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Fishing Lake of the Ozarks During the Holiday Season

Lake of the Ozarks Holiday Fishing

By John Neporadny Jr.

When the holiday season arrives at Lake of the Ozarks, even the fish get in on the holiday feasting.

Some of the best fishing of the year occurs on this Missouri reservoir during November and December as largemouth and spotted bass, crappie and white bass feast on forage in preparation for winter. As the water cools down, the fish become more active and move shallower. Recreational boat traffic has diminished and fishing pressure is minimal since many anglers have turned to hunting during the late fall/early winter period.

“The crappie are schooled a lot during those months so I have a tendency when it gets cooler to keep fishing shallower and shallower,” says Coast-Guard licensed guide Terry Blankenship. “Normally the crappie during this time are very aggressive and it seems to be an excellent time to catch big numbers of fish. Typically you can catch more fish out of a spot more than any other time of the year.”

101 Bass Fishing Tips, John Neporadny Jr.

101 Bass Fishing Tips

During November Blankenship relies on a 1/16-ounce jig for a faster descent rate when he is shooting the lure to docks or casting to brush piles. When the water temperature drops into the low 40s in December he switches to a 1/32-ounce jig for a slower fall and tries more vertical jigging then. Blankenship matches his jighead with a Bobby Garland Baby Shad or a 3-inch Slab Slayer in blue ice, electric chicken or bayou booger hues.

A spinnerbait and buzz bait are Blankenship’s top lure choices for bass in November when the fish are feasting on shad in the coves. He runs the buzz bait or wakes the spinnerbait over big rocks along the flats of the larger creek coves. As the water temperature continues to cool down during November, Blankenship starts to target brush piles at depths of 10 to 18 feet and slow rolls a 3/8-ounce spinnerbait (double willowleaf blades with white-and-chartreuse skirt) through the cover.

When the water temperature drops below 45 degrees in December, Blankenship keys on steeper banks and cuts in the coves close to the main channel. He catches both bass and crappie on this structure by slowly twitching a suspending stickbait that has a tint of blue, purple or chartreuse on the lure. “It seems like blue is an excellent color to have available for both bass and crappie on this lake,” Blankenship says.

White bass gang up on wind-blown points along the main lake throughout November. One of my favorite tactics for catching whites in the shallows then is to continually jerk a 4-inch Rebel Minnow (black back/chrome sides). The stickbait also triggers vicious strikes from heavyweight hybrid stripers lurking in the shallows.

Popping a topwater chugger and jig combination usually produces better numbers of white bass for me along the gravel points. I remove the front hook of the chugger to prevent line fouling and then tie about a 2-foot trailer line on the rear hook. I complete the rig by tying a white 1/16-ounce marabou jig on the trailer line.

The white bass action usually ends by the beginning of December when the water cools into the low 50s and the fish move out to school in deeper water.

For information on lodging 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.

Looking Through Water

Looking Through Water a novel by Bob Rich now on bookstands

Looking Through Water a novel by Bob Rich now on bookstands

Bob Rich is a storyteller. Many people know this about Bob through his near three decades-old friendships made in the course of fishing across the globe and through his books. As a gentleman angler, a competitor, guest lecturer, fly-fishing partner, a sponsor, an IGFA board member, a benefactor for numerous causes, a multi-event host or sharing a drink and humor with him dockside, Bob can weave a story.

+PHOTO - BOOK COVER - Looking Through Water - 1

The author of four popular non-fiction books, Bob now takes on the role of a raconteur in his first novel Looking Through Water, which debuted internationally in book stores Nov. 3.

“I’m pretty excited about it,” said Bob. “I’ve always wanted to do a novel. When I started Looking Through Water, I found the best way to begin was to set it against backdrops I’ve always loved; fishing, Manhattan, the Adirondacks and the Florida Keys.”

The narrative centers on William McKay who finds himself reliving his past to help his troubled grandson, Kyle, deal with the present. The old man wants desperately to discover what is troubling the brooding boy and hopes against hope that sharing his own tortuous journey to self-discovery will lift Kyle from his dark place. William’s story starts on an Adirondacks lake and wends its way through Manhattan to the Florida Keys. Interesting characters from the old man’s past come to life to help him tell an unforgettable story full of surprises and suspense.

“It’s a love story and an adventure story; filled with conflict, emotion and healing. It’s a great coming of age tale. And it has guns, shooting, dying and of course, since it’s the Florida Keys, fishing too! It has all the elements for a good story,” Rich said.

“The cover artwork is by John Swan,” he added. “The chapter pages are pen and ink drawings sketched by Craig Reagor and the publishing was handled by Jay Cassall at Skyhorse.”

“I had great fun inventing colorful characters and plot twists and have enjoyed reader’s reactions,” the affable Rich said with a smile.

