Articles by John Neporadny Jr. - November
Jigs Mean Bigger Lake of the Ozarks Bass
by John Neporadny Jr.
Flashy new lures come and go each year, while
an old reliable continues to hold a special place in the tackleboxes of both
tournament anglers and weekend fishermen at Lake of the Ozarks. Some lure
innovations catch more fishermen than they do fish, but veteran anglers know
that the trusty jig-and-chunk combination consistently catches bigger bass at
the lake, especially during October and November when bass are feeding heavily
in preparation for winter.
The jig and its chunk trailer have survived the
test of time because of its versatility and big-bass appeal. You can bounce the
lure along the bottom, swim it at a certain depth for suspended bass or even
skip it across the surface as a topwater bait. One angler who competes in
tournaments at the Lake of the Ozarks and frequently catches heavyweight bass on
the jig-and-chunk combination is Marty McGuire, owner of Marty's Marine in Osage
Beach, MO. "The jig and frog is probably the number one bait as far as
catching big fish and catching numbers of fish year round," McGuire says.
While many anglers use a jig as a crawfish
imitator, McGuire selects the lure for its impersonation of a baitfish. Since
he's keying on bass suspended under boat docks, McGuire wants a lure that best
simulates a shad swimming just below the surface. A topwater plug or buzz bait
also works in this situation, but the biggest bass seem reluctant to come out
from under the security of the dock to hit something on the surface. "That
jig is already right in front of their faces," McGuire says. "All they
have to do is dart out and they have it."
Most of the time, McGuire swims his jig and
chunk along main lake docks sitting over deep water. "It really doesn't
seem to matter how deep the water is," he says. "I have caught fish in
75 feet of water out on the corner of a boat dock and that fish was lying right
underneath the dock foam about 6 inches deep."
Bigger docks that offer plenty of shade attract
the most bass. Normally in the fall, the water is clear in the areas McGuire
fishes, so he tries to find docks that have the right combination of shade and
wind. "You have to do some running because these docks aren't all piled up
together," McGuire says. "A lot of times I will burn quite a bit of
fuel running up and down the lake looking for these docks because the wind
doesn't blow in the same direction on every part of a lake." When fishing
the largest docks, McGuire pitches his jig in the last couple of wells on the
windy or shady side of the boat house.
During this time of year bass usually suspend
under the dock's foam and dart straight out to hit the jig and chunk. McGuire
says he has never caught any bass coming up on his jig, so he tries to keep the
lure as close as possible to the dock's foam. "Take the jig and pitch it up
in the wells on the shady or windy sides and let the jig sink 2 or 3
inches," McGuire advises. "Then start pumping or reeling it right back
underneath the foam. When it gets to the corner of the dock, let it fall and
watch the lure because on 90 percent of your strikes you will see the fish come
out and hit it." Most of the time McGuire just steadily cranks the jig and
chunk along next to the foam and lets it drop at the corner of the structure
before reeling it in for another pitch. This technique allows him to cover a lot
of water with a lure normally used for a slower presentation.
A 3/8- to 1/2-ounce flipping-style jig combined
with a medium-size chunk has the right buoyancy for McGuire's swimming
technique. He prefers the flipping-style jigs because they are equipped with
rattles and larger hooks. A white jig with a white chunk best imitates a shad in
the fall. McGuire uses a black-and-blue color combination for his jig and chunk
most of the time.
While new-fangled lures come and go, anglers
keep finding creative ways to use the old reliable jig and its chunk trailer.
And even though big bass at Lake of the Ozarks have seen it countless times, the
jig-and-chunk continues to trick them over the years.
For information on lodging and other facilities
at the Lake of the Ozarks or to receive a free 162-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.