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Bass Shallow on
tourists, jet skis and pleasure boaters have vanished. While others
join the mobs of Christmas shoppers in the malls,
some anglers spend their time catching bass in the shallows
of an abnormally quiet,
December, the lake's temperature usually ranges in the
bass' comfort zone Around 55 degrees, unless the water
temperature takes a nose
dive due to extremely cold weather.
The normal water temperature at the beginning of December is
in the mid 50s and will drop into the high to
mid 40s by the end of the month. Bass
go on feeding forays in the shallows during this time as the fish
try to fatten up for winter. Two
factors influence these feeding sprees. Low pressure weather systems
that bring in fronts can shut down the feeding binge until the
weather stabilizes again. Another
key factor is the lake's winter drawdown, which usually
begins in December and is a definite turn off for the fish.
color also plays a role when the fish are feeding shallow. The
fishing turns off in muddy water and can also be tough at the other
extreme. Bass in clear, shallow water tend to spook, so stained
water conditions are the most conducive for bass in the shallows.
Under normal conditions,
you can find all
the fish you want in 10 feet of water or less.
most productive lures for active fish during December are crankbaits
and Spinnerbaits. Try
shallow-diving models such as the Bomber Model 3A and the Bagley's
Balsa B II. Productive crankbait colors include pearl with an
orange throat and
the fish turn sluggish, try flipping or pitching a jig-and-craw into
thick cover. A
3/8- to 1/2-ounce brown jig with a green plastic craw works
well. Pitch it up
into the cover, jig it up and down a little bit,
then swim it out
a little before retrieving it and pitching again.
these December feeding binges in the
shallows, you can expect to catch some of the biggest bass of
the year, including several
fish in the 4- to 6-pound class.
shallow-water activity will continue in January and February if the
weather cooperates. Normally, the lake doesn't start freezing until
the end of January or the first of February and if the lake doesn't
freeze over you can catch fish throughout the winter.
For information on lodging and other facilities
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.