Thursday, April 24, 2008

Spring Time White Bass Fishing!

Its that time of the year again when My favorite fishing takes place. The elusive white bass spawning run. The dogwoods, redbuds, and lilacs are in full bloom and many of the old timers will tell ya, thats the time for the white bass run! We have had lots of flooding and the area lakes are hard to navigate because of the debris coming down the river into the lakes so be careful and wear life jackets and dont get in a big hurry to get to that favorite fishing hole.

Remember safety is more important than the fishing , not to say that both aren't important, but safety should come first allowing more time for the fishing.
If you knock a hole in your boat, tear out the lower unit, or maybe even turn your boat over,it makes it hard to catch those elusive white bass. So practice
boating safety and this will insure a fun day on the lakes!

WHERE TO FISH? All Missouri lakes are good for white bass fishing, but I am just listing a couple of my favorites!

Norfork Lake

A significant portion of Norfork Lake, located in southern Ozark County on the Arkansas border, actually rests in Arkansas, but the Missouri side may arguably be the best white-bass lake in the state. Management of this 22,000-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lake is a joint project between Missouri and Arkansas fisheries biologists. Norfork's great white bass population and fishing is augmented by annual stockings of striped bass and hybrid bass (a hatchery cross between white bass and striped bass) from Arkansas hatcheries.

Like other White River lakes, Norfork is governed by a fishing regulation that reflects its status as a border water: An angler with a reciprocal fishing permit can fish both the Missouri and the Arkansas portions of the lake, which supports one of the best and most consistent white bass spawning runs.

Norfork Lake's two major tributaries in Missouri -- the North Fork of the White River and Bryant Creek -- join at the head end to form the impoundment. These two clear Ozark streams provide ideal spawning conditions for white bass, and, in the spring, white bass stack up at the Junction Hole just upstream from Highway 160 Bridge west of Tecumseh. Anglers can access this section of the lake from the southwest side of the bridge.

During high-water years, white bass migrate further upstream to Dawt Mill Dam on the North Fork and Warren Bridge on Bryant Creek.

Also during the summer, local guides look for shad schools breaking the surface as a result of being chased by white bass, stripers and hybrids. Once the guides locate a school, they ease in quietly using a trolling motor and fish under the schooling shad with deep-running crankbaits and white jigs tipped with white curly tailed grubs.

Lake Of The Ozarks

I could have highlighted a host of other Missouri lakes other than Norfork; however, one lake stands out above the rest. Lake of the Ozarks is Missouri's second-oldest lake, constructed on the Osage River in the 1930s to supply electricity for central Missourians. In terms of scenic beauty, it's butt-ugly; however, when it comes to producing white bass, it rates right near the top of my list.

Lake of the Ozarks consistently produces great white-bass fishing throughout the year. In spring the lake supports several notable white bass spawning runs up Gravois Creek, Linn Creek, the Niangua river arms, Cole Camp Creek, Turkey Creek, and the Osage River to Truman Dam.

My favorite, and the favorite of many anglers in the know, is the Osage River downstream from Truman Dam. The dam restricts upstream migration of white bass and concentrates a lot of fish in a relatively small area.

You can fish from the bank or use a boat here; both methods are very effective. However, the size of the river, especially during spring flows restricts the amount of water you can cover from the bank. I recommend using a boat and drifting through with the current as you fish. This allows you to cover more area, and when you encounter a white-bass school, you can return for the next drift.

Although smaller, the other lake arms also provide great spring fishing, allowing easier fishing from a boat or by wading.

White bass aren't shy; they strike furiously and fight hard. White jigs or small minnow-colored crankbaits work great in spring.

I use a light- or medium-action spinning rod lined with 6- or 8-pound line, depending on water clarity. In the clear water the lighter line works better; however, Lake of the Ozarks and northern lakes are relatively dingy, allowing anglers to use a heavier line.

Later in the year, the key to catching white bass is locating shad schools. White bass hang under the shad, off rocky points or ridges in the lakes. When you locate a school by observing birds or fish breaking the surface, ease up quietly and then fish below the school using deep-running crankbaits or jigs.

If you can't locate shad, troll using crankbaits over rocky points or ridges. When you locate white bass, throw out a marker and troll the area again.

At Lake of the Ozarks, many anglers fish too deep during the summer. All of our lakes thermally stratify by June at between 15 and 30 feet. Once they're stratified, dissolved oxygen levels drop in the bottom water layer, and fish won't use water with low oxygen levels. By midsummer, Lake of the Ozarks has little or no oxygen in the lower layer. Fish above this depth, usually around 15 feet.

The key to great white bass eating is in the catching and cleaning. Don't drag your fish around on a stringer or in a hot livewell; place them in a cooler filled with ice immediately after catching. When you fillet white bass, remove the lateral line, indicated by the red meat, from the fillets.

