Expert Articles by John
Neporadny Jr. - August 2007
Best Lures For Lake of
the Ozarks Night Bassin’
by John Neporadny Jr.
As the searing summer sun heats up the water,
bass relax in the cooler realm of deep water or the shade of heavy cover. Since
the fish become reluctant to leave this cool domain during the heat of the day,
you are limited to using lures that remain in the bass’ comfort zone longer.
However when the sun goes down and the water
cools, the bass’ comfort zone expands from top to bottom, especially in the
clear water sections of the Lake of the Ozarks. As bass become more active
during the nocturnal hours they start craving a late-night snack. So now your
lure choices expand to a wider array of options ranging from topwaters to
Veteran nighttime anglers know a bunch of
tackleboxes and rods and reels strewn out all over the boat’s deck after dark
can result in broken tackle or a quick trip overboard. So they keep their decks
clean and prevent any mishaps by picking a handful of productive lures for
A local angler who enjoys the nightlife on Lake
of the Ozarks is Marty McGuire, who competes in night tournaments nearly every
week during the summer on his home waters. The night-fishing experts offers the
following selections as the best lures for catching bass after sunset.
When bass burrow into cover or hug the bottom
at night, McGuire relies on a slow-moving lure such as a plastic worm for
fishing in clear water or a jig in murky or stained conditions.
His home lake is filled with sunken brush piles
so McGuire prefers a Texas-rigged worm or weedless jig for working through the
limbs. If fishing pressure is heavy, McGuire uses a 7-inch plastic worm, but his
favorite lure for most nights is a 10-inch black or blue fleck Berkley Power
Worm impaled on a 4/0 or 5/0 hook. The Missouri angler opts for the magnum-size
worm because he believes in the theory that bigger fish prefer bigger baits.
Since he mainly fishes the worm in the 10- to
20-foot depth range, McGuire rigs his worms with the same size weight (1/4-ounce
bullet slip sinker) most of the time. “It gets to the bottom quick enough but it
also falls slow enough in case the fish are hitting on the fall,” suggests
The worm produces for McGuire during the middle
of summer along main lake points and ledges or along steep banks halfway back in
coves and creeks. Sunken brush piles are McGuire’s favorite target for nighttime
worm fishing but he also takes bass from rock piles and steel support poles or
boat hoists on docks.
Slowly lifting and dropping the worm works best
for McGuire, especially when fishing brush. “I usually let it get down into the
brush pile, then just raise my rod up (to the 11 or 12 o’clock position),”
describes McGuire. “I usually hold the rod a little higher than most people to
pull the worm up over the limbs and work it through the brush real slow. Then I
drop the rod down to let the worm fall back to the bottom while keeping contact
with the bait the whole time.”
If he’s fishing off-colored water at night,
McGuire switches to a jig and heads for the shallows. Pitching a jig behind boat
docks is one of McGuire’s favorite tactics for shallow nocturnal bass.
The night-fishing expert prefers a 3/8- to
˝-ounce live rubber jig in black or blue combined with a number 11 Uncle Josh
Pork Frog or Zoom plastic chunk in the same colors.
McGuire also relies on his rod to impart action
with his jig, but he retrieves this lure different than the worm. His retrieve
consists of three to four quick pumps of his rod tip (1 to 2 inches at a time),
reeling up slack and then another succession of quick pumps. “It really doesn’t
move the jig up and down a whole lot it is more like a shake,” says McGuire.
Since presentations for both lures are similar,
McGuire uses the same tackle for the worm and jig. He opts for a 7- to 7-˝ foot
medium-heavy to heavy action rod and a high-speed baitcast reel (6.1:1 or higher
gear ratio) spooled with 20-pound test line. The veteran night angler prefers
the heavy line and high-speed reel for quickly jerking bass away from brush and
If the summer sun makes fishing unbearable on
Lake of the Ozarks during the day, you can still enjoy some hot bass action
after dark. For information on lodging and other facilities at the Lake of the
Ozarks or to receive a free 152-page 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 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.