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Lake of the Ozarks Osage Arm

Osage Arm Offers Consistent Lake of the Ozarks Fishing

By John Neporadny Jr.

Despite heavy development throughout the years, the lower Osage arm of the Lake of the Ozarks continues to produce good fishing year round.

The Osage arm from the 6 to the 24 mile marker winds around three peninsulas known as Horseshoe, Shawnee and Turkey bends. Running through the heavily populated Osage Beach area, this section of the lake contains several coves loaded with rows of boat docks.

Numerous marinas and huge condominium docks cover large expanses of shoreline in this area. Recreational boat traffic is heavy in this section from Memorial Day to Labor Day, especially at the mouth of the Grand Glaize arm and around the Lodge of the Four Seasons.

101 Bass Fishing Tips, John Neporadny Jr.

101 Bass Fishing Tips

The water in this section has a little more color in it than the dam area and the Gravois, but still offers good visibility most of the year. Water temperatures stay a little cooler on this main river section so fishing picks up a little later in the spring than on the other parts of the lower lake. However some early season action usually occurs in the bigger coves such as North Buck and Buck creeks.

Here are some tips on how to catch the following species on the lower Osage.

Crappie

During those first couple of warm days in the winter key on brush piles ranging from 10 to 30 feet deep and float a bobber-and-jig combination over the cover for suspended fish. Set the jig 2 to 3 feet below the plastic bobber and throw the combination around docks, which have brush piles either tied at certain depths along the sides of the boat houses or sunk on the bottom. Docks on the main lake and in the deeper coves produce best for winter crappie.

Use a 1/32-ounce jig in clear, smoke or gray hues for the bobber-and-jig tactic. You can also catch some fish throwing a 1/16-ounce Roadrunner around the same docks.

Lake of the Ozarks

When spring arrives, you can still rely on the bobber and jig but move to shallower docks along the pea gravel shores in the coves and pockets. When working along a barren gravel bank, cast a 1/32-ounce Roadrunner, but if you see a shallow brush pile, toss the bobber and jig to the cover.

After casting the jig past the brush, wind the bobber right into the cover. Waves cause the bobber to rise and fall, which imparts action to the jig below yet keeps the lure in the strike zone longer. The bobber allows you to control the depth of your lure to keep it in front of crappie longer, letting you move the lure slowly to entice sluggish fish holding tight to the cover.

During autumn, throw Roadrunners as you cruise down the banks of wind-blown coves. Sometimes you can find the fish in the same brush piles where they spawn in the spring. However most of the time, you should key on points where you should throw a 1/16 or lighter tube jig.

Use 4- to 6-pound test line for all of your crappie tactics throughout the year.

White Bass

Summer and fall are the two best seasons to fish for white bass in this section of the lake. You can find whites along the main channel in the summertime and fish for them early and late in the day. Late evening is probably the best time to try for white bass.

A favorite tactic of local anglers for summertime is working a 3/8- or 1/2-ounce jigging spoon (white with red eyes) or a white-and-red 1/4-ounce marabou jig 25 to 30 feet deep along the channel break. Select 12- to 15-pound line for the jig and spoon tactics.

Fall is the best season for catching whites on the lower Osage. You can usually start catching fish in late September and pursue whites until November. “October is the prime month for whites though.

A popper-and-jig combination works best along wind-blown points. Remove both hooks from a Rebel Pop-R topwater lure and tie a 24-inch leader line to the rear hook eye, then attach a 1/16-ounce marabou jig (white with red head) to the end of the leader. Just pop it like you normally would work a Pop-R and tie the popper on 15-pound line with 10-pound line for the jig trailer.

The fish chase shad extremely shallow on the points so throw this rig within a couple of feet of the bank. Limits of 15 white bass can be taken easily by running from one windy point to the next, especially on cloudy days.

Catfish

When the bass fishing gets tough in this section during the summertime, local anglers have another alternative. From June through August, you can keep busy by catfishing.

A favorite tactic for catching catfish is with a modified Carolina rig. Use a main line of 15- to 20-pound test and slip on a 1/2- to 3/4-ounce bullet sinker followed by a swivel. Attached to the swivel is a 48-inch leader with a 2/0 hook on the other end. Complete the rig by cutting a Styrofoam bobber in half and clipping it about a foot above the hook. The float keeps the hook out of the mud so the fish can eat the bait easier. A favorite bait is lake shad, but you can also use bait shrimp, crawfish, liver or hot dogs for this Carolina rig.

Drift coves and try to keep your boat over depths of 6 to 25 feet deep for catfish. For the best results, go with the wind whichever way it is blowing. If it is blowing from the back end of the cove forward, then start at the back end or vice versa.

For information on lodging and other facilities at the Lake of the Ozarks or to receive a free vacation guide, call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1-800-FUN-LAKE or visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitors Bureau web site at funlake.com.

Copies of John Neporadny’s book, “THE Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Guide” are available by calling 573/365-4296 or visiting the web site www.jnoutdoors.com.

Lake of the Ozarks Crappie

Shaky-Head Fishing For Lake of the Ozarks Crappie

By John Neporadny Jr.

One of the latest bass fishing rages is starting to catch on with Lake of the Ozarks crappie anglers as well.

The combination of a jig head and small finesse worm known as a shaky head worm has become the rig many bass pros rely on when the fishing gets tough. A couple of savvy crappie anglers have also discovered a miniature version of the shaky head worm produces fish especially on heavily pressured waters.

