Articles by John Neporadny Jr. - March
Bank Fishing at Bagnell Dam
By John Neporadny Jr.
Fishing from the banks of a dam tailrace always
kept me in suspense when I was a kid.
I just never knew what I was going to hook next
when I fished below dams on the Mississippi River and Carlyle Lake in Illinois.
Most of the time we caught crappie and white bass, but my other catches from the
tailraces included walleye, sauger, largemouth bass, yellow bass, catfish, carp,
buffalo, gar and paddlefish.
Eldon, Mo., angler John Vernon has spent
several decades bank fishing the Bagnell Dam tailrace below Lake of the Ozarks.
He catches crappie and white bass throughout the year as long as some current is
Bank fishing at the Bagnell Dam tailrace can be
a productive yet inexpensive way to catch panfish throughout the year if you can
learn how to read the water. Ask any local tailrace expert about the bank
fishing in the Bagnell Dam tailrace and they will tell you it’s a waste of
time to try it if there is no flow from the dam.
A strong current makes it easier for Vernon to
find tailrace panfish. He notices the fish move shallower along the rocks during
heavy current, especially when all the floodgates of Bagnell Dam are open.
A double tube jig system without a bobber works
best for Vernon when fishing from a tailrace bank. He opts for tubes in
red-and-chartreuse and purple-and-white color combinations with 1/8-ounce
jigheads that he ties about 18 inches apart on 8-pound test line.
The tailrace veteran keys on the eddies and
varies the speed of his retrieve depending on the strength of the current. “It
is always better to fish in the eddy or downstream slightly,” he reveals. “You
also have to keep the jigs moving the whole time or you’ll get them hung up.”
Using a countdown method after casting helps
Vernon avoid losing too many jigs to hang-ups. “If you count to 10 seconds and
get hung up, try counting to only 8 or 9 the next cast,” advises Vernon. Once
he finds the right count that triggers strikes yet keeps his lures away from
snags, Vernon uses the same count on the rest of his casts.
Line watching also prevents Vernon from
snagging his jigs. “Watch the speed of your retrieve and if your line starts
to slack that means you’re going to get hung up right away,” says Vernon,
who avoids hanging up by giving his rod a short yank to straighten out the line
and pull the jigs away from the rocks
If you’re limited to fishing from the bank,
then get a 5-gallon bucket (for holding your fish), grab a rod and reel and a
small tacklebox full of jigheads and soft plastic tubes and grubs and head for
the Bagnell Dam tailrace. You’re bound to catch plenty of crappie and white
bass and whatever else swims there.
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.