I like simple cooking. Salt and pepper your fillets to taste and then dredge them in potato flakes and pan-fry quickly in vegetable oil. Once you have cooked your white bass fillets, deglaze your pan by adding a tablespoon of real butter and the juice of half a lemon. Pour this over your fillets and serve hot. Quick, simple, and, oh, so good.

Give Missouri's white bass fishing a try this year. You'll be surprised at how much fun it can be! So good luck and see ya out there. Always remember to be safe and remember, until next time, have fun out in the " Great Outdoors!"

Monday, April 21, 2008

Do You Ever Wonder?

Sometimes, while I am out in the "Great Outdoors" I see things that make me realize that there is something greater than we understand going on around us. I sometimes wonder how scientists can say that the universe and the world we live in came about from " the big boom theory."

I know I am getting a little off beat, But I feel inspired to write. I am by no means trying to force my beliefs on anyone. But I just stand in awe and am overwhelmed by all the beautiful things of the outdoor world that is there for us to see.

Doesn't it make you think about how this all came about? The very Bass that we purue, where did they come from, and how did they come about.The deer that we see grazing in the fields....?

I realize that we as humans don't have all the answers, but we strive deligently to arrive at some scientifically proven theory. But is there a theory that we can totally and without a doubt prove to be true?

I use to be one who believed that if you could show me I would believe. Now I look around me and I am truely amazed at all the evidence of "creator" that we have around us.Look up in the sky at night, and look at all the stars. Look at the moon, the sun. How do they manage to stay in the same orbit, and have for as long as man has been on the earth. I don't know about you but I can't swallow the "big boom" theory.

I truely believe that there is something a lot more supernatural than that at stake. When I am camping or fishing or hunting, I feel a closeness to something a lot more realistic than an unproven theory. I truely believe that God has created all that we see around us!

For one thing the universe as we know it is for too complicated for a freak accident of nature itself. I know that I can't prove that God is real, but I don't think that anyone can prove that he,s not real! So when I am on the lake at sunrise or sunset, and I see the beauty around me, In my heart I know, that there is more to life than meets the eye.

So what I hope I have done here Is get you all to thinking. So until next time, enjoy the "Great Outdoors" See you all out there, and Good Luck! Thanks for your Time!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Fishing On the "Big Piney River"

As I am sitting here today wishing I could go fishing,and I guess I could, Old memories of River fishing on the "Big Piney" river, keep coming back to mind. Some of my readers have an idea of what I am talking about, while others might not.

As I was born ,November 1954, and spent a lot of time fishing, swimming, and camping on this old river,and will from time to time, no doubt, share some of these memories with all of you that are reading my articles and/or will read them.

I am going to share just a few of my vivid memories with you today , as I am in a writing mood and that can make for good reading for you all,I hope.

In 1964 my family moved down in the Texas county region of Missouri,near Ft.Lost in the woods, as some of you might have heard it called, but for those of you with no knowledge of it, you might know it as Ft Leonard Wood Military base Off of Interstate 44 Near St Roberts , Missouri. The Big Piney River is a very popular river for canoeing, and fishing. The river is notorious for outdoor activities such as canoeing , camping ,backpacking and fishing .It has beautiful scenery such as bluffs, caves,wildflower, and an abundance of wildlife.

When I was a young boy the river had an abundance of fish, such as goggle eye, smallmouth bass,largemouth bass, catfish,and about every kind of perch there is.

My dad,brother,grandpa,and several other relatives spent a lot of time fishing on this river and the memories I have, are never ending,most of which are pleasant and some even funny!

For example back in the 60's my dad and I used to go wade fishing quite often in the evening an hour or two before dark, and sometimes wouldn't get home till 9 or 10, well after dark . We used to work in the hay fields all day and then grab the poles and head for the "Big Piney" and wade down to this place where a big spring ran into the river and during the summer the fish would come up to the hole of water where the spring ran into the river. We would practically stand in one spot and limit out on "goggle eye" or"rock bass"or maybe even "red eyes " to some of you readers. A simply amazing fish, very aggressive and fun to catch on light tackle.

Anyways, one night my dad and I, were wading and catching alot of goggle eyes and a few smallmouth bass. It was getting dark and my dad was using a U-20 flat fish lure. Now for those of you who dont know U-20's had 4 treble hooks and if a fish touched it they were caught as a general rule. On with the story! Dad hung a big old smallmouth bass and in the current was having quite a battle with the darned old thing. Up the river, down the river, and such and then it came right towards him. Now picture this, Dad probably don't like me telling this but he was wearing an old, like antique bermuda shorts, the wildest looking shorts, but probably in style once upon a time. HA! Don't know when that would be however. Anyways, the fish in desperation to get that lure out of his mouth ran right between my dads legs and snagged that old flat fish in his leg and buried the treble hooks past the barbs and then got off. OUCH! and then OUCH!again!