While fishing with a buddy a couple of years ago on Lake of the Ozarks, Phil Gardner threw a tube bait around the docks and his partner rigged an Eagle Claw Nitro Trailer on a jig head. “He started absolutely waxing me with those things,” recalls Gardner.

101 Bass Fishing Tips, John Neporadny Jr.

101 Bass Fishing Tips

When Gardner borrowed some of his partner’s trailer worms and rigged up his own shaky head, he immediately started catching fish. Since then he has employed the jig head and Eagle Claw worm to present to crappie suspended around large private and community docks in the fall and winter on his home lake. “I have become a firm believer in the thing because I guarantee it will out catch a regular crappie tube 5 to 1,” Gardner says.

A variety of jig heads will work with the Eagle Claw worm, but Gardner prefers a CT Minnow Jig, which has a bullet-shaped head and a keeper barb to secure the worm to the jig better. When rigged properly, the worm should be straight in line with the jig head. “I think it falls a little better (with the minnow head) and that bullet-style head comes through the brush a lot better than a round head,” says Gardner.

Throughout autumn and early winter, Gardner prefers his shaky head to fall at a faster rate so he opts for a 1/16-ounce jig head. However, when the fish become sluggish in the dead of winter, Gardner selects a 1/32-ounce jig for a slow-falling shaky head. The Missouri angler favors a chartreuse Nitro worm for most of his shaky head presentations, but he sometimes tries a white worm that he colors the tip with a dash of chartreuse Spike-It spray.

Gardner’s presentation consists of pitching his shaky head along the sides or into the wells of docks and letting the lure pendulum back to the boat without reeling in line. He believes the worm has a more natural fall with the pendulum presentation, and he creates more tail action on the worm when he shakes his rod as the lure sinks.

The crappie veteran claims the key to his presentation is pinpointing the depth of the fish. Once he discovers the strike zone, Gardner can lengthen or shorten his pitch so his shaky head will swing back to the same depth each time he presents the shaky head. When Gardner guesses the combo has reached the strike zone, he starts shaking the worm to trigger a bite.

“Most of the time they will hit the thing on the fall if they are really aggressive,” says Gardner. “A lot of the fish will be suspended 2 to 4 feet deep under the foam and they will knock 6 inches of slack out of your line.” While the fish will thump the shaky head some days, there are other times Gardner has to pay close attention to his line for that telltale mushy feeling or watch for the line to go slack on the descent.

Although line watching is essential to his presentation, Gardner prefers using clear 4-pound P-Line because he believes a high-visibility line spooks the fish in clear water. He pitches his shaky head on a 5 1/2-foot light-action Bass Pro Shops Wally Marshall Signature Series Spinning Rod with an ultralight Shimano spinning reel.

For information on lodging and other facilities at the Lake of the Ozarks or to receive a free vacation guide, call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1-800-FUN-LAKE or visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitors Bureau web site at funlake.com.

Copies of John Neporadny’s book, “THE Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Guide” are available by calling 573/365-4296 or visiting the web site www.jnoutdoors.com.

GEORGIA’S FISHER WINS COSTA FLW SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP ON TABLE ROCK LAKE

November 5, 2016 by FLW Communications

BRANSON, Mo. – Pat Fisher of Colbert, Georgia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 15 pounds even Saturday to win the Costa FLW Series Championship on Table Rock Lake, which featured 192 of the top semi-pro boaters and co-anglers from across the globe. Fisher’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 40 pounds, 4 ounces, earned him $50,200 and a coveted spot in the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing.

“I haven’t fished at this level in years, so this tournament was like a family reunion,” said Fisher, who spent eight years on the FLW Tour before stepping away in 2008. “I’ve always been very competitive, so it feels great to win.

“I came into this event after having the worst practice I’ve ever had,” Fisher continued. “On Day One, I went to a 200-yard stretch of bank way up the James River that I had a little success on. I sat in about 4 feet of water, throwing to bass that were shallower – maybe about a foot down. It was cloudy, so I threw a ¼-ounce white and blue-colored Boogerman Buzzbait and was able to catch nine keepers including a decent kicker.”

On Day Two, competitors were held at the marina for two hours due to excessive fog. Although the delay cut a large chunk out of Fisher’s day, he said he was still able to salvage a solid limit.

“I ran back up to the James River area and arrived at 11 a.m.,” said Fisher. “It was bright and slick so I knew they wouldn’t eat the buzzbait. I picked up a custom shaky-head rigged with a green pumpkin-colored Zoom Trick Worm and threw it around for a while. The largest piece of laydown in the area – a tree – produced around 30 fish for me. It was my magic tree.”

Fisher said he capped off the event by returning to his main stretch on Day Three, but this time, he was able to cover water more efficiently.

“I left two really big fish up there, so I narrowed my area to a 75-yard stretch,” said Fisher. “I threw to any cover I could. After the sun came out, I went back to my magic tree and caught six or seven big ones on the buzzbait. I guess it took me some more time during the tournament to figure them out.”