Looking Through Water is now also available on Amazon.com, BN.com, and at BobRichBooks.com.

Always the philanthropist, Bob Rich said proceeds will benefit the Project Healing Waters, dedicated to helping injured veterans and active duty military heal from physical and emotional wounds through fishing. Along with helping many other non-profit charities Bob has raised millions for the Redbone and a cure for cystic fibrosis from his annual BassEye fishing tournaments in Buffalo, N.Y. and Golden Isles Red*Trout events on St. Simons Island, Ga.

For more on Looking Through Water plus videos of Bob giving insights into the novel, please go to BobRichBooks.com.

About Bob Rich

Whether it’s fishing for trout or tarpon, bonefish or billfish (International Angler recently documented his catch-and-release of a grander black marlin in Australia), marathon swimming or long distance cycling, they’re all favorites of author, entrepreneur, respected global business leader and philanthropist Bob Rich.

As chairman of family-owned Rich Products Corporation, Bob has grown the Buffalo, N.Y., based food company to 100 locations worldwide. For nearly three decades he’s been an active participant, sponsor and host of numerous Redbone Celebrity Fishing Tournaments raising millions to find a cure for cystic fibrosis, along with many other meaningful non-profit charities.
His four other books include three on fishing: The Right Angle; The Fishing Club: Brothers and Sisters of the Angle; Fish Fights: A Hall of Fame Quest; and a motivational book (co-authored with Scott Friedman) Secrets From the Delphi Café: Unlocking the Code to Happiness.

LOOKING THROUGH WATER
A NOVEL
By Bob Rich
Skyhorse Publishing: November 3, 2015
$24.99 US: Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-5107-0314-8

How to Catch Lake of the Ozarks White Bass

Largemouth Lures For Lake of the Ozarks White Bass

by John Neporadny Jr.

Bigger is better when it comes to luring larger white bass in the fall at Lake of the Ozarks.

I found that out years ago when we considered whites a nuisance because we were catching so many of them during our bass club tournaments in the fall. No matter what size crankbait, spinnerbait or jerk bait you would throw at windy banks, white bass would usually hammer it more often than black bass.

Since the biggest white bass, and even some smaller ones, repeatedly showed a preference for my largemouth bass lures each fall, I began throwing these larger lures specifically for whites. By casting these lures to my favorite white bass structures on my home reservoir, Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, I have taken several limits of hefty whites and hybrid-stripers over the years.

Another angler who has caught heavyweight white bass on conventional largemouth lures is Bruce Gier, a former guide and black bass tournament fisherman from Eldon, Mo. We use the following techniques to catch white bass on traditional largemouth lures at the lake.

Twitching A Jerk Bait

Several years ago, I accidentally discovered this technique while fishing in a bass club tournament during the fall. We had been catching black bass all day on medium-size Rattlin’ Rogues and it appeared the action was going to get even better when we moved to the back of a pocket where wind was blowing baitfish into the milfoil. White bass were feeding heavily in the weedy pocket and kept smashing our jerk baits, but they became such a nuisance that we had to leave the area to find more black bass.

101 Bass Fishing Tips, John Neporadny Jr.

101 Bass Fishing Tips

A couple of weeks later a similar incident occurred, convincing me that white bass seem to want a bigger bait in the fall. I was bass fishing with a friend who didn’t have much bass tackle, so I let him borrow a 4-inch Rebel Minnow to jerk around the weeds. When he caught six hefty white bass on the lure, I decided to try the jerk bait exclusively for white bass on a future trip. In less than two hours on my next outing, jerking the stick bait produced a limit of 15 white bass ranging in weight from 1 3/4 to 2 pounds.

Since then I have refined the technique and alternate between three types of jerk baits. I select the Storm Lures Junior ThunderStick and 4-inch Rebel Minnow when I want to catch numbers of good-size whites or I tie on a Smithwick Rattlin’ Rogue in the 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 inch models when I’m after trophy-size whites or hybrids. These lures seem to best resemble the size of the shad I see on my home lake during the fall. Chrome or silver and black are the best colors for the Rebel Minnow and Storm 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.

Since this technique requires a lot of rod jerking, I use light tackle to prevent fatigue in my arms and wrists. I jerk the stick bait with a 4 1/2-foot Berkley Lightning Rod and Shimano Bantam 1000 baitcast reel filled with 8-pound test line. This lightweight combination allows me to vigorously work the lure all day without wearing down.

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. I’ve also caught some fish on long, shallow points with this technique, but the most productive structure features rock ledges which attract both bait fish 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 very long though. This prevents the fish from getting a goodlook 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.

When 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 to me because I’ve had fish strike at the lure right next to the boat.

Chugger and Jig

A combination of a topwater lure, normally used for largemouth, and a doll-fly trailer tricks white bass of all sizes. Over the years Bruce Gier 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. 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.

