Fall Tricks for Taking Lake of the Ozarks White Bass
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.
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.
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.