The top finishing boater from each of the six Costa FLW Series divisions that qualified for the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup were:

Southeastern

1st: Pat Fisher, Colbert, Ga., 15 bass, 40-4, $50,200

Southwestern

2nd: Cody Bird, Granbury, Texas, 15 bass, 38-11, $25,000

Central

4th: Old Spice pro Greg Bohannan, Bentonville, Ark., 15 bass, 33-1, $15,000 + $2,000 Ranger Cup bonus

Northern

11th: Joel Richardson, Kernersville, N.C., 10 bass, 19-14, $4,000

Western

29th: Roy Hawk, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., six bass, 15-10, $2,500

International

51st: Hyo chul Kim, South Korea, six bass, 11-15

Additionally, the overall top five finishers that were not already selected as the highest finisher in their division qualify for the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup. Those five anglers were:

3rd: Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., 15 bass, 36-14, $20,000

5th: Christopher Jones, Bokoshe, Okla., 14 bass, 31-7, $10,100

6th: Travis Fox, Rogers, Ark., 12 bass, 28-3, $8,000

7th: Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo., 14 bass, 28-0, $7,000

8th: Bradford Beavers, Ridgeville, S.C., 14 bass, 27-14, $6,000

Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.

The 2017 Forrest Wood Cup will be held Aug. 11-13 at Lake Murray in Columbia, South Carolina.

Tyler Sheppard of Hermitage, Pennsylvania, won the co-angler division and $30,100, including a Ranger Z175 boat with a 90-horsepower Evinrude outboard with a three-day total of 10 bass weighing 23 pounds, 10 ounces. Michael Black of Toledo, Illinois, finished in second place with 10 bass weighing 22 pounds, 1 ounce, worth $12,500.

The top 10 co-anglers finished:

1st: Tyler Sheppard, Hermitage, Pa., 10 bass, 23-10, $30,100

2nd: Michael Black, Toledo, Ill., 10 bass, 22-1, $12,500

3rd: Richard Jordan, Muncy Valley, Pa., eight bass, 16-5, $10,000

4th: Robert Myers, Broken Arrow, Okla., seven bass, 13-8, $7,550

5th: David Hudson, Jasper, Ala., five bass, 11-2, $5,000

6th: Raymond Tak, Los Angeles, Calif., five bass, 10-14, $4,000

7th: Benjamin Tawney, Slippery Rock, Pa., five bass, 10-8, $3,500

8th: Joe Lane, Republic, Mo., five bass, 9-5, $3,000

9th: Jonathan Shockey, Fort Smith, Ark., three bass, 8-7, $2,500

10th: Rob Bueltmann, Osage Beach, Mo., four bass, 8-6, $2,000

The Costa FLW Series Championship at Table Rock Lake was hosted by ExploreBranson.com.

In Costa FLW Series regular-season competition, each division competes in three tournaments, with competitors vying for valuable points to earn their way into the top 40 and the opportunity to fish in the Costa FLW Series Championship.

For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Costa FLW Series on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.

For More News From FLW Fishing visit FLWFishing.com

About FLW

FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2016 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 235 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. For more information visit FLWFishing.com and follow FLW at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat: @FLWFishing.

Davy Hite Leaving Elite Series For New Challenge

November 7, 2016

Davy Hite Leaving Elite Series For New Challenge

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Davy Hite, the 1999 Bassmaster Classic champion and two-time Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year, won’t be competing on the Elite Series in 2017, but his fans will be seeing him more than ever. Hite has accepted a position as color commentator for “Bassmaster LIVE,” “The Bassmasters” television show on ESPN2 and all other B.A.S.S. programming, the company announced today.

“I view this more as a transition, rather than a retirement,” Hite said. “In a perfect world, I wish I could keep competing for a few more years. But this was a golden opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.

“This is a way for me to continue to have a positive impact and stay involved with the sport of bass fishing, which has meant everything to me.”

Hite, 51, has won more than $2 million in his 23-year career, which includes a Forrest Wood Cup title in 1998, in addition to the ’99 Classic crown and Angler of the Year titles in 1997 and 2002. His B.A.S.S. career includes eight first-place finishes, 14 Bassmaster Classic appearances, and 45 Top 10 finishes. The Ninety Six, S.C., resident has finished in the money 140 times in 254 total tournaments.

“At the age of 27, I quit a full-time job to become a tournament bass fisherman, which had been my dream since I was 12 years old,” Hite said. “It was a leap of faith. Some of my friends thought I was crazy. This is different, but at the same time it’s a leap of faith, as well.”

Jerry McKinnis, one of B.A.S.S.’s principal owners, as well as a pioneer in outdoor television programming, is pleased to have Hite as a full-time addition to the B.A.S.S. team.

“I’ve known for a long time that Davy would be a great on-air talent,” said McKinnis, who praised Hite’s work on the “First Look” segments of Bassmaster.com tournament coverage. “I realized very quickly how comfortable Davy was in doing this. He’s good at asking the right questions. But it’s not an interview with him, it’s more like a conversation, and that’s important.”

Over the past three years, Hite has worked increasingly with the “Bassmaster LIVE” hosts Tommy Sanders and Mark Zona and Elite Series emcee Dave Mercer.

“I’ve enjoyed working with all the folks at B.A.S.S., both on-camera and behind-the-scenes,” Hite said. “But I never had a clue it could turn into something like this. Again, this was too good an opportunity to pass up.

“I think I’m still competitive enough to win the first tournament on the Elite Series next year. But at the same time, I knew in my heart that I didn’t want to fish another 20 years.

“You never know if you’ll get a second chance to make a transition like this one, and stay involved in the sport you love. It was reassuring when I presented this to my sponsors, and they all agreed with my decision.”

Hite finished 56th in the final 2016 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings. He’s had at least one Top 10 finish in each of the last three Elite Series seasons.

“We’re really excited about Davy Hite joining our team,” said Mike McKinnis, vice president of media communications for JM Associates, which produces B.A.S.S. television and Internet content. “He brings some inside knowledge to the broadcast. He knows what the pros are doing and why they’re doing it, which is really important in our ‘Bassmaster LIVE’ coverage.”

