Patoka symbolizes 'shining lake’ for serious anglers

Herald Enterprise Editor

In 10 minutes, Chad Brock can commute from his driveway to Lake Monroe. There, one of the state’s premier lakes awaits.

But he’d rather be fishing elsewhere.

A national director for the USA Bassin fishing circuit, Brock prefers to cast his lines in Patoka Reservoir, and the sentiment isn’t sedentary. This fall, the lake will host a regional USA Bassin event that will span two days and reach capacity with 356 two-person angling teams (178 teams per day). In the interim, the lake welcomes competitors in the USA Bassin Patoka Lake Division that consists of spring, summer and fall weekend events as well as a 10-week slate of Wednesday competitions.

The fishermen come from all over — Dubois County, Indianapolis, Louisville, Terre Haute.

“It’s our shining lake,” Brock said of Patoka. “People want to catch fish, and Patoka is hands-down the fisherman’s lake over Monroe. I cut my teeth at Monroe, but I’ll come down there and fish.

There’s more things to get into as far as finding fish and really using that lake as an angler. And the overall quality of fish is better; there’s just bigger fish there.”

Patoka’s waters hide the treasure underneath. Brock said he and other anglers relish the lake’s grass beds, standing timber, rock piles, fallen trees, creek channels, humps and ledges.
Brock hears the fish stories regularly, thanks to a schedule that brings fishing to Patoka from late March through October.

The Fish Guardian spring series began March 30 and the summer series will conclude July 20. The Hoo-Rag series will commence in late September or early October. Each of the three series comprises five tournaments. The Rod Glove weeknight circuit, which began May 22, spans 10 weeks and allow folks who can’t bog down their weekends to compete on Wednesday evenings.

The names of the various sponsors, which include local company Port of Jasper as well as national outlets, indicate to Brock that the status of Patoka as a destination fishing spot is legit.

If pedigree doesn’t hook interest, cost might. USA Bassin membership costs $25 per year and tournament entry fees start at $50.

“We want to stay competitive for guys with families who don’t want to blow the bank on fishing but enjoy going out and competing and having a good time doing it,” Brock said. “There is some luster for somebody looking for a big-time tournament with a low entry fee.”

USA Bassin exists in 28 states, and lakes host their own divisions. Anglers who earn enough points qualify for the playoff system and can earn a spot in the aforementioned regional event that Patoka will host this fall. Fisherman who finish in the top 30 percent of the regional event snag a bid for the Nitro Classic on Kentucky Lake. There, the top prizes are three new boats. Those who don’t advance to the Nitro Classic can compete on Kentucky Lake in the Tracker Cup. There, the top prize is another new boat.

Anglers can weigh up to five fish in each event, and Brock has seen that total climb as high as 25 pounds. Sometimes, 14 pounds is enough to secure victory.

Brock has room for up to 60 teams at the Fish Guardian and Hoo-Rag events, and he operates Facebook pages for USA Bassin to lure possible members. He works in sales and estimation for a limestone company but sometimes spends 40 hours a week working on his fishing duties. He began dabbling at Patoka five years ago, and it didn’t take long for him to climb the USA Bassin ladder or to become enamored with his new home lake.

“At Patoka Lake, you just catch solid fish,” Brock said. “And we’ve really tried to keep USA Bassin where there is something for everybody.”

Contact Jason Recker at

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