In October, Gier searches for white bass along chunk rock banks. 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.

Crankbait Crazy

Big white bass also show a preference in the fall for crankbaits normally used for black bass. Shallow – and medium-running crankbaits such as the Norman Lures Little N, Bagley’s B1, Storm Lures Wiggle Warts and Bomber Model 6As have all produced big whites for me on a regular basis.

One of my most productive lures a couple of years back was the Storm Lures 1/2-ounce Thin Fin. We found white bass trapping shad in the back of a shallow pocket next to a main lake point. That fall, we caught the largest white bass retrieving the Thin Fin at a fast pace and occasionally twitching the lure to make it flash in the clear water.

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.

Key On Isolated Cover for Lake of the Ozarks bass

Key On Isolated Cover for Lake of the Ozarks bass

By John Neporadny Jr.

Lake of the Ozarks guide Jack Uxa has a simple game plan for anglers to follow during autumn.

Targeting shallow isolated cover is Uxa’s recommendation. “Spend five minutes idling in the back of some no-wake cove because you know there is one big stump or log back there,” he says. “If it is isolated cover a big bass can take ownership of that and the fish can be a like a little bulldog and come up and eat a buzz bait or some other type of reaction bait like a square-bill (crankbait) or you can pitch a jig to it.”

The most productive shallow cover during autumn will be in the upper sections of the Grand Glaize, Linn Creek, Niangua, Little Niangua and the various creeks up the Osage arm. Uxa notes that anglers wanting to fish the lower lake near Alhonna Resort can try Buck and Blue creeks or run up the Gravois arm.

Uxa concentrates on the 20- to 30-mile mark of the Osage arm because that is the area he frequently works through his business, Jack’s Guide Service, at Tan-Tar-A Resort. So he suggests visiting anglers should also try familiar waters. “Go fish the area you know the best that way you can adapt the best,” he advises.

101 Bass Fishing Tips, John Neporadny Jr.

101 Bass Fishing Tips

Isolated cover less than 2 feet deep on the flats in the backs of the creeks will hold the best fish. Uxa recommends trolling around to find isolate logs, stumps, docks, sunken boat lifts, small stickups and any stuff your trolling motor knocks into that is below the surface. The most productive cover will be near deeper water. “A lot of the spots are not going to be good,” warns Uxa. “You are going to fail about 90 percent of the time but it only takes one big fish.”

The presence of schools of shad or scattered baitfish will enhance the targeted area. “Baitfish are going to be just about everywhere in October,” says Uxa.

On the initial approach to a piece of shallow cover, anglers should run a buzz bait or fast-moving topwater plug over the target, according to Uxa. Then they should follow up with a jig or another slow-moving lure such as a Texas-rigged Brush Hog or 10-inch plastic worm. Uxa favors a black buzz bait for his surface presentation and pitches a 1/2-ounce jig in a peanut butter and jelly hue with a green pumpkin Berkley Powerbait Chigger Chunk when he wants to probe into the cover. He prefers the heavy jig for a faster fall to trigger reaction strikes.

“How that lure enters the water is really going to be critical,” says Uxa. “A lot of people are going to be making ‘somewhat okay’ casts but you want your cast to enter the water really nice and quiet.” The guide also recommends fishing the entire length of a shallow log and at different angles because a big bass could be holding anywhere on the piece of cover.

One detriment to fishing shallow during October is the dreaded turnover. “Our fall could be different this year,” says Uxa. “Since the water temp was cooler in August, the turnover could be earlier this year—and maybe not as intense.”

The local guide notes that turnover doesn’t occur everywhere on the lake at the same time and the lake is big enough to find areas unaffected by this fall phenomenon. “If you are out there and nothing is going on, somewhere on this lake it is too good to keep it down for too long,” says Uxa. “There is somewhere on this lake where they are going to catch them.”

Anyone coming to the lake for the first time should consider hiring a guide to learn more about the lake. “I will teach you a lot about where to go, where the resorts are or if there are any dangerous areas where you need to idle,” says Uxa. “I can definitely help you out there. If you have never fished docks or humps before, I can help you do that.”

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.

Fishing Lake of the Ozarks Bluffs

Bluffing For Big Bass at Lake of the Ozarks

By John Neporadny Jr.

Bluffs and docks could be a winning combination for Lake of the Ozarks anglers this autumn.

“I would start in the morning and hit as many bluff end docks as I could because those big fish will come up and suspend under those docks in the fall,” says James Dill of James Dill Guide Service and owner of Crock-O-Gator Bait Company. “I have caught a lot of big fish on an isolated dock that other people just blow by.”

Quality bass that usually hang along the bluff drops during the summer start suspending when the shad move to the surface in the fall. The bass suspend under the bluff-end docks sitting over depths of more than 50 feet and use the boathouses as ambush points to pick off shad. Dill notes this pattern works best when the water temperature drops into the 70-degree range from mid-September to November.