Tommy Sanders echoed those thoughts, saying, “Davy has got one-of-a-kind perspective on tournament bass fishing. Just as importantly, he’s got a great ability to discern when what seems to be a small story is just as important as a big one. Plus, I just like the guy.”

Hite’s first appearance under the new arrangement will be at the Bassmaster Elite at Cherokee Lake, Tennessee, Feb. 9-12, 2017, and he’ll be an integral part of the programming for the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro in Houston March 24-26.

His current sponsors include: Phoenix Boats, Evinrude, Gopher Industrial, Costa, Bass Pro Shops, Humminbird, Rapala, Storm Lures, Minn Kota, Advance Land and Timber, Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits, VMC and Buckeye Lures.

For More B.A.S.S. News, visit Bassmaster.com

Crochet Claims First B.A.S.S. Victory On Home Waters

October 29, 2016

Crochet Claims First B.A.S.S. Victory On Home Waters

MORGAN CITY, La. —

Bassmaster Elite Series pro Cliff Crochet cashed in on his home-waters advantage Saturday to claim his first B.A.S.S. victory at the Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana.

Sitting in seventh place after the second day of competition Friday, Crochet rallied today with an 18-pound, 4-ounce limit to win the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open and earn the grand prize of a $45,000 Skeeter ZX200/Yamaha VF200LA rig and $6,741 in cash. The Pierre Part, La., angler finished with a three-day total of 46-06 to earn his first Bassmaster victory and a berth in the 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.

Crochet described today’s fishing as “slow and steady.” Mixing in some small keepers with some kicker bass, Crochet steadily caught fish throughout the day. He finished his limit by about 11 a.m., and then caught his biggest fish of the day — a 5-12 largemouth — at about 1:45 p.m.

Since he knew the waters so well, Crochet decided to “fish history” during his practice to either confirm or rule out fishing spots. “I practiced really hard,” he said. “(Eliminating water) made for some long, boring practices.”

The strategy paid off, though, as Crochet was able to narrow the vast waters of the basin down to three areas for the tournament. “But two of them didn’t shine, so that just nailed me down to one area,” he said.

His key bait for the whole tournament was a Luck-E-Strike Ringmaster creature bait that he punched through mats with a 1 1/2-ounce weight.

Another local favorite, Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La., retained second place with 42-4. Each day he caught fish early but lost a big one this morning that he said “kind of hurt my feelings.”

His two key lures were a black/chartreuse Strike King 1.5 Square Bill crankbait and a black-and-blue Strike King Hack Attack Jig and a Strike King Rage Craw.

“I basically caught everything off of cypress trees” he said. “The area I fished had a lot of logs and big stumps, but I didn’t catch any fish off of those. Every fish came off a green tree.” Most of the bass he caught were 1 to 5 feet deep.

Other anglers finishing in the top five of the pro division were Cody Bird, Granbury, Texas, third place, 42-2; David Cavell, Prairieville, La., fourth, 39-15; and Toby Hartsell, Afton, Okla., fifth, 39-14.

Co-angler Blake Naquin of Thibodaux, La., went wire-to-wire to win the first-place prize of a $30,000 Nitro Z18/Mercury 150 Pro XS package with a total of 23-9. “I caught fish mostly flipping a trick worm with a 3/16-ounce tungsten weight in the morning and then in the afternoon I would follow it up with a June bug Zoom Super Hawg with a 3/4-ounce weight,” he said.

The Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award of $750 went to Hunter Parra of Houma, La., with a 7-12 largemouth. Vince Todaro of Luling, La., weighed in a 4-5 largemouth to earn the Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award on the co-angler side worth $250.

Fred Roumbanis of London, Ark., received the Livingston Lures Leader Award of $250 for finishing as the top pro on Day 2. Finishing as the Day 2 leader on the co-angler side, Naquin received a Livingston Lures gift pack worth $250.

Crochet also earned the A.R.E. Top Angler Award of $500 for being the highest-finishing angler using A.R.E. products.

For more information on B.A.S.S News visit Bassmaster.com

Fall Fishing for White Bass

Lake of the Ozarks’ White Bass Turn On In Fall

by John Neporadny Jr.

Anglers who store their rods and reels in the fall to concentrate on hunting miss out on some of the Lake of the Ozarks‘ hottest fishing action.

When chilling northern winds signal the end of summer, white bass invade the shallows in search-and-feed missions for shad. From the middle of September to early November, whites congregate on main lake structure where the wind is blowing in, such as rocky points and bluffs. While a variety of techniques will catch white bass in the fall at the Lake of the Ozarks, two of the most productive methods are popping a topwater chugger-and-jig combination and twitching a shallow-diving stickbait.

The combination of a topwater lure and a doll-fly trailer tricks white bass of all sizes. Over the years Bruce Gier, a former guide from Eldon, Mo., has been refining a technique he learned from a fellow angler of catching white bass on a frog-colored chugger with a trailer jig. Gier has switched
to a shad-colored Rebel Pop-R or a Heddon Tiny Chugger with a white 1/16th-ounce feather jig. Since white bass tend to tear up plastic-skirted jigs, Gier prefers using feather jigs as trailers. “You catch so many fish on the chugger and jig that you’ll have to replace the plastic bodies all the time,” he says.

Gier casts his rig with a bait-cast or spinning tackle and 8- or 10-pound test line. He ties an 18-inch leader of 10-pound test on the back hook of the chugger and then to the jig. He also removes the front hook of the chugger to keep the leader line from tangling up in the hooks.

