Articles by John Neporadny Jr. - July
Dion Hibdon’s Tips On Catching Lake of the
By John Neporadny Jr.
Although his time is limited on his home
waters, Dion Hibdon can still best the local anglers in tournaments on Lake of
the Ozarks. The Stover, Mo, angler proved that when he won the 2006 FLW Series
event at the Lake of the Ozarks.
Following in his father Guido’s footsteps,
Dion Hibdon competed in his first bass tournament at the age of 12. The next
year he kept up a Hibdon family tradition when he started guiding on Lake of the
Ozarks. Dion joined the ranks of professional bass fishermen at the age of 18
and has won both the Bassmasters Classic and the Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship.
When he’s home from the tournament trail,
Hibdon likes to catch bass on suspending jerk baits during the winter. “I do
it with a lot smaller baits than a lot of the other guys do,” admits Hibdon.
He opts for the Luckycraft Bevy Shad or the 3 1/8-inch Rapala Husky Jerk, which
he tosses on 8-pound test line. His favorite lure colors include blue-and-pearl
on sunny days or chrome hues for cloudy weather.
Bluff ends and channel swings that run tight to
the bank are Hibdon’s favorite spots for cold-water bass. “In the wintertime
you don’t have to relate to the points as much,” he suggests. Hibdon prefers
fishing for wintertime bass in the big creeks around the dam area where the fish
will be suspended 10 to 15 feet deep over depths of 30 feet.
When the water temperature rises into the high
40s and low 50s, Hibdon catches prespawn bass on a jig or a Storm Lures Wiggle
Wart crankbait. He favors a green crawfish Wiggle Wart that he runs about 7 to 8
feet deep on 8- to 10-pound line.
Hibdon selects a 1/8- or 1/ 4-ounce jig and a
Guido’s Baby Original plastic craw to work along transition banks where the
shoreline changes from a bluff to chunk rock. He usually chooses a jig-and-craw
in natural colors such as amber green flake or melon pepper during this time and
works the lure on 8- to 10-pound test.
As the water temperature climbs into the mid
50s, Hibdon targets secondary points where he still catches some fish on a jerk
bait or a Wiggle Wart. However, one of his favorite tactics for working the
secondary points is to drag a Carolina-rigged soft plastic (plastic lizard,
French Fry or Fluke in green pumpkin or watermelon). His rig consists of a main
line of 17- to 20-pound test, a 1-ounce weight, and a 2- to 3-foot leader of 17-
to 20-pound test. He drags his rig along the bottom of the gravel point at
depths of 7 to 10 feet and fishes anywhere from the dam to the Grand Glaize arm.
Hibdon notices bass normally spawn at Lake of
the Ozarks in mid to late April depending on the full moon. Although he has seen
some bass spawn in 55-degree water, Hibdon notes most bass nest when the water
temperature in the 60s. “Once the fish go to the beds to spawn the whole lake
is good then,” advises Hibdon. Since he prefers sight fishing, Hibdon usually
concentrates on the clearer water around Tan-Tar-A and below.
Most of the time the Stover, Mo., angler skips
a Texas-rigged 4-inch Hibdon Tube with a 1/8- to 1/16-ounce Eagle Claw HP
QuikClip weight and 2/0 Eagle Claw HP Hook) on 10-pound test line. He keys on
flat banks in the creeks or flat pockets protected from the wind. “If you see
a lot of smaller fish in the shallows a lot of times a bigger fish will be out
in front of them in deeper water,” hints Hibdon. “A lot of the big ones will
be out 5 to 6 feet deep.”
Post-spawn patterns usually work for Hibdon
from early to mid May when he favors throwing a topwater popper. Hibdon uses a
variety of small Japanese poppers that he twitches on 17- to 20-pound line in
the depth range of 4 feet or less along secondary and main lake points. His
favorite area for postspawn action runs from the mouths of the Niangua and Linn
Creek to the Hurricane Deck Bridge.
If he spots any shad activity in the mornings,
Hibdon also like to run a lavender shad Worden’s Timber Tiger square–billed
crankbait along secondary points. If the fish start schooling up along the
points, Hibdon works a Poe's 300 Series crankbait (in shad patterns) on 12- to
Bass start suspending on main lake points by
the end of May and into June. “Throughout the month of June, if you fish
points with a big worm and a crankbait you’ll be around the fish,” says
Hibdon. He usually catches bass during this time from Proctor Creek down to the
The pro angler fishes for suspended bass with a
Texas-rigged 10-inch plastic worm (electric blue, black grape or black) attached
to 17-pound line along with a 3/16-ounce bullet weight and 4/0 hook. Hibdon
cranks a Poe’s 300 Series crankbait in shad-patterns with 8- to 10-pound line
and then switches to a Poe’s 400 Series crankbait when the fish move deeper in
In July the fish start relating to wood more,
so Hibdon keys on brush piles 12- to 14-feet deep close to points. He uses the
same size plastic worm but relies on a 5/16-ounce weight so he can work the lure
along the bottom better.
Fall patterns begin for Hibdon in mid to late
September when he catches bass around docks close to points. He favors throwing
the lavender shad Timber Tiger 4- to 5-feet deep along any wind-blown points
with docks. In October, bass suspend under the dock foam where Hibdon catches
fish either by swimming a jig or cranking a spinnerbait or shallow-diving
His favorite lures for this pattern include a
1/4- or 3/8-ounce black jig with a shad gray or white twin-tail trailer (the
bottom half of a Dion’s Classic), a 1/4- or 3/8-ounce Ninja Spin (white skirt
with silver blades) and a lavender shad Timber Tiger DC-5 crankbait. He ties the
jig or spinnerbait on 17- to 20-pound test and runs his crankbait on 14-pound
If the fall weather has been mild, Hibdon
prefers fishing the upper end from Purvis Bay to Truman Dam. By late October and
early November, bass start chasing large gizzard shad along the big dark rocks
on the lower end of the lake. Hibdon favors catching these shallow bass on a
Zara Spook, 1/ 2-ounce white spinnerbait with number 6 or 7 silver willowleaf
blades or a 3/8-ounce buzz bait with an oversized blade (shad-pattern for clear
days or black for rainy weather) tied on 17- to 20-pound line.
“It’s a very fickle pattern because some
years they do it and some years they don’t,” warns Hibdon. “If it doesn’t
get cold enough early enough, sometimes that big gizzard shad pattern doesn’t
happen.” Hibdon then resorts to a 3/8-ounce jig tipped with a Guido’s
Original plastic craw that he flips to wind-blown rocky banks until the jerk
bait pattern begins in early to mid-December.
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.