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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
Let's find out how these three pros catch largemouth bass from their home
waters during the summertime.
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. 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
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.
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 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.
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 you-you motion as he drags the lure and lets it fall through the limbs.
For information on lodging and other facilities at the
Copies of John Neporadny's book, "THE Lake of the Ozarks Fishing
Guide" are available by calling 573/365-4296 or visiting the web