Articles by John Neporadny Jr. - October
Cash in on Wind for Lake of the Ozarks Bass
By John Neporadny Jr.
The wind is almost always an angler’s best
friend in autumn so Lake of the Ozarks anglers should keep that in mind while
When fishing in the shallows of the river arms,
accomplished tournament angler Roger Fitzpatrick looks for the wind to find the
most active bass. “I fished a tournament about 10 years ago and started on a
spot around the 80-mile marker (of the Osage arm),” says Fitzpatrick. “It
was morning and there wasn’t a hint of breeze on it. I knew fish were there
because I caught them there the week before, but my partner and I fished through
there and never got a bite. “
They tried some other spots that day and when
Fitzpatrick noticed a breeze blowing, he returned to his morning spot. “As
soon as you see that ripple on the lake starting to hit the side of the dock,
especially if it is hitting the same side as the shade on the dock, it is game
on,” says Fitzpatrick. “We went back through that same row of docks later on
and caught about a dozen keepers. They were there all along, they just didn’t
The upper Osage is a favorite fall hot spot for
Roger Fitzpatrick and his brother, Wayne, the owner of Fitz Fishing Tackle and
Supplies and an accomplished Lake of the Ozarks tournament competitor. “Usually
in October the gizzard shad in the rivers will start to move to the flats,”
says Roger Fitzpatrick. “Anytime you are up there and hit your trolling motor
and those gizzards start to flip out of the water, if you see those hand-size
gizzard shad, those are the ones big bass like the most. So whatever shallow
cover is next to those shad is what I would key on.”
The wind dictates how far up the Osage
Fitzpatrick will run throughout the day. If the weather is calm he will key on
brush about 15 feet deep from the 30- to 40-mile mark of the Osage. However if
winds of 20 miles per hour are forecast he will run up to the stretch from the
60-mile mark to Warsaw to target shallow bass.
“In the mornings a lot of times you won’t
have the wind and if that is the case you might fish some brush piles or some
deeper docks or throw a buzz bait on some of the flat nothing-looking points up
there,” says Fitzpatrick. He believes bass in this area roam the flats at
night and remain there in the mornings and then tuck under the shallow docks
when the sun rises higher.
The Eldon, Mo., angler favors a black 3/8-ounce
Omega Alpha Shad buzz bait with black or copper blades for buzzing the flats. He
removes the skirt of a 3/8- or 1/2-ounce Omega jig and matches the jighead with
a Damiki Hydra tube-style trailer for skipping under docks.
When fishing a jig along the shallow docks,
Fitzpatrick either swims his lure or drags it along the bottom depending on how
the fish want it presented that day. “I fished a tournament years ago on a
Saturday and caught 18 pounds on a row of docks swimming a jig. I went back to
it Sunday in a different tournament and swam that jig by every corner and never
got a bite. I spun right back around and let that jig go to the bottom and then
caught 18 pounds off the same row of docks. They just wanted it different that
Quality electronics and an angler’s comfort
level at fishing deep are critical in catching heavyweight bass from the clear
waters of the lower lake. “There are some fish in some guts and a lot of bass
that are relating to nothing but shad in the fall of the year,” says
Fitzpatrick. ”If you are blessed enough to have a good graph and can see shad
in 40 feet of water on a flat, you should put on a 1-ounce jig and drag it
around in those shad because there are giant bass out under those shad and you
are fishing where other people aren’t fishing.”
When fishing deep in the dam area, Fitzpatrick
matches a brown or green 1-ounce jig with a green pumpkin Berkley Chigger Craw.
He jerks the jig off the bottom in depths of 20 to 40 feet to trigger a reaction
strike from bass foraging on schools of shad.
Fitzpatrick suggests anglers who want some
topwater action on the lower lake should throw a Zara Spook for bass suspending
around docks over depths of 30 to 40 feet. Work the topwater lure along the
windy sides of the docks and the shade of the dock wells for the best results.
For information on lodging and other
facilities at the Lake of the Ozarks or to receive a free 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 www.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.