101 Bass Fishing Tips, John Neporadny Jr.

101 Bass Fishing Tips

The local guide tempts these suspending bass with a black 3/4-ounce Crock-O-Gator Headknocker Buzz Bait with a gold blade which he retrieves on 17-pound fluorocarbon line along the sides of the dock all the way to the front ends. “I wil start out reeling it pretty fast and then I will slow it down until I catch a couple,” says Dill. “You may hit a bunch of docks and not catch too many but sooner or later when you do catch a fish doing that it is going to be a good one.” Most of the strikes occur on the front corners of the docks although Dill occasionally catches some fish midway down the sides of the docks.

The bluff pattern works for Dill on the whole lake, but when he’s fishing the lower end he usually throws a Zara Spook on 14-pound monofilament around the docks in the clearer water. Dill advises any angler practicing for a tournament should run the lake and search a 15-mile stretch for isolated docks on the bluff ends. “See how many of those docks you can find in a certain area,” says Dill, who warns anglers to avoid fishing those docks during practice.

Another main lake pattern that produces quality fish for Dill in early October involves stair-stepping a jig down bluff shelves, a structure that big bass live on year-round. Dill opts for a 3/4-ounce Crock-O-Gator Reaction Jig or a 1-ounce football jig in dark colors (brown, green or black-and-blue) tipped with a bulky plastic trailer in the same color. He keys on shelves in the 15- to 18-foot depth range where he pops the jig off a shelf and lets it fall quickly to the next shelf. The local guide repeats the process until the lure drops off into the channel.

Dill likes to make a milk run of bluff docks before 10 a.m. and makes about five to eight casts per dock. Once the sun rises higher in the sky and starts casting shadows around the docks, Dill moves to the back of creeks and coves to target shallow docks. “If it is quiet and nobody has been back there you can catch big fish out of a foot of water,” says Dill.

The buzz bait still produces later in the day for Dill if he throws it to the shady areas of the docks. Then he likes to flip the buzzer into the wells where the lure’s buzzing sound echoes off the boat hoists. “It sends a whole different sound in there especially on those shallow docks,” reveals Dill. “When you flip all the way to the back and you bring that buzz bait and it is echoing through there, if there is a fish within 50 yards he is coming to eat that thing.”

Swimming a jig along the sides and in the wells of shallow docks also produces heavyweight bass for Dill in early October. Dill advises looking for bluegill keeping a safe distance from the docks. “If you are pitching those docks and there are bluegill that are 4 feet out looking into those dock corners there is a big fish there,” says Dill.

Bass can be found just about anywhere under a shallow dock, but the bigger fish tend to hide in hard-to-reach areas such as the walkways behind the dock cables and those small cracks in the flotation. “You have to hit those spots where nobody else has hit,” says Dill.

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.

Edwin Evers Wins Bassmaster Elite St. Lawrence River

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 2, 2015

Evers Finishes Strong At St. Lawrence River, Becomes First To Score Back-to-Back Elite Series Wins

WADDINGTON, N.Y. — Confidence means a lot to a tournament bass fisherman, and Oklahoma pro Edwin Evers said his was sagging a bit after a couple of tough events earlier this year.

A win last month at BASSfest made Evers feel much better — and with a renewed sense of confidence, he went out and claimed his second victory in a row in this week’s Evan Williams Bourbon Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River.

With a four-day total of 77 pounds, 10 ounces, Evers became the first angler to win back-to-back events in the 10-year history of the Elite Series. He cemented the victory with a Sunday catch of five smallmouth bass that weighed 17-8.

Evers said the victory at BASSfest — and the automatic berth into the GEICO Bassmaster Classic that came with it — played a major role in his New York strategy.

“Last time we were here, I went upriver every day,” said Evers, who chalked up his 10th career B.A.S.S. victory at Waddington. “But I didn’t think I could win there. I felt like this year coming back, everybody was going to try to go that way and get as close as they possibly could to where Brandon Palaniuk won the last time we were here (in 2013). So I went the other direction, and it was hard.”

Evers said he fished extremely long days during practice, taking advantage of a northern sun that often stays out from 5 a.m. to almost 10 p.m. But despite the long hours, he only got seven bites the first day of practice, four the second day and seven the third day.

He said he stuck with his decision, partly because his Classic berth is already in the bag.

“It made it a lot easier to do what I did this week, because I was not getting many bites,” Evers said. “It was a do-or-die deal. To finish 25th the last time we were here was decent, but I wanted a chance to win.”

Evers caught his fish drifting shallow areas where he could see smallmouth feeding in the glass-clear waters of the St. Lawrence. He said he probably used 20 different lures, and even the ones that didn’t produce bites often helped him locate fish that chased the lures back to the boat.

