Your one stop source for Bass Tournament information!
Please Use Your Back Button to Return
Submit Your Article for Posting!
Lake of the Ozarks Mid-section Offers Diverse Bass Patterns
by John Neporadny Jr.
Anglers have a chance to fish
plenty of clear or off-colored water and shallow- or deep-water
structure in the middle section of the Osage arm of the
The lower section around Tan-Tar-A
and the confluence of the Niangua arm and Linn Creek features fairly
clear water most of the year and has plenty of bluffs and other steep
banks that are ideal for deep-water patterns. However the section
above the Hurricane Deck Bridge usually contains more stained to murky
water and has more gradually sloping banks on both the main lake and
in the various creeks that are ideal for catching fish shallow
throughout most of the year.
Three-time BASS Federation
Divisional qualifier Brian Maloney stays close to the Tan-Tar-A area
during the winter to fish the clearer and deeper water. He looks for
big chunk rock and black slab rocks on the main lake or goes halfway
back in the coves and targets secondary points.
“On that end there are deeper v-shaped coves and once the
lake drops into its winter pool in mid-January to mid-February, the
fish are sucked out of the coves and stack up on those types of
rocks,” he advises.
One of his favorite winter lures is
a small (3/16 or 1/ 4 ounce) brown or dark green jig that he mixes
with a brown or green plastic tube or craw trailer. He works the lure
with 10- to 12-pound fluorocarbon line.
Suspending stick baits is his other
choice for wintertime bass in this area. The Osage Beach, MO, angler
prefers a green-and-white or purple-and-chartreuse model for cloudy
days but opts for shad patterns (blue-and-chrome or black-and-chrome)
or the clown color for sunny skies.
“If there is some ripple on the water with the wind blowing
into a secondary point I will fish the jerkbait from the bank out to
20 feet deep,” says Maloney. “The fish seem to suspend in the 5-
to 10-foot range. If
I’m looking on my graph and don’t’ see any suspended fish then I
go to the jig and drag it out to 20 feet.” He retrieves the jerkbait
on 8-pound line with a series of jerks and pauses, sometimes letting
it sit for as long as 30 seconds.
In early or mid-March, bass move
into the prespawn stage when the water temperature climbs to around 45
degrees. Then Maloney concentrates on the flatter banks in the bigger
creeks and hollows above the Hurricane Deck Bridge where he throws a
medium-diving crawfish-color crankbait on 8- or 10-pound line. He
moves halfway back in the coves and runs his crankbait 3 to 12 feet
deep in areas where the 45-degree chunk rock banks change to pea
Some sight fishing can be done in
the cleaner water around Tan-Tar-A during the spawn. Whether he’s
fishing the clear or dirty water, Maloney looks for concrete pillars
of dock walkways and sea wall abutments where bass usually build
nests. The fish will spawn as shallow as 2 feet in the dirty water and
as deep as 6 feet in the clear water.
Maloney relies on the small jig and
tube trailer or a bright-colored Chompers Twin Tail grub with a 1/
4-ounce standup jighead to catch fish on the nest. “Sight fishing
makes it easy,” says Maloney. “Just
cast beyond the fish’s nose and you will find somewhere in that bed
where the fish will spin around and nose down on your bait.”
He makes multiple pitches on 12-pound fluorocarbon line behind
the docks to coax spawning fish into biting.
His favorite docks during the spawn
are usually located in a small nook about halfway to three-quarters
back in a cove. The spawn in this area usually begins when the water
temperature climbs above 65 degrees and runs from mid-May to June.
start leaving the nest in late May or early June. Maloney coaxes these
sluggish postspawn fish into hitting a Carolina-rigged 6-inch plastic
lizard. His rig consists of a main line of 17-pound test, a 1/ 2- or
3/ 4-ounce egg-shaped sinker, swivel, bead and 18-inch to 2-foot
leader of 10- to 12-pound line and a 1/0- or 2/0 worm hook.
He favors lizards in green pumpkin or dark melon that he dips
the tail with chartreuse or purple dye. If AmerenUE is running water,
Maloney slowly drags his rig across main or round secondary points
about 20 to 25 feet deep. He keeps the lure moving along on the bottom
until it hits any piece of cover and then he lets it sit for a couple
of second before resuming his retrieve.
Topwater lures are also effective
during the post-spawn. Maloney likes to work Zara Spooks
(green-and-clear or chartreuse-and-clear) parallel to the bank along a
point or any depth change near the spawning areas. On cloudy or windy
days, he also catches some post-spawn bass on black ½-ounce buzz
In the early summer, Maloney
catches bass on Carolina-rigged lizards along the channel ledges or on
deep-diving crankbaits (blue-and-chartreuse or shad-pattern hues) that
he cranks into brush piles 12 feet or deeper.
Night fishing turns on as the
summer gets hotter, so Maloney relies on a 10-inch Berkley Power Worm
(June bug, black-and-blue or red shad) that he Texas-rigs with a ¼-
to 1/ 2-ounce bullet sinker. He works the worm through brush piles 15
to 30 feet deep on main and secondary points or main lake cuts with
During the heat of summer, Maloney
can also catch bass from isolated docks in the back of coves above the
Hurricane Deck Bridge. He flips his 10-inch plastic worms on 17-pound
line to shady areas of the shallow docks.
Fall is “fun fishing time” for Maloney. He looks for shad activity in the flats of the coves and flips his small jig to shallow docks and brush piles. When bass start suspending on the corners of the docks in about mid-September, Maloney works Zara Spooks, buzz baits and crankbaits along the sides of the boat houses. He also likes to swim a white 1/ 4-ounce jig and white plastic tube, craw or grub down the sides of the docks to catch fish suspended under the dock foam. Old docks in the backs of coves are best for the swimming jig tactic. As the water gets colder in autumn, Maloney keeps moving down lake. He fishes above Hurricane Deck Bridge until the first part of October and then tries his fall patterns in the Tan-Tar-A area until about early December.
For information on lodging 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 site www.jnoutdoors.com.