Needlessly to say, that put an end to the outing, even tho we had our limits of goggle eye and some smallies to boot, to the house we went! I am fuzzy on the details at the house, but dad went to the doctor to get the hooks removed, no telling what the doctor thought. But anyways the doctor removed the lure from dads leg and a local newspaper posted this article in the paper that said "Local man gets caught by fish! Or fish catches local man! I am not for sure,for accuracy on the details,but I think you get the picture!

Now I am sure this wasn't funny at the time,(to my dad of course) and I never told him that I tried not to laugh (but did) to this day When I think about this story I still laugh, probably harder now than then, cause I can outrun him now, I think.

If in fact any of you liked this story and found it interesting and maybe even enjoyed it let me know and I will write more stories on my adventures on the "Big Piney River" in the future.

So until next time, as My favorite saying goes " A bad day fishing IS better than a great day at work!" In the meantime, and till next time, Enjoy the "Great Outdoors!

What Is Truely Important In Life?

One day a fisherman was lying on a beautiful beach, with his fishing pole propped up in the sand and his solitary line cast out into the sparkling blue surf. He was enjoying the warmth of the afternoon sun and the prospect of catching a fish.

About that time, a businessman came walking down the beach, trying to relieve some of the stress of his workday. He noticed the fisherman sitting on the beach and decided to find out why this fisherman was fishing instead of working harder to make a living for himself and his family.

"You aren't going to catch many fish that way," said the businessman to the fisherman, "you should be working rather than lying on the beach!"

The fisherman looked up at the businessman, smiled and replied, "And what will my reward be?"

"Well, you can get bigger nets and catch more fish!" was the businessman's answer.

"And then what will my reward be?" asked the fisherman, still smiling.

The businessman replied, "You will make money and you'll be able to buy a boat, which will then result in larger catches of fish!" "And then what will my reward be?" asked the fisherman again.

The businessman was beginning to get a little irritated with the fisherman's questions. "You can buy a bigger boat, and hire some people to work for you!" he said.

"And then what will my reward be?" repeated the fisherman.

The businessman was getting angry. "Don't you understand? You can build up a fleet of fishing boats, sail all over the world, and let all your employees catch fish for you!"

Once again the fisherman asked, "And then what will my reward be?"

The businessman was red with rage and shouted at the fisherman, "Don't you understand that you can become so rich that you will never have to work for your living again! You can spend all the rest of your days sitting on this beach, looking at the sunset. You won't have a care in the world!"

The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, "And what do you think I'm doing right now?"

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Big One That Didn't Get Away!

Leo and "MOBY!"

I was just sitting around today, its raining again,bored stiff, and decided to make a blog post.
Of course you all are probably thinking more tips and etc. But today I am going to tell a small (big fish) story!In the post before this, an article " Jerk baits do catch fish year round" notice the picture!

Leo and I were at Truman lake , near Warsaw, Missouri, on about a 4 or 5 day adventure. We had camped out at Pomme de terre State Park , On Pomme de terre lake. We had fished the first day on PDTL. And we were bass fishing! My friend Leo, was bound and determined he wanted to catch nothing but catfish on his bass lures! Believe it or not this is pretty common. I have caught several channel catfish on lures in alot of different lakes. He had caught about an 8 or 9 lb. cat on a lure of some kind,(not exactly sure as I have slept since then) HA!

Anyway, We caught a few bass,that were small but we managed to put out some jug lines and it got dark and of course we couldn't find our jugs. We had to go back to camp that night and let them stay out, not a good practice , because Your supposed to stay within talking distance of your jugs.

The next morning we launched the boat and headed over towards the damn and the wind had howled all night. Of course the jugs were no where to be seen! Well, at this point I had figured that either a game warden had spotted them and retrieved them,which meant tickets would be in the mail soon! So I was not exactly a happy camper, well by this time the lake was white capping and was extremely rough and dangerous. BUT! We spotted our jugs, or at least some of them probably about a mile from where we dropped them out. We started to round them up and of course the wind by this time had gained hurricane strength.

We spent about an hour of our fishing day, and about 10 or 15 words that I don't dare to repeat, but we managed to get all but one of the jugs. We spotted it about 8ft up on the bank and didn't dare try to get it as the waves would have beat my tracker to death on the Rock bank where it was lodged. The good news is we did catch a couple of catfish and a turtle, which didn't like Leo at all! Enough said! Back to camp we went, exhausted and wet. You see we not only got soaked by the waves coming over the side of the boat, but we also got caught in a downpour. Not a very good beginning to a fishing trip but never the less we didn't have to shower that night.

The next morning we went over to Truman Lake and launched the boat. A fisherman said he had gotten on the white bass and hybrids up near where we were headed, so excited and motivated off we went. Well we hadn't been long and of course the inevitable hurricane winds started to prevail again. You have to understand something about my luck fishing. The wind has to blow hard and it always has to rain. If you go fishing with me you need good rain gear.