101 Bass Fishing Tips, John Neporadny Jr.

101 Bass Fishing Tips

In October, Gier searches for white bass along chunk rock banks at the mouth of the Gravois arm and in the North Shore area. The Missouri angler also finds the fish along these banks in November if the water temperature stays in the 50- to 65-degree range.

Casting as close to the bank as possible, Gier retrieves the chugger-and-jig combination in a popping manner. “The popping imitates another white
bass chasing a minnow on the surface,” Gier says. “The popping noise excites the fish below. They’re going to come up to check out that noise because they just can’t stand it.”

The speed of the retrieve can vary, but the action of the chugger must be a deliberate pop. “The chugger’s got to throw that water out front,” Gier says. “It’s got to look like an explosion.”

Gier jerks the chugger and reels at the same time. He also makes sure he works the rig all the way to the boat. “A lot of times, they’ll hit it right when you’re picking it up out of the water.”

Sometimes Gier catches a double on his rig. “If you ever catch one on the topwater lure, nine out of 10 times you’ll catch one on the crappie jig.” When he hooks one on the chugger, Gier lets the fish swim around until another white hits the trailer jig.

The chugger and jig technique works even without much wind. The chugging noise attracts the whites if they are in the vicinity. “Whenever the white bass are running, you can catch just as many as you want,” Gier says.

Twitching a stickbait for white bass along wind-blown banks has been a productive technique for me throughout the years. I alternate between three types of jerk baits, selecting the Storm Lures Junior ThunderStick and 4-inch Rebel Minnow when I want to catch numbers of whites or a Smithwick Rattlin’ Rogue in the 4 1/2- to 5 1/2-inch model when I’m after trophy-size whites or hybrids. These lures seem to best resemble the size of the shad I see on the Lake of the Ozarks during the fall. Chrome or silver and black are the best colors for the Rebel Minnow and Storm Lures Junior ThunderStick, but I’ve also had some good catches on a Junior ThunderStick in a rainbow trout hue. The biggest whites seem to prefer a Rogue with a black back, gold sides and orange belly.

The minnow baits have worked extremely well for me on those cloudy, windy days in late October and all through November. These lures will also take fish on sunny days, but you need a combination of wind and shade to draw strikes from white bass.

My favorite areas to throw the jerk baits are windy points, channel banks and bluffs in the Gravois and Grand Glaize arms. I’ve also caught some fish on long, shallow points with this technique, but the most productive structure features rock ledges which attract both baitfish and the white bass. When the waves crash up against the rocks, the baitfish schools scatter along the ledges. The white bass then pick off their prey by moving up into the rocks or waiting in deeper water for the baitfish to get washed off the ledges. Clear-water areas are also best since white bass feed primarily by sight.

When I find this type of situation, I throw the minnow bait up close to the bank and start twitching the lure along the ledge to the deeper water. To catch a prowling white’s attention, I jerk the minnow bait sharply to make the lure’s silver sides flash. I rapidly jerk the lure three times, then pause it momentarily before repeating the twitching process again. A lot of the strikes occur during the pause. Since I’m trying to trigger a reaction strike, I never let the lure sit still long. This prevents the fish from getting a good look at the baitfish imitator in the clear water. If I see a white bass slash at the lure and miss, I keep the lure moving at a slower pace, which occasionally draws a strike from the same fish.

If the three-count retrieve fails to produce, I vary the cadence of my jerks until I find a rhythm the white bass prefer. I also work the retrieve all the way back because I’ve had fish strike at the lure right next to the boat.

As the weather turns cooler in the fall, the white bass action gets hotter at the Lake of the Ozarks. If you want to try some of this exciting fall white bass fishing and need more information on lodging and other facilities at the Lake of the Ozarks or to receive a vacation guide, call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1-800-FUN-LAKE or visit the web site at www.funlake.com.

Copies of John Neporadny’s book, “THE Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Guide” are available by calling 573/365-4296 or visiting the web site www.jnoutdoors.com.

Power Generation and Bass Fishing

Watch the Flow for Fall Bass

By John Neporadny Jr.

The Lake of the Ozarks is usually low with little flow during October but power generation could still play a role in the fall bass action.

“Ameren brings the lake down about a foot right after Labor Day in anticipation of fall rain and that has an impact on the fish,” says Jeff Green, Ameren Missouri shoreline management supervisor who frequently competes in tournaments on his home waters of Lake of the Ozarks.

Green suggests anglers do some homework the week before fishing by checking the lake’s flow discharge rates on the Ameren web site (www.ameren.com). “Generation would be a positive thing for the fishing,” says Green. “The likelihood of generation is low because that is usually our low-water time and there is usually not a lot of rain.”

A rainy late summer/early fall could cause Ameren to generate in October and create current throughout the lake. “Current is just like a big conveyor belt of food so a big fat bass that is still in hot water it going to go to (a main lake) point to feed if there is heavy generation,” says Green, who suggests anglers should check about five main lake points before trying another pattern.

If generation has been light the week before fishing, Green recommends keying on specific cover such as a larger boulder or brush pile on the point rather than the drop-offs where bass congregate during heavy generation. He notes bass will scatter if generation has been shut off, but the fish will still be holding to some type of cover on the points.

Checking out the weather patterns for the lake the week before a trip to the lake will also help anglers prepare for their time on the water. “If we have had five cloudy days before a trip the fish are probably not going to be glued to brush piles,” says Green. “They are not going to be seeking out cover, there are going to be cruising.”

