s time to get on your feet and close the distance.  Although it’s not quite the same as a strutting tom marching into your decoys, spot and stalk turkey hunting can be just as exciting and rewarding, though your safety is of key interest in manner of hunting.

I have enjoyed much success stalking turkeys on secure, private land, but learned the most from my failures.  Whether you are by yourself or with a hunting partner, I have learned several strategies to follow when you begin your stalk.

Before you begin any spot and stalk, be sure of your surroundings and possible hunters that may be in your area.  I highly recommend you only do this on private land.


This might seem like the easy part, but there are several factors you must keep in mind.

First, turkeys always find a way to be where you least expect.  As you approach your glassing point, stay in cover and below the line of sight of the area you think may have turkeys.  Always abide by the rule that if you can see out in the field, then whatever is out there can see you.

Also, stay in the shadows as much as possible, which should be relatively easy if you have good timber.  Ideally, you will make your way to a spot where you can see a good distance across a field that may be a strutting zone.  Along with a large field of view, your glassing point should be accessible to a good route to make your stalk.

Next, move slowly until you spot your bird.  One of the biggest mistakes I have made is quickly glancing across a field, seeing nothing, and then hustling to my next viewing area.  It is only then I realize I’ve spooked a strutting tom standing below a rise in the field I could not see from my first position.

Many people hunt from a blind to start their day.  If you’re like me, you have had plenty of times where birds hang up in the distance or won’t commit because they are with hens.  During set-up, be sure to position your blind so the entrance is facing away from where the turkeys are likely to be located.  In case you need to close the distance on foot, that allows you to exit your blind into cover without disturbing the turkeys.


Once you have eyes on a gobbler, the fun part begins.  You will proceed with many of the same strategies you used to spot him.

Stalking works best in certain conditions.  After a rain or in the early morning when everything is still damp, you can move much quieter.  In addition, use the wind to your advantage.  If you must cover a large distance quickly, move as far as you can when the wind picks up and stop when it dies down again. And remember the golden rule, if you are in sight of the field, whatever is in the field can see you too. Stay below their line of sight!

If your turkey is on the move, always take the long way around to get out in front.  It might be more work, but I have failed most of the time when I tried to take the most direct route to the birds.  Taking the long way around allows you to stay in better cover and leaves more room for error on your part.  For example, you will inevitably step on a fallen branch in your haste.  If you’ve maintained a wide circle, inadvertent noises or movement shouldn’t spook the turkey.

As you get closer, you will more than likely lose sight of the birds at times.  When you stop to check the position of your gobbler, be sure you are next to a large tree or thick brush.  This will allow you to hide quickly in case he surprises you.


If you follow the above guidelines, you will most likely end up with a shot opportunity.  You can always increase your chances by carrying a turkey fan with you as well.  Pop that up in front of you, in sight of the tom and many times he will close the distance running right at you!

Most importantly, remember to use the rules of hunter safety and to always be aware of your surroundings!

Spot and stalk is best done in an area where you are certain no other hunters are around.  In some parts of the country, this manner of hunting is not permitted.

Good luck and happy stalking!

Rabbit Hunting, an Underrated Experience

When looking for rabbits in the scrub brush woodsy areas near Kansas City, Missouri, my hunting buddy, Joey Purpura (right) and I often enjoy a great hunt, share stories, and always look forward to a tasty meal afterwards. This is a great way to introduce youngsters into the sport of hunting!

As deer season winds down, many are left wondering what to do with their outdoor lives, but I have the solution with an underrated activity not widely talked about: rabbit hunting!

If you’ve seen rabbits hopping around in your hunting area, chances are there’s a lot more you haven’t seen!  Here are a few tips to help you have an enjoyable and successful rabbit outing!


First, get yourself a game vest with some hunter orange on it.  You can find these from $30 on up at any Cabela’s or Bass Pro store.  If you don’t have a game vest, make sure to have hunter orange fabric on your person somewhere because it will become difficult to see your hunting partners in the thick brush.  You can use an old backpack in place of the game vest.

Next, select your gun and ammo.  Any 12 or 20 gauge with your average 2-3/4” game load will do, number 6 or 7 shot.  I use a Charles Daly 20 gauge semi-auto myself.

While not necessary, a helmet mount for a GoPro or other action camera will work great to capture your hunt on video.  Be sure to tilt it slightly downwards so it isn’t pointing up in the trees.


Hunting Strategy

If you don’t have a dog, don’t worry!  You can still be incredibly successful without one.  Here’s how to do it…

I recommend hunting with at least one, but preferably two other partners.  Rabbits can be very sly and sneak back behind as you walk through brush.  A line of 2-3 guys walking parallel to each other helps prevent this from happening. Be sure to walk anywhere from 10-20 yards apart.