His top producer was a wacky rigged Zoom Fluke Stick in a green pumpkin color. He also used a Megabass Spark Shad swimbait in ayu, a Zoom called a Z-Drop worm, a Megabass X80 jerkbait, a white/silver/gold War Eagle spinnerbait, a small hair jig and a Zoom Speed Craw.

He fished all of the baits on the lightest line possible, using 6- and 8-pound braid all week.

“I could probably name three or four more baits that I caught good fish on this week,” Evers said. “I’m serious when I say I probably had 20 rods laid across the front of my boat, and they all helped me in some way.”

The swimbait often paved the way for him to land fish on the Fluke Stick.

“There were times when I’d throw that swimbait out there, and the fish just wouldn’t commit to it,” Evers said. “But when they’d follow it back to the boat, I would know they were there and I could really go to work on them.”

Sunday’s catch of 17-8 marked the second straight day that Evers failed to break the 20-pound mark after topping it his previous six times on the water. But with the rest of the field fading, he still left with the win.

Texas angler Alton Jones caught 16-7 Sunday and finished second with 73-15, nearly 4 pounds behind Evers. Louisiana’s Greg Hackney, the reigning Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year, finished third with 72-11; Tennessee angler Brandon Card placed fourth with 72-6; and Skeet Reese, winner of the Diet Mountain Dew Elite at Lake Guntersville this year, was fifth with 72-5.

A 94th-place finish on the Sabine River in March and 55th on the Sacramento River in May put Evers in a tough spot in the Angler of the Year race. But with a third-place finish at Lake Havasu in May and now his back-to-back victories, he’s moved into fourth place in the AOY standings, trailing leader Aaron Martens by 76 points.

As for becoming the first angler to win back-to-back events on the Elite Series, Evers said it might be next week before it actually sinks in.

“It hasn’t hit home yet,” Evers said. “It’s amazing. I can’t believe it. I know some buddies of mine are going to be really upset with me because I told them I didn’t have a good practice, but I really didn’t.

“It just all came together this week.”

The crowds got larger each day as North Country bass fishing fans turned out in droves to watch Evers make history. Waddington, N.Y., came close to breaking its own Elite Series attendance record of more than 34,000 set in 2013 at the Evan Williams Bourbon Showdown.

Bonuses and Contingency Awards:
The $1,000 award for the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points leader will go to Aaron Martens.
The Power-Pole Captain’s Cash will award $1,000 to Greg Hackney.
The Evan Williams Bourbon Heavyweight Award of $1,000 for the angler with the heaviest five-fish limit during the tournament goes to Shaw Grigsby for his 22-15 bag on Day 1.
The Livingston Lures Leader Award of $500 for the angler leading on Day 2 goes to Edwin Evers.
The Bass Pro Shops Big Bass award of $1,500 for the heaviest bass weighed goes to Mark Menendez.
The Toyota Bonus Bucks award of $3,000 for the highest placing eligible angler goes to Evers. The second highest placing angler, Josh Bertrand, is awarded $2,000.

The A.R.E. Truck Caps Top Angler Award of $1,000 will be awarded to Evers for being the highest placing angler using A.R.E. products.
The Rigid Industries Big Fish Light Jackpot will rollover to the next event with a total of $1,500. An angler must weigh in the heaviest five-fish limit of more than 25 pounds.

2015 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, GoPro, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha

2015 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: A.R.E. Accessories, Carhartt, Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels, Huk Performance Fishing, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Power-Pole, Rigid Industries, Shimano

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series presented by Allstate, Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation events, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Costa Bassmaster High School Series, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.
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Media Contact: Helen White, 205-313-0944, hwhite@bassmaster.com or Dave Precht, 205-313-0931, dprecht@bassmaster.com.

2015 Evan Williams Bourbon Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River 7/30-8/2
St. Lawrence River, Waddington NY.
(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 4

