Tag Archive for Dion Hibdon

Lake of the Ozarks’ Bass Pro Tactics

By John Neporadny Jr


Denny Brauer, Guido Hibdon and Dion Hibdon Share Tactics for Lake of the Ozarks

Since Lake of the Ozarks has some of the best bass fishing in the country, it’s only natural that the lake has spawned three of the top professional anglers in the tournament ranks.

Among the most consistent anglers in competitive fishing today are Denny Brauer, Guido Hibdon and Dion Hibdon. Before turning pro, this threesome either guided or fished competitively in smaller tournaments on Lake of the Ozarks. Their busy schedules keep them from fishing their home reservoir much any more, but they do get to sneak in an occasional trip during the summer. When they have the chance to fish at home, they rely on the same trusty summertime patterns that produced bass for them before they became full-time pros.

Let’s find out how these three pros catch largemouth bass from their home waters during the summertime.

Denny Brauer

This former BASS Masters Classic champ from Macks Creek, Mo., has plenty of places to catch bass during the summer at the Lake of the Ozarks because he target docks, which can be found nearly everywhere on his home lake. Since the lake lacks flooded timber or vegetation, docks become summertime homes for most of the bass because the piers provide food and shelter.

During summer, Lake of the Ozarks bass seek brush piles 15 to 30 feet deep around docks. “When the water temperature get 80 degrees and above, that’s when this pattern starts to get good. And the warmer it gets, the better those docks are,” says Brauer.” Some of the best times I’ve had were from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. when it’s just really hot and the sun’s beating down.”

Picking the right type of docks to fish is the key to this pattern. Brauer concentrates on piers along bluff ends, 45-degree banks or any other areas near deep water. Older docks seem to attract more bass because they have more algae buildup that draws in the bluegill, a favorite prey for summertime bass.  An aging dock also potentially has more sunken brush piles and other fish-attracting treasures beneath it. Brauer knows a dock has sunken brush if he sees crappie lights on the pier, chairs sitting close to the lights, rod holders, a fish-cleaning area and a fishing boat in the well.

On sunny, 100-degree days, the bigger bass seek shade by burrowing into the brush near docks. “The fishing really gets good when they’re in the brush piles,” Brauer says. Armed with flipping tackle and 20-pound line, this flipping specialist can work through the heaviest brush and yank out a big fish before it tangles up in the mass of limbs.  Brauer’s choice lure is a 1/2-ounce jig with a rattle and a plastic crawfish trailer. He matches the jig and plastic trailer in hues of pumpkinseed/green flake, chocolate brown or copperhead to imitate bluegill colors.

The pro angler usually positions his boat in front of the dock and pitches his lure parallel to one side of the floating structure.  After letting the lure sink into the brush, Brauer shakes the jig to make it rattle in the cover. If he knows the dock has more brush around it, Brauer will also pitch along the front of the pier and the other side before moving on to the next target.

This pattern works for Brauer on most sections of the lake, except on the Osage arm above the 50-mile mark. Since the pattern depends on deep water, it is less productive in the shallows, of the upper Osage.

Guido Hibdon

Growing up and guiding on the Lake of the Ozarks qualifies this former BASS Masters Classic champ as the ultimate authority on his home waters. The Gravois Mills, Mo., angler favors a pattern targeting virtually untapped fish during the summer on Lake of the Ozarks. Hibdon concentrates on bass suspending 12 to 18 feet deep over depths of 35 to 40 feet along main-lake points near channel swings. “A lot of times the fish will suspend over the channel swings,” Hibdon says. “They are not real easy bass to catch, but if you stay after them and figure out exactly what cast it takes to catch them, then they become very simple fish to catch because no one else is fishing for them.” The veteran angler says this pattern works anywhere he can see at least 2 feet down in the water.

A plastic worm and a deep-diving crankbait are Hibdon’s top choices for catching these suspended bass. He uses a Texas-rigged, 10- to 12-inch plastic worm with a 1/8-ounce sinker and 14-pound test line. His favorite worm hues are black grape and electric blue. A simple retrieve works best. “Just throw it out there and let it fall through the school,” Hibdon advises.

Hibdon steadily retrieves the crankbait on 10-pound test line with a low-speed reel. The light line and low-gear ratio of the reel allows his lure to dive down to the 12- to 15-foot range. The most productive color combination for his crankbait is a black back and chartreuse sides.

Dion Hibdon

The son of Guido Hibdon started guiding on the Lake of the Ozarks before he could even legally drive a car. This BASS Masters Classic champion also targets main lake points in the early summer on his home lake. But when the dog days arrive, he switches to fishing brush piles at night.

His early summer pattern produces best during the week when water is being pulled through Bagnell Dam.  During this time, current sweeps across the main lake points and bass hug the bottom of this structure at depths of 10 to 12 feet. The pattern produces bass in any section of the lake that has clear to stained water.

Hibdon’s nighttime pattern works best in the clear-water areas, usually the lower end of the lake. His favorite nighttime haunts are brush piles 15 feet deep along steep banks near a main lake point. The fish usually stay 6 to 10 feet deep in the cover.

The Stover, Mo., angler chooses an 8- to 10-inch plastic worm rigged Texas-style with a 1/8-ounce sinker when fishing the points in early summer.  He works the worm on 12- to 14- pound test with bait-casting gear and favors dark-colored worms for stained water and transparent shades for clear conditions. His retrieve is similar to the Carolina-rig method of banging the lure into the rocks while dragging it along the bottom.

When fishing brush piles at night, Hibdon resorts to a heavier worm weight (5/16 or 3/8 ounce) and heavier line (17-pound test). “I like for my worm to be in good contact with the brush and work it in and out of the limbs,” Hibdon says of his choice for using a heavier weight. He slowly retrieves the worm in a yo-yo motion as he drags the lure and lets it fall through the limbs.

For information on lodging and other facilities at the Lake of the Ozarks or to receive a free 152-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 website at funlake.com.

Copies of John Neporadny’s book, “THE Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Guide” is available by calling 573/365-4296 or visiting the web site www.jnoutdoors.com.

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.