Head to the areas you’ve seen the rabbits first. Move slowly through the thicket because it allows you a better opportunity to approach them before they flush. If you are moving quickly, you are likely making more noise, which can cause them to flush too far out in front of you for an effective shot.

A slight wind can be helpful in covering your noise as you approach.  I usually like to hunt in 5-10 mph conditions, but you can still be successful with greater or lesser winds.


If you aren’t finding rabbits, you might be walking the wrong spots. Search for the thickest, nastiest stuff you can find.  Patches of thorns, large piles of brush and branches, and ditches protected by heavy cover like thick weeds and evergreens are great rabbit producers.  You might have to jump on a pile of brush to flush a rabbit, but don’t be surprised when one bursts out!

If one gets away from you, don’t worry.  Just keep walking slowly towards its direction and you will likely flush it again.

Final Thoughts

Rabbit hunting is the perfect activity in winter months after deer season. It provides the social aspect often lacking in deer hunting and is a great way to introduce kids to hunting.  So don’t miss out on some unforgettable memories in the woods!

Shed Hunting – Where, When, How

It’s That Time, Here is Some Advice


Deer season may be closed for most, but a new season is just starting: shed hunting season! Searching for shed antlers offers a fun experience for everyone and also provides valuable scouting insight for next fall.

Follow this advice and your shed hunts will be more productive.

When to Look

Bucks drop antlers when their testosterone levels fall after the mating season, though drought or poor nutrition can also influence when bucks drop their antlers.  The more stressful external factors that exist, the quicker antlers will drop. Typically, February through March is the best time to begin looking, but it varies depending on your regional location.  Use trail cameras to help you best determine when to search.

My experience has shown that bright, sunny days make it difficult to find antlers in heavily wooded areas.  Shadows mixed with sunlight make it very difficult to distinguish what is what. My all-time best results actually come on cloudy days.  The ground is covered with consistent light, creating less strain on your eyes.  Rainy days can also be very productive because leaves become matted down from moisture. Antlers contrast well with wet leaves.

Some people enjoy searching in the snow, but my experience has shown it to be more difficult.  Most antlers will be packed beneath the snow, leaving only small lengths of antler tips available to spot.

Where to Look

If you have a major food source, like a feeder or food plot, start there.  Walk in a circle around it, moving in a wider radius.  Deer also tend to navigate around field edges because they feel comfortable having wooded cover quickly available for escape.  The first 15 yards of field next to timber can be a prime location for antlers.

Boots on, water bottles in hand, kids love to join adults and go shed hunting on those warm, winter days. Yellow-tinted safety glasses are recommended for all outdoor pursuits, foe everyone.
There is no doubt about the feeling that kids have with shed hunting success! A smile like this will go into the memory book for another 70 years or so!

Bedding areas are also good places to look.  Deep timber with thick undergrowth, fields of native grass, and shallow, marshy areas are all great bedding habitat.  Antlers will be hard to spot in these areas though. If you can find transition corridors from the bedding areas to food sources, you might have a really good day of shed hunting in store.

Many landowners and conservation areas practice controlled burning of their fields each year.  Walk an area just after it is burned to have a fantastic chance of finding antlers. They contrast nicely to the blackened ground. The downside is any antler you find may be slightly charred if it was subjected to direct fire.

Be sure to search near obstacles that force deer to jump or quickly maneuver around. Those objects jar the antler loose. Classic examples are large logs, fence rows, and creeks.

General Advice

I recommend wearing safety glasses, preferably yellow-tinted.  They protect your eyes from thick brush and low hanging branches, and also help to see the ground more clearly.  Additionally, take extra care to walk slowly. It is incredibly easy to walk within feet of an antler and never see it. Bringing multiple people along helps alleviate the chance of missing sheds. Lastly, bring binoculars. They will help lessen your walking substantially.

About Tyler MahoneyTyler is avid outdoorsman who enjoys and shares his passion for outdoor sports with deliberation and helpful lessons for others about things he has learned along the way to gaining experience. He is a focused outdoorsman when in pursuit of the biggest buck in the woods or when rigging up for an afternoon of crappie fishing. Tyler is rapidly becoming recognized as a recognized leader in the outdoors. Learn more about Tyler at his website:

First Fish Story

Episode 1

When a youngster started fishing with his dad at 3 years old, using a bait casting rig, despite his dad’s warning to leave the rig alone, the monster fish hooked on that “less than magnificent” first cast, left an indelible impression that FISHING IS FUN! It has become a lifetime journey today. Listen and enjoy the passion, excitement and love of this recollection from angler outdoorsmen, Tyler Mahoney.