Tag Archive for Bass Fishing Tips

Dion Hibdon’s Tips On Catching Lake of the Ozarks Bass

By John Neporadny Jr.


Tips on Catching Lake of the Ozarks Bass

Although his time is limited on his home waters, Dion Hibdon can still best the local anglers in tournaments on Lake of the Ozarks. The Stover, Mo, angler proved that when he won the 2006 FLW Series event at the Lake of the Ozarks.

Following in his father Guido’s footsteps, Dion Hibdon competed in his first bass tournament at the age of 12. The next year he kept up a Hibdon family tradition when he started guiding on Lake of the Ozarks. Dion joined the ranks of professional bass fishermen at the age of 18 and has won both the Bassmasters Classic and the Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship.

When he’s home from the tournament trail, Hibdon likes to catch bass on suspending jerk baits during the winter. “I do it with a lot smaller baits than a lot of the other guys do,” admits Hibdon. He opts for the Luckycraft Bevy Shad or the 3 1/8-inch Rapala Husky Jerk, which he tosses on 8-pound test line. His favorite lure colors include blue-and-pearl on sunny days or chrome hues for cloudy weather.

Bluff ends and channel swings that run tight to the bank are Hibdon’s favorite spots for cold-water bass. “In the wintertime you don’t have to relate to the points as much,” he suggests.  Hibdon prefers fishing for wintertime bass in the big creeks around the dam area where the fish will be suspended 10 to 15 feet deep over depths of 30 feet.

When the water temperature rises into the high 40s and low 50s, Hibdon catches prespawn bass on a jig or a Storm Lures Wiggle Wart crankbait. He favors a green crawfish Wiggle Wart that he runs about 7 to 8 feet deep on 8- to 10-pound line.

Hibdon selects a 1/8- or 1/ 4-ounce jig and a Guido’s Baby Original plastic craw to work along transition banks where the shoreline changes from a bluff to chunk rock. He usually chooses a jig-and-craw in natural colors such as amber green flake or melon pepper during this time and works the lure on 8- to 10-pound test.

As the water temperature climbs into the mid 50s, Hibdon targets secondary points where he still catches some fish on a jerk bait or a Wiggle Wart. However, one of his favorite tactics for working the secondary points is to drag a Carolina-rigged soft plastic (plastic lizard, French Fry or Fluke in green pumpkin or watermelon). His rig consists of a main line of 17- to 20-pound test, a 1-ounce weight, and a 2- to 3-foot leader of 17- to 20-pound test. He drags his rig along the bottom of the gravel point at depths of 7 to 10 feet and fishes anywhere from the dam to the Grand Glaize arm.

Hibdon notices bass normally spawn at Lake of the Ozarks in mid to late April depending on the full moon. Although he has seen some bass spawn in 55-degree water, Hibdon notes most bass nest when the water temperature in the 60s. “Once the fish go to the beds to spawn the whole lake is good then,” advises Hibdon. Since he prefers sight fishing, Hibdon usually concentrates on the clearer water around Tan-Tar-A and below.

Most of the time the Stover, Mo., angler skips a Texas-rigged 4-inch Hibdon Tube with a 1/8- to 1/16-ounce Eagle Claw HP QuikClip weight and 2/0 Eagle Claw HP Hook) on 10-pound test line. He keys on flat banks in the creeks or flat pockets protected from the wind. “If you see a lot of smaller fish in the shallows a lot of times a bigger fish will be out in front of them in deeper water,” hints Hibdon. “A lot of the big ones will be out 5 to 6 feet deep.”

Post-spawn patterns usually work for Hibdon from early to mid May when he favors throwing a topwater popper. Hibdon uses a variety of small Japanese poppers that he twitches on 17- to 20-pound line in the depth range of 4 feet or less along secondary and main lake points. His favorite area for postspawn action runs from the mouths of the Niangua and Linn Creek to the Hurricane Deck Bridge.

