Articles by John Neporadny Jr. - October
Fall Out For Lake of the
Ozarks Bass Fishing
by John Neporadny Jr.
While the fall weather turns Missouri's trees
into a sea of red, gold and orange, the cooler temperatures also energize bass.
After spending the hot summer slumbering in
deep-water haunts, Lake of the Ozarks bass follow baitfish to the shallows
during autumn where the cooler water triggers a feeding frenzy. The recurring
fall scenes of bass busting through schools of shad makes 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. However that excitement can quickly turn into frustration when you
make countless casts to these marauders and the fish continue to ignore your
The vast waters of my home lake offers anglers
a wide variety of areas and patterns to try throughout autumn. After the Labor
Day holiday, boat traffic decreases and the bass fishing turns on in the backs
of major feeder creeks and the upper ends of the main tributaries. The best
areas to try in early fall include the upper sections of the Osage and Niangua
Rivers and the backs of feeder creeks, such as the Gravois, Little Gravois,
Grand Glaize, Linn, Indian and Soap.
Lay-downs and wood stick-ups are key targets
for bass in the shallows of the creek. When largemouth bass are chasing shad in
these areas a variety of lures will catch fish, including topwater chuggers such
as Rebel Pop-Rs, buzz baits and spinnerbaits. One of my favorite techniques for
these active bass is to bump a shallow-running crankbait into the wood cover.
If the weather turns sunny, I key on shallow
boat docks where the bass suspend under the floating piers to ambush shad.
Running a spinnerbait or twitching a soft jerkbait close to the sides of the
dock usually coaxes a bass out of its hiding place. However the best way to
trigger dock bass into biting is swimming a jig and plastic or pork trailer
along the dock's foam. I prefer using a 1/4-ounce light-colored jig with a white
pork chunk or blue plastic crawfish that I quickly retrieve in a hopping fashion
within about 1 to 2 feet of the surface.
The main lake also produces plenty of action
for spotted bass in the early fall. Marauding gangs of spotted bass can be seen
slashing through schools of baitfish along main lake points and islands. The
bets lures for catching these fish include topwater chuggers, 1/4-ounce
Rat-L-Traps and 1/4-ounce spinnerbaits. My guide trip clients usually caught
plenty of spotted bass when they worked small topwater chuggers next to
main-lake boat docks.
Some quality largemouth can be caught in the
mornings on chrome-and-black Storm Lures Wiggle Wart crankbaits along main lake
points. Later in the day, the bigger fish move into brush piles 10 to 20 feet
deep where you can catch them on Texas-rigged 10-inch plastic worms or jigs and
From mid-October through November, the lake
level usually starts dropping and bass concentrate on the chunk-rock primary and
secondary points. Some of the most productive techniques for catching late fall
bass on the points include waking a 1/2- to 3/4-ounce spinnerbait, slowly
cranking a buzz bait or working a Heddon Zara Spook with a walk-the-dog
retrieve. Swimming a jig along the main lake docks also takes both keeper-size
largemouth and spotted bass. If the lake level remains high, then flipping a
3/8-ounce jig and pork chunk along seawalls on secondary points also produces
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 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.