by John Neporadny Jr.
One type of cover bass seek and bass fishermen virtually ignore on other waters can be found nearly everywhere on the Lake of the Ozarks.
“A dock is basically the ultimate cover,” says Dion Hibdon, the touring pro who honed his skills while fishing the thousands of docks on his home waters of Lake of the Ozarks. “It provides good shade and it’s a good place for a fish to hide because a lure hasn’t been made yet that will fish every inch of a dock.” Hibdon and his father Guido are masters of a skipping technique that places a bait into near inaccessible spots, but even this presentation fails to cover every area a bass can hide under a dock.
Hibdon looks for the following keys to help him pinpoint the location of bass: clusters of bluegill hanging around the dock, shady spots and any hard-to reach areas, such as the back corners of boat wells or behind storage sheds where dock owners sink brush piles. If he catches bass form the same locations at a couple docks, the Classic champion develops a pattern in which he can key on the same spots at other piers.
The most common type of dock anglers encounter on Lake of the Ozarks are floating docks with encapsulated foam. Shade and man-made brush piles are the main shelter for bass under these floating docks.
When fishing a floating dock, Hibdon prefers pitching a jig and retrieving it in a hopping fashion to imitate a bluegill. Key locations on these types of docks include boat hoists and brush piles in the back corners of the wells and walkways. Brush piles can also be found along the sides and corners of docks and the deeper water in front of the boat house. Running a spinnerbait or crankbait along the sides of a dock is another productive technique for catching bass hiding under this floating shelter.
For information on lodging and other facilities at the Lake of the Ozarks or to receive a free 162-page 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.
Reprinted with permission from B.A.S.S. Times