Angler Hometown No./lbs-oz Pts Total $$$

1. Edwin Evers Talala, OK 20 77-10 100 $101,500.00
Day 1: 5 21-03 Day 2: 5 22-09 Day 3: 5 16-06 Day 4: 5 17-08
2. Alton Jones Lorena, TX 20 73-15 99 $25,000.00
Day 1: 5 21-04 Day 2: 5 17-06 Day 3: 5 18-14 Day 4: 5 16-07
3. Greg Hackney Gonzales, LA 20 72-11 98 $21,000.00
Day 1: 5 18-15 Day 2: 5 18-08 Day 3: 5 16-04 Day 4: 5 19-00
4. Brandon Card Caryville, TN 20 72-06 97 $15,000.00
Day 1: 5 19-08 Day 2: 5 19-03 Day 3: 5 16-12 Day 4: 5 16-15
5. Skeet Reese Auburn, CA 20 72-05 96 $14,000.00
Day 1: 5 20-08 Day 2: 5 19-13 Day 3: 5 15-09 Day 4: 5 16-07
6. Mark Davis Mount Ida, AR 20 71-14 95 $13,500.00
Day 1: 5 19-14 Day 2: 5 18-00 Day 3: 5 16-01 Day 4: 5 17-15
7. Jacob Powroznik Port Haywood, VA 20 71-06 94 $13,000.00
Day 1: 5 18-15 Day 2: 5 17-08 Day 3: 5 18-15 Day 4: 5 16-00
8. Kevin Ledoux Choctaw, OK 20 70-02 93 $12,500.00
Day 1: 5 20-07 Day 2: 5 17-09 Day 3: 5 18-05 Day 4: 5 13-13
9. Keith Combs Huntington, TX 20 69-11 92 $12,000.00
Day 1: 5 17-15 Day 2: 5 16-03 Day 3: 5 19-03 Day 4: 5 16-06
10. Michael Iaconelli Pitts Grove, NJ 20 69-10 91 $11,500.00
Day 1: 5 20-12 Day 2: 5 14-00 Day 3: 5 22-04 Day 4: 5 12-10
11. Josh Bertrand Gilbert, AZ 19 69-10 90 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 19-01 Day 2: 5 20-11 Day 3: 5 18-15 Day 4: 4 10-15
12. Seth Feider Bloomington, MN 20 65-14 89 $10,500.00
Day 1: 5 18-04 Day 2: 5 19-10 Day 3: 5 16-04 Day 4: 5 11-12
BASS PRO SHOPS BIG BASS
Mark Menendez Paducah, KY 06-03 $1,500.00
EVANS WILLIAMS HEAVYWEIGHT
Shaw Grigsby Jr. Gainesville, FL 22-15 $1,000.00

———————————————————————–
Totals
Day #Limits #Fish Weight
1 95 515 1648-14
2 85 487 1461-09
3 43 236 731-02
4 11 59 185-12
———————————-
234 1297 4027-05

Lake of the Ozarks – Great Fishing Opportunities For All

Lake of the Ozarks is a great fishery

By John Neporadny Jr.

Known as one of the Midwest’s most popular vacation spots, Lake of the Ozarks also has a reputation of being one of the best fishing lakes in the country.

Although younger reservoirs appeal to an angler’s eye with flooded timber and undeveloped shorelines, the Lake of the Ozarks entices fishermen with its hidden charms. This 54,000-acre lake lost most of its natural cover when the standing timber was cleared before the lake was formed. New cover has developed over the years as dock owners and anglers have planted brush piles throughout the impoundment. Other fish-holding structure includes steep bluffs, creek channels, humps, and points. Docks provide plenty of shelter for a variety of fish, while lay-downs and log jams are the primary cover for bass, crappie and catfish in the undeveloped sections of the lake.

The various arms of the lake offer diverse water clarity and structure so anglers can catch fish on a wide range of tactics. The Osage arm runs 98 miles from Bagnell Dam to Truman Dam and changes drastically from one end to the other. The North Shore section close on the lower end contains some of the deepest and clearest water on the lake, while the upper Osage near Warsaw narrows until it turns riverine in appearance with the water remaining stained to murky most of the time. The winding Niangua arm resembles a large river more than a reservoir since it has few major coves and a narrow main channel for most of its length.

101 Bass Fishing Tips, John Neporadny Jr.

101 Bass Fishing Tips

The 10-mile Gravois arm is one of the oldest developed sections of the lake so its shoreline is dotted with boat docks. Fed by the gin-clear waters of the Gravois, Little Gravois, Spring Branch, Soap, Indian and Mill creeks, this arm usually remains one of the clearest sections of the lake throughout the year. 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.

If variety is indeed the spice of life, then Lake of the Ozarks spices anglers’ lives with its smorgasbord of fishing opportunities. The lake rates as one of the best reservoirs in Missouri for catching a variety of game fish. Largemouth bass and crappie are the most sought-after fish at the lake, but catfish, white bass, walleye and sunfish also offer plenty of action throughout the year.

The Missouri Department of Conservation’s 9-inch minimum length limit on crappie has helped keep crappie fishing consistently good throughout the year. Limits of keeper-size crappie can be taken in the shallows from March through May and again in October through early December. The key to catching crappie the rest of the year is to find some of the hundreds of brush piles sunken at various depths throughout the lake.

The lake is also loaded with keeper-size bass thanks to the Missouri Department of Conservation’s 15-inch minimum length regulation on black bass. Renowned for its bass fishing, Lake of the Ozarks draws numerous tournaments ranging in size from 10-boat bass club events to 150-boat national circuit contests, which are held each weekend just about year-round. With this sort of attention, the lake receives plenty of fishing pressure, yet still yields heavyweight stringers of bass to tournament competitors.