Cruising the lake should be a priority for anglers, according to Green. “Get a feel for what the water looks like in each of the arms so spend a little boat time and go from the (main lake) point all the way to the back to get a feel for where the shad are because the bass are going to be relating to the shad,” says Green. The Osage Beach angler suggests throwing a deep-diving crankbait to cover a lot of water and key on bass suspended above brush piles.

“The first week of October the fish are in transition,” Green says. “They have been down in their summer haunts of brush piles or points but the water is coming down a little bit and it is at its clearest point. The young- of-the-year shad are usually coming up. So the bass in those deeper brush piles start to suspend which makes them harder to catch.”

101 Bass Fishing Tips, John Neporadny Jr.

101 Bass Fishing Tips

Green has planted numerous brush piles in the lake throughout the years and cashes plenty of tournament checks when bass are holding in his fish attractors. The local expert recalls cashing some checks in the annual Big Bass Bash when he and his partner caught some bass in the 5-pound range from his brush piles. “One of my biggest fish in the Big Bass Bash though was on a spinnerbait 3 feet deep in the upper Glaize which had turned dingy due to wind/wave action,” he says.

Green’s favorite lures for working in the brush piles include a green pumpkin 3/4- or 1-ounce jig with a 5-inch Chompers’ twin-tail grub (in green pumpkin or pumpkin candy hues) or a Texas-rigged plum 10-inch Berkley Power Worm with a 1/2-ounce sinker on 20-pound fluorocarbon line. He suggests Texas-rigged plastic craws or hawg-style baits and Senkos rigged on shaky jigheads will also produce in the brush. Matching the young-of-the-year shad with a smaller paddletail worm also triggers strikes from quality bass suspended over the brush.

“All the strategies that time of year have challenges,” says Green. “You are not going to go out and know exactly what the fish are doing because they are doing a lot of things. The morning bite is going to be very important and you need to have a buzz bait tied on one of your rods.” The local angler suggests using a 1/2-ounce buzzer in chartreuse in murky water and white in clearer water. A Zara Spook will also draw bigger fish to the top in the clear water.

Green advises throwing topwaters on the main lake points in the morning. “If you don’t get bit on the points pretty quick, you need to start working your way back where you might find some of those larger bass chasing shad on the flats,” says Green. He recommends targeting docks on the flats since bigger bass use the docks as ambush points.

The lower lake usually yields bigger bass, but Green notes these fish are tougher to catch since many of the fish are suspending over deeper water. “The range of top to bottom is a much bigger area for the fish to suspend in,” warns Green. “One of the better strategies is to narrow that range and start fishing shallow water and you need to do that by fishing up the tributaries.” He recommends targeting shallower bass by trying the logjams and shallow boat docks on the Grand Glaize, Niangua and Gravois arms and the Osage arm from the 50-mile marker to Warsaw.

Docks will be key targets during the fall so Green hopes dock owners and anglers will be considerate of each other. “We have periodic conflicts there,” he admits. “It doesn’t happen very often but it does happen. It is important to recognize that the lake is here for many people to enjoy. We just need to be courteous and safe.”

For information on lodging and other facilities at the Lake of the Ozarks or to receive a free vacation guide, call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1-800-FUN-LAKE or visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitors Bureau web site at funlake.com.
Copies of John Neporadny’s book, “THE Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Guide” are
available by calling 573/365-4296 or visiting the web site www.jnoutdoors.com.

Lake of the Ozarks White Bass

Fall Tricks for Taking Lake of the Ozarks White Bass

by John Neporadny Jr.

When chilling northern winds signal the arrival of fall, white bass invade the shallows in search-and-feed missions on shad at Lake of the Ozarks.

Anglers who store their rods and reels to concentrate on hunting at this time miss out on some of the year’s hottest fishing action. Veteran Lake of the Ozarks anglers have experienced this fall phenomenon numerous times and have developed effective methods for taking the marauding whites. Try these tips for catching white bass the next time you visit the lake in autumn.

Roostertails, Jigs and Chuggers

From the middle of September to early November, look for spots where the wind is blowing in on rocky points. Three lures catch plenty of whites in the fall. Use Roostertails or marabou crappie jigs in sunny weather or a topwater chugger on overcast days.

The spinner on a Roostertail makes it an easy lure to use for whites. Just cast the lure close the bank and crank it out. If the white bass are around, the spinner will draw a strike. Throw a one-sixth ounce white Roostertail in clear water and switch to yellow for dingy water. Use an ultralight spinning rod and reel filled with 6-pound test line.

101 Bass Fishing Tips, John Neporadny Jr.

101 Bass Fishing Tips

Since whites cruise around in shallow, rocky areas, you should retrieve the Roostertail rapidly to prevent hanging up in the rocks. Anglers who have trouble retrieving fast can switch to a one-eighth ounce Roostertail which falls slower. Plenty of white bass can also be caught on one-eighth ounce marabou crappie jigs. Employ the same fast, steady retrieve as the Roostertail when swimming the lure through the shallows. But when the lure reaches deeper water, let it drop and bounce the jig along the bottom.

Topwater chuggers are another favorite bait for catching fall white bass. Chuggers 2 1/2 inches long in shad colors, such as black and silver or clear with black back, work best. Switch to 8-pound test when throwing the chugger.

Retrieving the topwater lure in a steady, straight manner entices the whites. Keep chugging the lure all the way to the boat even if a fish rolls at it and misses. The fish will usually hit it before it reaches the boat. If you stop the lure, the white bass usually turns away from it.