If he spots any shad activity in the mornings, Hibdon also like to run a lavender shad Worden’s Timber Tiger square–billed crankbait along secondary points. If the fish start schooling up along the points, Hibdon works a Poe’s 300 Series crankbait (in shad patterns) on 12- to 14-pound line.

Bass start suspending on main lake points by the end of May and into June. “Throughout the month of June, if you fish points with a big worm and a crankbait you’ll be around the fish,” says Hibdon. He usually catches bass during this time from Proctor Creek down to the Gravois arm.

The pro angler fishes for suspended bass with a Texas-rigged 10-inch plastic worm (electric blue, black grape or black) attached to 17-pound line along with a 3/16-ounce bullet weight and 4/0 hook. Hibdon cranks a Poe’s 300 Series crankbait in shad-patterns with 8- to 10-pound line and then switches to a Poe’s 400 Series crankbait when the fish move deeper in late June.

In July the fish start relating to wood more, so Hibdon keys on brush piles 12- to 14-feet deep close to points. He uses the same size plastic worm but relies on a 5/16-ounce weight so he can work the lure along the bottom better.

Fall patterns begin for Hibdon in mid to late September when he catches bass around docks close to points. He favors throwing the lavender shad Timber Tiger 4- to 5-feet deep along any wind-blown points with docks. In October, bass suspend under the dock foam where Hibdon catches fish either by swimming a jig or cranking a spinnerbait or shallow-diving crankbaits.

His favorite lures for this pattern include a 1/4- or 3/8-ounce black jig with a shad gray or white twin-tail trailer (the bottom half of a Dion’s Classic), a 1/4- or 3/8-ounce Ninja Spin (white skirt with silver blades) and a lavender shad Timber Tiger DC-5 crankbait. He ties the jig or spinnerbait on 17- to 20-pound test and runs his crankbait on 14-pound line.

If the fall weather has been mild, Hibdon prefers fishing the upper end from Purvis Bay to Truman Dam. By late October and early November, bass start chasing large gizzard shad along the big dark rocks on the lower end of the lake. Hibdon favors catching these shallow bass on a Zara Spook, 1/ 2-ounce white spinnerbait with number 6 or 7 silver willowleaf blades or a 3/8-ounce buzz bait with an oversized blade (shad-pattern for clear days or black for rainy weather) tied on 17- to 20-pound line.

“It’s a very fickle pattern because some years they do it and some years they don’t,” warns Hibdon. “If it doesn’t get cold enough early enough, sometimes that big gizzard shad pattern doesn’t happen.” Hibdon then resorts to a 3/8-ounce jig tipped with a Guido’s Original plastic craw that he flips to wind-blown rocky banks until the jerk bait pattern begins in early to mid-December.

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.

Denny Brauer’s Lake of the Ozarks Tips

By John Neporadny Jr.


Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Tips

Bass fishing legend Denny Brauer has competed on numerous waters throughout the country so he knows what makes a good bass fishery.

Lake of the Ozarks is unique because it has a bass population from one end to the other; whereas a lot of others aren’t that way,” says the 1999 Bassmasters Classic champion. “I think it is one of the best jig lakes in the country. You can literally fish a jig 12 months a year because the lake has so much cover with the docks and the brush around the docks.”

During the winter, Brauer targets bluffs and rock slides where he throws a jerkbait or a jig-and-craw. He favors a jerk bait with a blue back and chrome sides on sunny days, a black back/chrome sides model in overcast weather and the clown color in stained water. The former BASS Angler of the Year jerks the lures slowly with 10-pound test line and experiments with his presentation until he figures out how the fish want the lure retrieved. “When that water is down in the 40s I give it three jerks, kill it and let it sit for a little bit, then give it three more jerks,” he describes.

The jig fishing expert also relies on a chameleon craw 1/ 2-ounce Strike King Denny Brauer Design Pro Model Jig tipped with a Strike King Denny Brauer 3X Chunk trailer in the same color. He pitches the jig to the bank on 12- to 17-pound test line and works it out to 18 to 20 feet deep. “I try to definitely make contact all the time with the bottom and make real short hops off the bottom,” he says. His favorite areas for wintertime fishing include the Niangua arm and the lower end of the lake from the mouth of the Gravois to the mouth of the Grand Glaize.

