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This is the second part
of a two-part series on tournament winning patterns at the
The massive size of
The heavy recreational boat traffic becomes a burden for
tournament anglers throughout the warm-weather months, so they
usually have to compete at night or in the upper arms of the major
tributaries. Most daytime tournaments in the summer and early fall
take off from the
Night tournaments are popular throughout summer and early
fall on the lower end of the lake where the winning catches are
frequently five-fish limits weighing more than 20 pounds.
These nocturnal events usually take off at Grand Glaize
Public Beach 2, Shawnee Bend and the Coffman Bend access.
Here’s a look at the best summer and fall
patterns to help make you a winner at the
This tactic works best pumping the lure off the bottom and
letting it flutter down along chunk rock points.
The fish will be holding anywhere from 1 to 15 feet deep
throughout the night.
From mid-June to the latter part of July, nighttime action
for bass turns on in the Big and Little Niangua arms where the fish
hold in brush piles around docks. Flipping behind docks can also be
productive after dark on the Little Niangua arm.
During the last part of July and throughout August, the brush
piles on the lower end of the lake produce the best nighttime
action. Some of the most productive areas during this time include
the Gravois arm,
The depth of the fish varies throughout the night as
bass come up to feed at certain times.
Start the evening keying on brush piles 15 to 20
feet deep and when the fish stop biting
in the brush, move up shallower to search for bass feeding
Magnum-size plastic worms (10 or 11 inches) and jigs
consistently produce victories during night tournaments.
Berkley Power Worms in darker hues, such as black, blue
fleck, June bug and red shad work well, along with a brown or black
3/8-ounce jig with a rattle and some type of plastic trailer (craw
or double-tail grub) in a bluegill color. Cast
the worms beyond the brush pile and slowly crawl the lure through
the limbs to trigger a strike.
During windy nights, slow-rolling a spinnerbait along main
lake chunk rock banks also produces summertime bass on the lower end
of the lake. Try a 3/8- or ½-ounce model with a silver willowleaf
blade and a black twin-tail plastic trailer for the best results.
Main channel brush piles on the lake’s lower end also yield
good stringers of bass during the daytime for any anglers with
enough persistence to withstand the constant barrage of large wakes.
The fish will be holding tight on the brush or the bottom, so slowly
work a Texas-rigged 8- to 10-inch plastic worm over the rocks and
through the wood cover.
The upper Osage offers tournament anglers a break from the
daytime pleasure boaters. The main channel of this section provides
the most consistent summertime action since bass stay cooler and
have more oxygen created by water flowing from Truman Dam. Key areas
to try in this riverine section include points, islands and docks on
the flats. Lay-downs and shallow brush piles are also prime targets
to try for summer bass.
When the current flows, throw a ½-ounce spinnerbait with
large blades or flip a red shad 6-inch worm to the docks and other
shallow cover. On calm,
sunny days, pitching a 10-inch Berkley Power Worm deep into the
wells of shallow main lake docks usually produces the biggest bass.
Flipping 8- to 11-inch ring worms (motor oil, pumpkinseed or
fire n’ ice hues) into the shallow weeds produces keepers
throughout early fall. The
big flats in the creeks are excellent spots to catch quality fish on
3/8- to ½-ounce buzz baits.
The main lake points remain productive throughout September.
Bass remain 10 to 14 feet deep and can be taken on magnum-size
plastic worms or black-and-blue or brown-and-black jigs with number
11 pork frogs or plastic craws.
Touring pro Randall Hutson relied on a magnum worm pattern
when he won the Central Pro-Am Association’s September 2000 Lake
of the Ozarks Pro-Am. Hutson pitched an 11-inch red shad plastic
worm to docks about halfway back in the creeks of the Osage arm and
caught most of his fish bumping the worm slowly along the bottom and
through brush 7 to 9 feet deep.
An effective lure for taking kicker fish on the upper Osage
through September and October is a ½-ounce
October can be a tough month throughout the lake because the
upper ends start to experience turnover and the lake’s lower end
hasn’t cooled off enough to activate the big fish. Running a
3/8-ounce white or chartreuse spinnerbait along the sides of shallow
docks on the main lake flats of the Osage arm above the Hurricane
Deck bridge is one of the most productive patterns for October.
Swimming a ¼-ounce white jig with a white pork or plastic
trailer is an effective way to catch kicker fish from the same
Brush piles on the lake’s lower end still produce some
quality fish in October. Work
a Texas-rigged 8- to 10-inch plastic worm through the brush in the
10- to 15-foot depth range along main and secondary points.
November is the most popular fall month for two major
tournament circuits to visit the
The winning patterns for the last four BASSMASTER events show
how diverse the fishing can be during this month.
In all four tournaments, the winners relied on patterns that
were different in lure selection, structure, cover and area of the
lake. Weather and water
conditions played key roles in dictating the best pattern for these
During the 1997 BASSMASTER event, daytime temperatures never
climbed above 32 degrees and the water temperature dropped into the
50-degree range so Jay Yelas relied on a slow presentation to catch
his winning stringer. Stopping
at more than 100 docks each competition day on the Osage arm near
the Grand Glaize bridge, Yelas worked a ½-ounce black-and-blue
Berkley Rattle Power Jig and a black-and-blue Berkley Power Frog
along the bottom next to each dock.
His most productive docks were on points with brush piles at
depths of 10 feet.
The lake showed why its one of the top bass fisheries in the
country during the 1998 BASSMASTER tournament when Dan Morehead won
with an impressive catch of 15 bass weighing 60 pounds, 10 ounces.
The lake was abnormally high and murky for November, which
made conditions ideal for shallow buzz bait action. Morehead keyed
on the unusually dirty waters in the dam area and threw a 3/8-ounce
Mann's Hank Parker Classic Buzzbait.
Positioning his boat parallel to the bank, Morehead ran his
buzz bait in water less than 1 foot deep along algae-covered rocks
on secondary points. A buzz bait also produced several fish for the
other top five finishers in this event.
The lake was lower and clearer for the 1999 BASSMASTER
Invitational and the bass were reluctant to hit a buzz bait. So
tournament winner Randy Jackson headed for the Niangua arm and
concentrated on chunk-rock banks and boat docks near channel swings.
In the mornings, he ran a white ½-ounce Crock-O-Gator 4x5
spinnerbait along the shallows of rocky banks and in the afternoons
he flipped a Crock-O-Gator Heavy Tube (watermelon/red flake) along
the dock foam.
Relying on a pattern usually applied during the winter, Curt
Lytle won the 2000 BASSMASTER tournament last November.
Early in the competition, he took keepers running a
brown-and-white crankbait in pockets between bluffs in a creek on
the upper Osage arm. But as the weather got colder throughout the
week and the water temperature continued to drop, Lytle switched to
a slower presentation. Positioning his boat parallel to the bluffs
in the creek, Lytle slowly twitched a chrome-and-blue suspending
jerkbait to catch bass suspended along the rock walls.
Another winning technique was revealed when Central Pro-Am
held its Bass Pro Shops Fall Pro-Am Spectacular event the weekend
before the BASSMASTER Invitational. Relying on a traditional fall
pattern, Gary Carrier won this event by keying on wind-blown points
Take your pick. The
For information on lodging and other
facilities at the
Copies of John Neporadny's book,
"THE Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Guide" are