White bass are another popular catch in the spring and the fall. Local anglers head for the riffles in the major creeks and tributaries to catch spawning whites in April and May. In the fall, they target wind-blown points and pockets to track down white bass chasing baitfish.

Lake of the Ozarks catfish are an obliging sort. They will eat just about anything you put on a hook and can be taken on a variety of methods throughout the warmer months. The three most popular species to catch at the lake are channel, blue (or white cats as the local anglers call them) and flathead catfish. The lake has a reputation for yielding big blue cats each year and has also produced a former state record flathead catfish, a 66-pounder caught by Howard Brownfield in 1987.

Three state record fish have come from the Lake of the Ozarks. Gene Snelling caught a state record muskellunge (41 pounds, 2 ounces) in 1981; Allen Schweiss landed a 36-pound, 12-ounce smallmouth buffalo in 1986; and Ronald Wagner made the record book in 1980 with a 40-pound, 8-ounce freshwater drum.

Several marinas and resorts rent boat to visiting anglers who don’t own one and want to venture out on the water. Newcomers to the lake also can have a rewarding day on the water by hiring a Coast-Guard licensed guide.

Customers at the various lake resorts on the lake can enjoy catching crappie, bass bluegill and catfish from the docks that the resort owners enhance by sinking brush piles in multiple locations.

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.

Tips for Taking Kids Fishing

When Taking Kids Fishing Keep Things Simple

By Marc Rogers

Young children, particularly young boys, do not always have the ability to remain interested in things very long. When fishing during a slow bite this becomes very evident in the behavior exhibited. When presenting live bait under a bright color bobber, children like to retrieve the offering repeatedly, whether getting bites or not. Also, children love to explore their surroundings while outdoors and doing so will interrupt fishing. There are ways to take advantage of these behaviors while making things easier on yourself.

boys in boat 1

Keeping it simple means allowing children the freedom to take breaks from fishing and explore their surroundings. There are many learning opportunities available near any body of water where fish live. Give them time to discover new things and answer questions they have. If you do not know the answer, look for information together at a later time. Being a teacher is fantastic way to learn new things yourself.

Quite frequently, I participate in fishing excursions with two or more young boys. During these outings we seldom use live bait. They are outfitted with spincast combos and simple artificial lures. When choosing rods for children, consider rods that are similar in length to the child’s height, this will work best for them.

Simple artificial lures I use most often when taking children include small spinners, small soft-plastic lures and ultra-light panfish jigs. These are easy to cast for children using light spincast equipment. All of these lure types mentioned need to be moving to impart action and attract fish. This is how I take advantage of their desire to constantly cast and retrieve. This also relieves me of the busy job of keeping two or more hooks covered with bait.

Top: Rooster Tail Inline Spinner Bottom: Beetle Spin

Top: Inline Spinner
Bottom: Beetle Spin

The small spinner I choose most often is a panfish sized safety pin style with a small jig below a blade. Often called Beetle Spins do to a popular brand name, this style of spinnerbait is easier to use by children than in-line spinners. In-line spinners will produce line twist when retrieved. Line twist will wreak havoc on spincasting gear causing tangles and difficult casting situations.The bent wires make the lure weed resistant and produce less hang-ups than in-line spinners. Another advantage to Beetle Spin style lures is the have a single hook versus a treble hook most in-line spinners have, again reducing hang-ups.

Soft-plastic worms, grubs and crawfish are ideal when chasing panfish and bass in both large and small waters. Both of my boys prefer a four-inch plastic worm rigged on a 3/16 ounce shaky head over any lures available. The versatility of this rig allows them to present it anywhere in the water column. The will often drag it along the bottom to entice strikes from bass, but simply casting and swimming it back will also produce hard strikes from aggressive bass.

Midwest Fishing Tackle Shaky Head with Gene Larew Salt Head Shaky Worm

Midwest Fishing Tackle Shaky Head

Using a shaky head allows me to rig the worm weedless for fewer hang-ups. Weedless lures reduce my workload and their frustration.

Plastic grubs can be rigged several ways. Large grubs can easily be presented on a shaky head or a standard jig head with an open hook. Smaller grubs – approximately two inches or less – are best used on standard jig. The smaller offerings entice panfish most often, but are capable of catching larger fish as well. The smaller grubs are effective using a cast-and-retrieve method or hanging 12 – 18 inches below a bobber. Weighted bobbers make casting these light lures easier.

While effective anywhere, when fishing small creeks and rivers, it is hard to beat a small, plastic crayfish imitator. These too, I rig on a shaky head or other weedless style jig head. This rig is simple for an angler of any age to present to both panfish and smallmouth bass. Teach the child to cast the lure above large rocks, fallen timber or submerged tree roots then allow the lure to be washed downstream on a semi tight line. This presentation resembles the movement of an injured or escaping crawfish and will draw vicious strikes from smallmouth bass.