As the water warms in the early spring, Brauer concentrates on the lower and middle sections of the lake to catch bass during the prespawn, which usually reaches its peak in April when the water temperature climbs to 55 degrees. Brauer still uses the jerkbait or jig during the prespawn, but he also throws crawfish-color Strike King Pro Model Series 3 and 4 crankbaits with 12- to 17-pound line. He relies on the heavier line in dirty water and scales down for clear conditions.

“I just go down the chunk rock banks on into the pea gravel banks and the pockets,” says Brauer, who retrieves the lure in a stop-and-go fashion. “I try to keep it on the bottom the whole retrieve or pretty close to it. I’ll stop it now and then even if I don’t hit anything because those cold-water bass like to follow a bait.” The fish will usually be about 4 to 8 feet deep along the rocky banks of the coves and creeks.

Brauer discloses that a mild winter will trigger the bass spawn in April, but a harsh winter delays the spawn until May. He fishes the lower end of the lake some when bass are on the nests, but he prefers the mid-lake area most of the time. The BASS pro looks for small side pockets in the big coves that have fairly flat gravel banks. He also likes certain banks lined with boat docks that are near deep water. The depth of the fish depends on the water clarity but in most cases Brauer finds nesting bass less than 5 feet deep.

When he finds the right spot, Brauer flips a Strike King Denny Brauer’s Pro Model Flip-N-Tube (green pumpkin) Texas-rigged with a 5/16-ounce weight and a Mustad 3/0 or 4/0 hook. He opts for 12- to 15-pound test for flipping the tube and dips the lure’s tail in chartreuse dye if he is fishing stained water.

“If the water is a little stained I am mainly pitching to targets; if the water is fairly clear I will move in and do a little sight fishing, although I prefer not to fish that way,” admits Brauer.

After the spawn, Brauer works a Strike King Spit-N-King topwater lure around docks in the spawning pockets and the secondary points close to the nesting areas. He likes to cover a lot of water during this time so the pro angler retrieves his lure quickly on 12-pound test line. The fish will usually be less than 12 feet deep and will hit the lure whether it’s sunny or cloudy. “You can throw the topwater pretty much all day that time of the year,” says Brauer, who prefers fishing close to home in the mid-lake area during the post spawn.

Main lake docks and some boathouses in coves are Brauer’s favorite summertime targets from Bagnell Dam to the Hurricane Deck Bridge. A pumpkin/green flake 1/ 2-ounce Strike King Denny Brauer Design Pro Model Jig and Strike King Denny Brauer 3X Chunk in the same hue is one of Brauer’s favorite lures for pitching around the docks. “The fish are feeding on bluegill around the docks so that color seems to work the best,” says Brauer. He also uses a Texas-rigged 11-inch plastic worm (pumpkinseed, June bug or electric blue) with a 4/0 Mustad hook and a 1/ 2-ounce worm weight tied on 25-pound line.

Running a Strike King Pro Model Series 6 crankbait along main lake points also produces summertime bass for Brauer. He favors a blue back/white belly or blue back/chartreuse crankbait that he cranks on 12-pound test line.

In the fall (October through the end of November), Brauer runs up the Osage arm where he fishes anywhere from the 50 mile marker up to Truman Dam. He looks for isolated wood and schools of shad on flats along the main channel or back in the creeks.

The legendary angler’s favorite fall lures include a 1/ 2-ounce Strike King Elite buzz bait (white for sunny weather or black for rainy days) and a 1/ 2-ounce white or white-and-chartreuse spinnerbait with willowleaf blades, both of which he throws on 20-pound test line. He also likes to flip jigs and creature baits to the docks and isolated wood cover. A 1/ 2-ounce jig in a Texas craw or black-and-blue color works best if he is fishing the lure along the bottom. If the fish are suspended under docks, Brauer opts for a white 3/8-ounce jig with a white trailer that he swims along the docks with 25-pound test line.

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.