Articles by John Neporadny Jr. - November
Lake of the Ozarks Holiday
By John Neporadny Jr.
When the holiday season arrives at Lake of the
Ozarks, even the fish get in on the holiday feasting.
Some of the best fishing of the year occurs on
this Missouri reservoir during November and December as largemouth and spotted
bass, crappie and white bass feast on forage in preparation for winter. As the
water cools down, the fish become more active and move shallower. Recreational
boat traffic has diminished and fishing pressure is minimal since many anglers
have turned to hunting during the late fall/early winter period.
“The crappie are schooled a lot during those
months so I have a tendency when it gets cooler to keep fishing shallower and
shallower,” says Coast-Guard licensed guide Terry Blankenship. “Normally the
crappie during this time are very aggressive and it seems to be an excellent
time to catch big numbers of fish. Typically you can catch more fish out of a
spot more than any other time of the year.”
During November Blankenship relies on a
1/16-ounce jig for a faster descent rate when he is shooting the lure to docks
or casting to brush piles. When the water temperature drops into the low 40s in
December he switches to a 1/32-ounce jig for a slower fall and tries more
vertical jigging then. Blankenship matches his jighead with a Bobby Garland Baby
Shad or a 3-inch Slab Slayer in blue ice, electric chicken or bayou booger hues.
A spinnerbait and buzz bait are Blankenship’s
top lure choices for bass in November when the fish are feasting on shad in the
coves. He runs the buzz bait or wakes the spinnerbait over big rocks along the
flats of the larger creek coves. As the water temperature continues to cool down
during November, Blankenship starts to target brush piles at depths of 10 to 18
feet and slow rolls a 3/8-ounce spinnerbait (double willowleaf blades with
white-and-chartreuse skirt) through the cover.
When the water temperature drops below 45
degrees in December, Blankenship keys on steeper banks and cuts in the coves
close to the main channel. He catches both bass and crappie on this structure by
slowly twitching a suspending stickbait that has a tint of blue, purple or
chartreuse on the lure. “It seems like blue is an excellent color to have
available for both bass and crappie on this lake,” Blankenship says.
White bass gang up on wind-blown points along
the main lake throughout November. One of my favorite tactics for catching
whites in the shallows then is to continually jerk a 4-inch Rebel Minnow (black
back/chrome sides). The stickbait also triggers vicious strikes from heavyweight
hybrid stripers lurking in the shallows.
Popping a topwater chugger and jig combination
usually produces better numbers of white bass for me along the gravel points. I
remove the front hook of the chugger to prevent line fouling and then tie about
a 2-foot trailer line on the rear hook. I complete the rig by tying a white
1/16-ounce marabou jig on the trailer line.
The white bass action usually ends by the
beginning of December when the water cools into the low 50s and the fish move
out to school in deeper water.
For information on lodging and other
facilities at the Lake of the Ozarks or to receive a free 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.