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THE Lake of the Ozarks Fishing GuideExpert Articles by John Neporadny Jr. - November 2013

On highly populated Lake of the Ozarks you will see a lot of manmade forms that are ideal hangouts for bass.

Concrete in various forms, such as bridge pilings, pier walkway supports, boat ramps and seawalls, can be found throughout the Lake of the Ozarks. Besides serving its main purpose for humans, concrete also provides a great feeding place and cover for bass, especially in the fall when bass are chasing baitfish. “I think a lot of people ignore (concrete) and don’t realize its potential,” says Bassmaster Elite Series pro Denny Brauer.

The former Bassmaster Classic champion knows concrete cover has great potential on the Lake of the Ozarks with its countless seawalls, boat ramps and dock walkway supports. Brauer notes concrete cover can be a productive big fish pattern in the fall, but anglers can also catch plenty of numbers of bass as well if they scale down to a shaky head tactic. “It can also be a great way to catch a bunch of quality spotted bass,” he says. “They really like to relate to this pattern.”

Bass relate to concrete since it is an irregular feature in the water and its algae buildup attracts baitfish. “When you have water up against a seawall it offers shade and a break,” says Brauer. “It is also something different. Bass are creatures that relate to change whether it is pea gravel to a chunk rock bank or rock to something smooth like a boat ramp. Something irregular like that might be all it takes to stop a fish and hold it there.”

If a seawall sits in deep enough water, Brauer will position his boat parallel to the cover so he can keep his lure close to the wall throughout his retrieve “A lot of times you can’t do that so you have to 45-degree angle it,” he says. “There is noting wrong with that, you just have to go a little slower. “

While working along a seawall, Brauer looks for something different such as an abutment that might hold more fish. “It might be where you are catching fish on the seawall with a spinnerbait or buzz bait but when you get to a key little feature on it you might want to pick up your flipping stick and pitch your jig at that feature,” he advises.

Old busted-up seawalls attract more bass than smooth new walls. “Anything that has age on it is always better because it has a better buildup of algae that draws more bait in and it also offers more irregularities,” says Brauer.

Bass use boat ramps primarily as feeding areas in the fall. “You are liable to catch fish anywhere on a boat ramp but it seems they like to relate to the edge of the ramp, and the more popular ramps usually have a blowout at the end of them,” says Brauer. “I think those blowout holes are part of the reason the fish relate to them. A lot of people don’t bother to fish those holes because they just don’t fish the ramps out far enough.”

Brauer favors a buzz bait or spinnerbait (1/4- or 3/8-ounce in a sexy shad hue) and a Strike King Series 4S crankbait for running at various speeds along sea walls. “The clearer the water the faster and the dirtier the water the slower,” says Brauer. He begins with this axiom but experiments with retrieve speeds until he figures out which triggers the most strikes.

When he keys on boat ramps, Brauer opts for a 1/2-ounce Strike King Premier Pro-Model Jig with either a Strike King Rage Chunk or Strike King Denny Brauer Chunk trailer. He prefers the lively tail action of the Rage Chunk in the early fall when the water is still warm, but he switches to the more subtle action of the Denny Brauer Chunk when the water temperature drops into the low 60s.

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.

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