Expert Articles by John
Neporadny Jr. - August
Fish the Third Shift for
Best Bass Action
by John Neporadny Jr.
If Count Dracula were a bass fisherman, he
would have enjoyed fishing Lake of the Ozarks in August. The old vampire has his
fun from dusk to dawn, and nocturnal fishing provides the best action for bass
anglers in August at the Lake of the Ozarks in Central Missouri.
One angler who prefers fishing in the dark
during August is Harold Stark, Eldon, Mo. Stark has been fishing on the Lake of
the Ozarks since 1979 and is a former Red Man All American championship
qualifier. "August is probably the best month to night fish on the Lake of
the Ozarks," Stark says. "The fish are in a stable pattern then and
will stay in that pattern until September. Once you find two or three spots that
are holding fish, you can go back there twice a week all the way through the
month and take fish out of those spots. Schools move in and out of those spots
all night long. You can get in one spot and catch 25 to 30 fish and you can do
it every week."
Quality fish can be taken during the month.
"In August you can catch bass up to 7 pounds," Stark says. "You
don't see many over 7 pounds come out of the Lake of the Ozarks like you do in
the spring, but you will see several 7-pounders come out of there."
Stark starts his evening on the water at about
7 p.m. He suggests getting to your favorite area before sunset so that you won't
have to spend as much time running around in the dark. Although Stark mostly
fishes during the week, he says weekend fishing can be good after the boat
traffic dies down.
The type of night doesn't matter to Stark.
"I've caught them on nights when it was raining all night long and other
nights I've caught them when there was a full moon.
The type of day probably affects the night
fishing more than the nighttime weather. If the day has been cloudy or rainy,
the best fishing occurs during the late evening or the first couple of hours
after sunset. "If you have a few weeks of real hot weather where it's been
nothing but sunshine and bluebird skies, they'll bite all night long,"
Stark lists the Niangua, Grand Glaize, Gravois
and North Shore areas and the Osage arm up to the 60-mile mark as the best
night-fishing areas. He prefers fishing the Gravois and North Shore areas.
"I think there's a higher concentration of fish that are more active in
those two areas during the summertime," Stark says. "They're not
bothered by boat traffic because they put up with boat traffic all day
No matter which arm of the lake he fishes,
Stark concentrates on the same type of structure--brush piles 15 to 25 feet deep
on the main channel. "It helps if there is a dock around or a lot of docks
where those fish can get in there and congregate." It's also easier to find
the brush piles in the dark if they are near docks.
You can leave your suitcase-sized tacklebox at
home when you go night fishing. Stark suggest taking only three types of
lures--plastic worms, jigs and pork frogs and spinnerbaits. Use an 8-inch or
longer plastic worm in your favorite color with a 3/16th- to 5/16th-ounce worm
weight. A blue 1/2-ounce jig with a blue or black No. 11 pork frog also works
well. Or try a 1/2-ounce black or purple short-arm spinnerbait with a blue No.
11 pork frog trailer.
"August is a good time to start throwing
that spinnerbait," Stark says. "Those fish see those plastic worms and
jigs all the time. Throw the spinnerbait down there and fish it just like a
The key to night fishing is to work everything
slowly. "The slower the better," Stark says. Slowly roll the
spinnerbait to where you can barely feel the blade turning.
You can use any rod-and-reel combination that
will handle 12-pound test line for night fishing. "A lot of people use real
heavy line, but you don't have to at night because whenever you hit those fish,
they'll come right on up, even those bigger fish." Stark uses 12- to
14-pound test line, which is more sensitive than the heavier line and gives him
better control of his lures. He says he's never had to use any lighter line for
If your line tangles up or you need to retie,
you might need some extra light. "Always take a flashlight because you
never know what you're going to run into out there," Stark says.
Stark rarely relies on lights when fishing at
night though. "I don't use any lights at all. If I'm in a spot where I know
I'm not going to get run over, I won't even have the boat lights on." He
says he turns off the navigation lights if his boat is within 50 feet of the
Avoiding light. Dusk-to-dawn action. Bats
flying around. Maybe Count Dracula has fished Lake of the Ozarks before.
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 & Visitor Bureau at 1-800-FUN-LAKE or visit
the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor 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.