Shakin’ for Lake of the Ozarks Bass

Shaky Head Bass Fishing Tips

By John Neporadny Jr.

Lake of the Ozarks pros Guido and Dion Hibdon tinkered for a long time with a ballhead jig- and-worm combo and devised a screw lock keeper on the jighead that is now standard equipment on today’s shaky heads.

Round Shaky Head with Screw Lock

Round Shaky Head with Screw Lock

The shaky head concept has been around for y ears, but the popularity of this lure has skyrocketed recently due to the latest innovations in ways to hold the soft plastic on the jig and make it weedless. A shaky head jig combined with a 4-inch finesse worm has become a deadly tactic on Lake of the Ozarks and some anglers are discovering the jighead also works well when combined with other soft plastics.

Dion Hibdon favors this rig because the shaky head makes a worm stand straight up for a more natural presentation than a Texas-rigged worm, which tends to lie flat on the bottom. “It makes it look like a minnow feeding on the bottom,” describes Hibdon.

A plastic craw is also one of Dion Hibdon’s choices to attach to a Luck “E” Strike Finesse Round Jighead. The Missouri pro has occasionally paired the shaky head with a Zoom Brush Hog, but most of the time he sticks with plastic mud bugs such as a Luck “E” Strike 3-inch Guido Bug.

Hibdon favors using the Guido Bug on a shaky head because the craw stands up better than when it’s attached to a conventional skirted jig. He also believes the shaky head craw has a more natural appearance than the standard jig-and-craw combo. “They make these crawfish natural-looking enough now and if you put it on a skirted jig that is just a little too much,” Hibdon advises. His color choice for the shaky head craw is melon pepper, which he describes as a translucent green pumpkin hue. He also gives the craw a more natural look by dying the tips of its pincers chartreuse or orange.

The former world champion employs a different retrieve than most anglers use with the shaky head. He makes sure his craw stands up more by letting his line go slack as the jig sits on the bottom. “I believe in giving all of my lures a little slack line,” he recommends. “A lot of people move their lures way too much.”

After letting it sit on the bottom for awhile, Hibdon will twitch the shaky head craw once or twice and move it with his rod. Then he lets it sit on the bottom for awhile before moving it again. Hibdon will shake the lure constantly when he is fishing for spotted bass. He works his shaky head craw on a 7-foot American Rodsmiths Magnum Spinning Rod (medium/fast action) with a Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris Signature Series spinning reel spooled with 8- to 10-pound line.

The shaky head works best for Hibdon in the clear sections of Lake of the Ozarks, but the touring pro has noted co-anglers fishing behind him have caught fish on this rig in dirty water too. He opts for the shaky head craw any time he wants to target spotted bass. It is especially effective for him in the fall when the fish are hanging around rocks. A shaky head craw also draws more strikes for Hibdon than the conventional jig-and-craw when bass are on the nests. He has noticed nesting bass will ignore the jig-and-craw, but inhale a small craw rigged on a shaky head.

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.

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