Twitching Rapalas

On overcast fall days, look for whites on the windy sides of points. When you find a promising spot, toss a floating Rapala into the shallows. A variety of minnow-type baits will catch whites, especially a 2 1/2-inch blue-and-white or black-and-silver belly Rapala. Use a light- to medium action rod and spinning reel filled with 4-pound test line.

Experiment with retrieves, varying from a slow, twitching motion to a stop-and-go or a steady cranking of two to three turns on the reel and then stop and let the Rapala float back to the surface. Just vary the speed until you find a retrieve that really turns the fish on.

When the wind makes casting the lightweight lure difficult, attach a small split shot to the line about 2 feet above the lure. The extra weight makes casting easier, but has little effect on the lure’s action if retrieved in the steady, twitching motion.

To double your fun, add a trailer jig to the Rapala. Tie on a 1/32-ounce white, chartreuse or yellow crappie jig on a 6-pound test leader line. The leader should be about 30 inches long. If you use a shorter leader, the tailer lure will get tangled up with the Rapala. With the extra lure, you can frequently catch two white bass at the same time.

For information on lodging and other facilities at the Lake of the Ozarks or to receive a free vacation guide, call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1-800-FUN-LAKE or visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitors Bureau web site at funlake.com.

Copies of John Neporadny’s book, “THE Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Guide” are available by calling 573/365-4296 or visiting the web site www.jnoutdoors.com.

Lake of the Ozarks Grand Glaize Offers Consistent Crappie Action

Grand Glaize Offers Consistent Crappie Action

By John Neporadny Jr.

While tournaments keep the Grand Glaize arm of Lake of the Ozarks well stocked with bass throughout the year, this section of the lake also contains a large population of crappie.

The Grand Glaize arm runs about 16 miles from its confluence with the Osage arm to the swinging bridges area where the Glaize narrows down to a stream. The arm contains several large branches and hollows throughout its length. Fish-holding structure on this arm includes creek channel drops and bends, bluffs, humps, long gradual gravel points and gravel flats.

Although this section of the lake has less boat dock than the other arms, it still contains plenty of sunken brush piles in the undeveloped Lake of the Ozarks State Park, section. Most of the docks on this arm are confined to the first couple of miles around the Grand Glaize Bridge and some spots from the 26 to 30 mile marker.

101 Bass Fishing Tips, John Neporadny Jr.

101 Bass Fishing Tips

Terry Blankenship, a veteran crappie tournament angler from Lake Ozark, Mo., considers the Glaize a medium-size feeder stream that creates different types of fishing opportunities for crappie. “In the early spring it seems like there is a movement of fish up the creek, and in the late fall there is a movement of fish coming back down the creeks on the upper Glaize,” he discloses.

During the winter, Blankenship concentrates on main channel structure where he finds crappie 12 to 15 feet deep. He catches wintertime crappie with a 1/16-ounce Laker Nailer tube jig (smoke hues for clear water and chartreuse for dirty conditions) tied to 6-pound test, the line size he uses for most of his crappie tactics throughout the year.

In the spring, Blankenship heads to the upper Glaize where he pitches a bobber-and-jig combo around shallow stickups and lay-downs. He sets his jig about 18 inches below the bobber and casts the rig past his target. Cranking the bobber close to the cover, Blankenship stops his retrieve and allows the jig to fall next to the wood, which usually triggers a strike.

The upper Glaize warms quicker so the spawn in this section usually occurs during the third week of April when the water temperature rises into the 60- to 65-degree range. The last week of April is usually the peak of the spawn on the lower end, Blankenship says. During the spawn, Blankenship keys on pea-gravel banks and fishes about 1 to 2 feet deeper than the water visibility level. He uses the bobber-and-jig combination if the water is murky but casts a jig in clear-water situations.

Postspawn crappie can be taken by trolling small shad-pattern crankbaits or casting 1/8-ounce Roadrunners along secondary points. “A lot of the fish are suspended then,” he says. “I know a lot of people have success after the spawn by trolling along the banks with jigs or Roostertails.”

Main lake bluffs on the Glaize arm offer crappie stable water conditions during the summertime and quick access to both deep and shallow water. Blankenship usually keys on bluff points with sunken brush piles or rock formations where crappie suspend over this cover. “I find a lot of fish suspended over the deep side of that brush where they can stay in deeper water and find the right comfort zone,” he discloses.

The local angler also prefers fishing ledges and cuts along the bluffs rather than sheer rock walls. “Those spots seem to hold fish better because they have more horizontal structure than then the straight up-and-down wall of the bluff,” he says. The pockets or cuts usually feature rock slides or wash-out areas that extend beyond the rock wall and provide a shallow spot for crappie to move up from the depths to feed.

During the hottest part of summer, Blankenship probes the 20- to 25-foot range for crappie along the walls, but he moves up into the 10- to 15 foot zone in late summer. As the water continues to cool down in the early fall, he moves up the ledges as shallow as 2 to 6 feet deep.

Horizontal and vertical presentations both work along bluffs for Blankenship. He either casts Laker Lures Nailer tubes to the bluff and swims the lures back over the brush and rocks or he will drop the lure straight down into the cover. When the water is still warm, Blankenship attaches a Berkley Crappie Nibble to the hook to enhance his jig.

