Expert Articles by John
Neporadny Jr. - October
Busting Bass Tricks at
Lake of the Ozarks
By John Neporadny Jr.
The same scenario is played out every fall on
Lake of the Ozarks.
Black pods of shad are everywhere. The constant
flicking of baitfish on the surface is a pleasing sound to both anglers and bass
on a peaceful sunny afternoon. Then all of a sudden the water explodes and boils
as bass bust through the schools of shad. Occasionally the wake of a bass can be
seen in the shallows as it hotly pursues a baitfish.
After spending the hot summer slumbering in
deep-water haunts, bass follow baitfish in the fall to the shallows, where the
cooler water triggers a feeding frenzy. The recurring fall scenes of bass
busting schools of shad make this season one of the most exciting and
frustrating times to pursue bass.
The thrill of watching these fish churn the
surface climaxes when your topwater lure disappears in a frothy explosion. That
excitement can quickly turn into frustration, however, when you make countless
casts to these marauders and the fish continue to ignore your offerings. The
frustration also continues to mount when you continue to switch lures with the
The surface commotion makes it easier to locate
bass in this situation, but anglers still face the challenge of tricking these
fish into biting their offering rather than the smorgasbord of natural bait in
Lake of the Ozarks guide Skip Surbaugh favors
throwing a topwater lure when bass bust the surface. “I’m a (Zara) Spook
freak,” he confesses. “I carry a Spook rigged up with me all the time in the
fall.” The local guide occasionally throws a Rebel Pop-R at surface
explosions, but the Super Spook is his top choice for catching big bass in
Surbaugh selects a chrome-color Spook that he
retrieves in an erratic fashion. He walks the lure quickly in short jerky
motions by constantly popping the rod with his wrists. The action makes the lure
pop and spit while it walks across the surface. Sometimes Surbaugh retrieves the
lures quickly and then pauses it to trigger a strike.
If a fish misses his Spook, Surbaugh follows up
by throwing a Zoom Fluke or Yamamoto Senko to the blow-up. He opts for a 6-inch
shad-pattern Fluke or a light-colored 4-inch Senko and impales both lures on a
wide gap hook (3/0 to 4/0 for the Fluke and 3/0 for the Senko). Letting the lure
flutter down is Surbaughs’s favorite follow-up presentation for the Fluke; he
prefers walking the Senko in the same fashion as a Spook.
When a bass busts the surface, Surbaugh always
casts past the explosion and then retrieves his lures back through that spot. He
makes a few deliveries to the surface commotion before trying a new target. “I
don’t spend a lot of time on that, maybe two shots at it,” he says.
With all that surface commotion, you figure a
bass should hit about anything you throw over there. But when strikes are few
and the frustration mounts, just keep trying because there is something the fish
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.
Join and Follow John's Blog at http://jnfishing.blogspot.com/