Articles by John Neporadny Jr. - July
Lake of the Ozarks Boat Dock
by John Neporadny Jr.
When hunting for the ultimate bass cover on
most lakes, we program ourselves into looking for a patch of weeds, a row of
stumps or partially-submerged logs. But on Lake of the Ozarks you will usually
pass up rows of the best bass havens on the lake if you search for those types
of cover. Although harboring a boat is its primary function, boat docks on Lake
of the Ozarks also serve as underwater magnets for bass. While other cover might
attract a couple of bass and bunches of fishermen, docks provide enough hiding
places to shelter whole schools of fish during the summer and are oftentimes
overlooked by most anglers.
A well-known tournament angler who realizes the
fish-holding qualities of boat docks is Guido Hibdon, Gravois Mills, Mo. He
believes fishing docks is one of the most consistent patterns for taking bass at
Lake of the Ozarks in the summertime.
Docks are prime fish attractors because they
offer shade for bass and baitfish. Algae growing on the posts and other parts of
docks provides food for baitfish. The feeding baitfish draw in bass which use
the shade and dock cover to ambush their prey.
Sunken brush piles under some docks also
attract bass. "It's pretty simple to run down a bank and pick out the docks
that have brush around them," Hibdon says. The easiest way to find which
docks have sunken brush piles is to look for fishing rod holders on the
Docks become even more appealing to Hibdon
because this type of cover produces best during hot, sunny weather. "A
sunny day is without a doubt the best weather to fish docks because the sun
causes the fish to tighten up in the shady area, " Hibdon says.
When searching for ideal docks, location plays
a key role during the summertime. "I very seldom ever fish in a creek
during the summer," Hibdon says. "I always fish the main lake."
The popular tournament angler believes main lake docks hold bigger bass and
attract more baitfish than docks in coves. Even though bass can be found in the
shallows during the summer, Hibdon concentrates on docks that sit over deep
water. "I very seldom fish a dock that is in less than 10 feet of
water," he says. When he finds an ideal dock, Hibdon keeps his boat a safe
distance from the structure to prevent banging into it and spooking any bass
suspended under the dock. Hibdon even positions the stern of his boat into the
wind to prevent waves from slapping into the boat's bow and making any
additional noise that could scare the fish.
Hibdon works the docks in a slow, methodical
manner using a 3/8- or 1/2-ounce black-and-blue jig with a black-and-blue
crawfish trailer as his top lure for fishing docks. Other lures that produce for
him are a tube jig with a 1/32-ounce jighead and an 11-inch plastic worm. The
touring pro always fishes the shady side of a dock where he finds bass either
suspending about 2 feet under the dock's foam or hiding in the brush 15 to 20
feet deep. The veteran angler pitches his jig toward the dock, lets the lure
sink a couple of seconds and then hops it once or twice. If this fails to
produce a strike, Hibdon reels in the lure and pitches to another target in the
Although they don't look like much to the
average angler, Lake of the Ozarks docks definitely appear attractive to a bass
searching for a summertime residence.
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 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.