By the middle of September, crappie on the Glaize start following baitfish to the back of coves, which offer cooler water. Some fish will move as shallow as 2 to 3 feet, but most of the crappie in the fall will be in the 6- to 10-foot range. Blankenship catches autumn crappie on a Nailer tube while employing a dying shad retrieve. If Blankenship sees shad turning on their sides near the surface, he begins his presentation by working his jigs vertically over the top of the brush piles. He lets the lure sit for awhile, then raises it suddenly and lets it fall back on a tight line to trigger a reaction strike from crappie holding tight to brush.

The best fall fishing usually occurs when the water temperature ranges from 50 to 60 degrees. Once the water drops below 50 degrees, the biggest concentration of crappie move back to the deep water again. “December is an excellent month for catching schooling fish in deeper areas,” suggests Blankenship.

For information on lodging and other facilities at the Lake of the Ozarks or to receive a free vacation guide, call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1-800-FUN-LAKE or visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitors Bureau web site at funlake.com.

Copies of John Neporadny’s book, “THE Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Guide” are available by calling 573/365-4296 or visiting the web site www.jnoutdoors.com.

Catch Lake of the Ozarks Bass in Brush Piles

Brushing up to catch Lake of the Ozarks bass

By John Neporadny Jr.

Bass have finished spawning and are on the move to their summertime haunts in deeper water at Lake of the Ozarks.

During this transition phase and when they reach their summer hideouts, bass are attracted to some type of cover that provides shelter and an ambush point. Some lakes contain enough natural cover for bass, but Lake of the Ozarks features man-made brush piles as an integral part of the fish’s habitat.

My home reservoir of Lake of the Ozarks is a prime example of how sunken brush piles improve the fishing on an old reservoir devoid of natural cover. Before the lake was filled in the 1930’s, the timber in the river valleys was clear-cut so there was no natural cover left for the fish after the lake formed. So boat docks and sunken brush piles are the main habitat for bass now on this aging lake.

Placing brush piles at strategic locations helps angler find fish throughout the year, but this type of cover seems to produce best in the summertime. The best time to target brush piles on Lake of the Ozarks is when the water temperature climbs into the 70- to 85-degree range.

The depth of the most productive brush piles depends on the water clarity. In stained or dirty water, brush piles at depths of 6 to 15 feet along main and secondary points and flats are key targets for summertime bass. In the clear-water sections of the lake, guides sink brush 25 to 30 feet deep on a main or secondary point to improve a spot for deep vertical presentations.

101 Bass Fishing Tips, John Neporadny Jr.

101 Bass Fishing Tips

Guides and tournament anglers on Lake of the Ozarks build their brush piles out of large branches or sections of hardwood trees (oak, sycamore or cedar). Sycamores are good for sinking because these trees feature a heavy wood that requires less weight to sink and has wider branches that make it easier to run a crankbait through without snagging.

I used to sink brush piles in the lake but have discovered it’s a lot easier now to find the work of others with my Humminbird side imaging unit. If you don’t have side imaging, you can still find brush with standard electronics in a short period of time if you know where to start your search. On Lake of the Ozarks, boat docks are a good starting point, especially the boat houses with fishing boats, cleaning stations, rod holders and lights hanging over the water. I usually skip past docks harboring large cruisers because the owners of these docks usually are more infatuated with boating than fishing.

Drop-offs are also good areas to find man-made cover. When fishing unfamiliar waters, you can also locate brush by dragging a Carolina rig on the main lake or running a crankbait in the back of a creek.

Once you find a brush pile, figure out how the cover lies on the bottom to make your lure presentation easier. Approach the brush from the deep end and cast to either side of the cover first, which allows you to quickly pull fish away from the snags. If the sides fail to produce any bites, throw down the base of the tree. By sinking the brush with the trunk of the tree facing the bank and the limbs pointing towards deeper water you can work your lure through the middle of the cover without hanging up in the limbs.

After working you lures along the sides and through the middle of the brush from the deep end, position your boat on the side of the brush and cast across it. Sometimes finicky fish are positioned a certain way so you have to turn your boat to the side the fish are on. After a couple of casts from the side, try circling the brush pile and throwing from the other side to work the brush from another angle.

If wind is blowing, assume bass will be facing the wind. So position your boat downwind from the brush pile and cast past the sunken cover. Once again make sure to work your lures along the edges of the brush pile before trying the middle of the cover.

Time of day can also determine how to work a brush pile. Early in the morning, you can run buzz baits and topwater lures over the top of the cover, but later in the day switch to slow-moving baits and concentrate on the fish burrowed into the thicker part of the brush.

A plastic worm is a must lure for catching summertime bass from the brush piles. On Lake of the Ozarks a red shad or blue fleck 10-inch Berkley Power Worm is ideal. You can create a slow fall by Texas-rigging the worm with a 1/8-ounce sinker. You want the worm to fall as slowly as possible and the lighter weight makes it easier to lift the worm into and out of the limbs without having to jerk it real hard, which could lead to more hang-ups.

After letting the worm fall to the bottom, make sure you keep your rod movements to a minimum as you crawl the lure through the limbs. Moving your rod tip even a couple of inches will cause the worm to jump 3 to 4 inches, which could be too much movement.

Find a brush pile planted in Lake of the Ozarks and you can increase your chances of harvesting a limit of summertime bass.

For information on lodging and other facilities at the Lake of the Ozarks or to receive a free vacation guide, call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1-800-FUN-LAKE or visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitors Bureau web site at funlake.com.

Copies of John Neporadny’s book, “THE Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Guide” are available by calling 573/365-4296 or visiting the web site www.jnoutdoors.com.