These three simple rigs, matched with a good dose of patience, will create some great memories of time spent on the water. Remember, these trips are for the children. Giving them the opportunity to explore the great outdoors, along with fishing will make the outing more pleasurable for both you and the child. One last tip, do not take a fishing rod for your own use. If you are paying enough attention to the youngster(s) you will not have time to fish. Doing so, will cause both you are your little partner frustration and spoil a great opportunity.

Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Vacation

Lake of the Ozarks for Family Fishing Vacation

By John Neporadny Jr.

Lake of the Ozarks is an excellent fishing spot that offers other recreational opportunities such as swimming, hiking, water skiing, sightseeing and camping that the whole family can enjoy.

My home lake is also one of the top family fishing vacation spots in the state, but to get in on the best bass fishing you have to be an early riser or a night owl. Recreational boating is the most popular sport on the lake during a summer day, so all the boat traffic makes it difficult to fish during the mid-day hours.

Savvy bass anglers usually wait for the sun to set before trying for bass. A Texas-rigged 10-inch Berkley Power Worm in black/blue or blue fleck hues is one of the most effective lures to throw for bass hanging out in brush piles 15 to 25 feet deep.

During the summer months, catfish and sunfish keep anglers busy baiting their hooks. “You can catch a ton of channel and blue catfish,” says James Bryant of Bryant’s Osage Outdoors in Laurie. The bait-and-tackle shop owner suggests families can have plenty of fun fishing for catfish and panfish (crappie, bluegill and green sunfish) off of docks and seawalls.

“We sell more panfish equipment here than anything else in the store,” says Bryant. “Pan fishing is the staple of the Lake of the Ozarks. That is what the lake is all about. You don’t have to have an expensive boat; you can enjoy fishing the Lake of the Ozarks from a lawn chair.”

101 Bass Fishing Tips, John Neporadny Jr.

101 Bass Fishing Tips

Customers at the various resorts on the lake enjoy catching crappie, bass, bluegill and catfish from docks that the resort owners enhance by sinking brush piles in multiple locations. “We have a fishing dock and it produces crappie almost year round,” says Michael Spriggs, owner of Point Randall Resort.

Tight lining for catfish off the resort docks offers families a great chance for a bragging-size catch. “We have a picture on our wall of a kid who caught a 17-pound blue cat right off of our fishing dock,” Spriggs says.

Popular attractions at Lake of the Ozarks include Big Surf amusement park, Miner Mike’s Indoor Family Fun Center, HaHa Tonka State Park, Lake of the Ozarks State Park, Bridal Cave, the Bagnell Dam Strip and the Osage Beach Premium Outlets mall.

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.

Family Fishing Vacation at Lake of the Ozarks

Family Fishing Vacation at Lake of the Ozarks

By John Neporadny Jr.

When I was a kid, I always cherished our summer fishing trips more than any of our other family vacation excursions.

When I moved from St. Louis to Lake of the Ozarks with my own family, we spent a lot of our summers at home where my daughters learned to fish, swim and water ski. We also visited most of the local attractions including Big Surf water park, HaHa Tonka State Park, the Bagnell Dam Strip and Bridal Cave.

So I have spent a lot of family fishing outings at one of the best lakes in the state, which can also be a great family-friendly vacation destination.

Heavy recreational boat traffic makes fishing tough on my home lake during the summer, but families can still catch plenty of fish if they pick the right times and locations.

When I guided on the lake, I would usually take my clients out bass fishing early in the morning and try to get off the water before noon. In June, we would catch keeper bass and plenty of sub-legal fish on Texas-rigged plastic worms, medium-diving crankbaits, topwater chuggers and Carolina-rigged plastic lizards. I would usually start out on the main lake points in the early morning and as the boat traffic increased I would head for the backs of the major coves and have my clients work plastic worms through the brush piles around docks.

Catfish provide plenty of action for families on vacation at Lake of the Ozarks. Blue and channel catfish can be taken on juglines, trotlines or drifting with cut shad or tight lining from the resort docks with stink baits, nightcrawlers or chicken livers.

Kids can catch bluegill and green sunfish all day long off the resort docks or seawalls. Attaching a small bobber to their lines and baiting their hooks with red wigglers, crickets or even pieces of bread or hot dogs will keep the kids busy until they get tired of catching fish.

Resort owners usually sink brush piles around their docks, which makes these spots ideal for catching crappie at night under the lights. Minnows and jigs are all a family needs to catch some nighttime crappie in June.

The lake area offers families plenty of amenities and attractions when they come off the water. Popular activities at the lake include visiting Big Surf water park, Miner Mike’s Indoor Family Fun Center, HaHa Tonka State Park, Bridal Cave and the Bagnell Dam Strip or shopping at the Osage Beach Premium Outlets mall.

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.