It was definitely too windy to fish the bank so we decided to troll for those whites and hybrids. Right off the bat I caught about a 2 lb white and I told Leo we were going to get healthy quick! WRONG! 4 hours later all we had was ONE, 2lb white bass. However, we had noticed the wind was trying to lay and it was about 3 pm and we still had time to catch some bass ,if we could!

We took about a 30 minute run back towards the truck and I pulled up to this Island and it was like glass on the down wind side and I killed the motor about 60 yds out from shore. Told Leo to get ready to catch one because this was a honey holeof mine and I started changing my Lure. Leo was using a jerk bait and first cast he made! Listen to this !

The lure hardlytouched the water and bang! He got BIT and HARD! Now mind you he was using an ultralight open face reel and the fight was on. I really believe that Leo had not a clue how big this fish was! The Lunker, we called him MOBY,pretty well did what hewanted to do and he came up to the boat pretty quick and turned on his side. I could see at this point that it was barely on the big lure and I knew Moby wasn't done yet. Down he went again and I got the net, yelled to Leo to steer Moby back towards me so I could net him. Now Leo still unaware at this point , how big Moby was. He steered him my way and Like I knew what I was doing , netted the fish.

Now Leo was excited, but didn't take long to realize that Moby was a lot bigger than he had anticipated! I told him to get him in the live well quick before he got away and back into the Lake on us. Now Leo minds pretty well and he did what he was told, and boom the lid on the live well was closed and Moby was at our mercy now.Adrenilin was flowing rather fast in both of us now and we decided not to go back to camp, but to continue fishing for Mobys kinfolk, you know how the story goes. Well I got the bright idea, we needed a picture of Moby and Leo and well the rest of the story is history,BUT,LEO was now aware that Moby was alot bigger than he at first thought. Leo at this point can't shut up and there was no way we were leaving. Which we did fish till dark and then I had to make Leo quit and we reluctantly called it a day.

The moral of this story is, "No matter how bad the day is, no matter what your up against , Hang in there and don't give up." Remembering that day , the odds were stacked against us , we got a late start, fought typhoon winds, and temperatures close to 100 degrees. But we had a good day fishing, and we will always remember the excitement ole Moby gave us! And Leo will NEVER forget that trip! I know I wont! So I hope all of my readers enjoyed this story as much as I did telling It.

And like I always say " A bad day fishing is better than a great day at work" Be sure to enjoy "The Great Outdoors!"

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Jerk Baits Do Catch Fish Year Round

My friend Leo, caught this Lunker during the dog days of August , On a 5 1/2 inch jerk bait!

What is a Jerk Bait?

All jerk baits have a few characteristics which set them apart from all other baits. Jerk baits are slender for their length, presenting an ideal profile for a lurking bass looking for a quick meal. Although most jerk baits are high floaters, they all trigger the bite while underwater, which seperates them from a pure top water lure. All of the hard baits have some type of lip to pull the bait underwater, much the same as a crank bait. But the thing that sets them apart from other lures is the way they are worked. To get the most out of a jerk bait, you use the rod in short or long jerks without reeling. This rod action is what gives jerk baits their name, and their action underwater.

At this point, we really need to separate the baits into two broad catagories, Hard Baits and Soft Baits. The Soft Baits are a fairly new development, originated to overcome some of the restrictions with the Hard Baits. The Soft Baits have now evolved into virtually a separate lure, needing their own type of rod, action, situation, and techniques. For these reasons, let's save the discussion of Soft Baits until next month, when we'll look at Soft Baits in detail. For now, we'll limit the study to their Hard Bait ancestors, since there's more than enough to keep you busy with just that.

Turning to the Hard Baits, we already know they are long, slender, and have some type of diving lip. They also have two or three treble hooks which, because of the bait's slender profile, tend to be rather small when compared with a crankbait of simular size and weight. Other than a couple of specialty baits, which we'll look at later, they float high and level. Most have a one piece body, although some surface types have a joint or ring in the middle. Several manufacturers make these lures, with the main players being: Rapala, Bomber Long A Series, Bagley's Bang-O-lure, and the Smithwick Rogue series. Each of the manufacturers have a slightly different design, and each one has a particular job it seems best at.

Where do I throw a Jerk Bait?

Jerk Baits, by design, are reaction lures. They blend the best of attracting and triggering properties. Since they resemble the profile of a threadfin shad, bass will strike readily. The quick action of the jerk, sometimes combined with splash if worked on top, can attract fish from long range. With it's many variations, jerk baits can be fished in several situations, depending on the mood of the fish and the particular bait and tactic you use. But it's not all together versitile.

Like all crankbait style lures, jerk baits are designed to be struck from below, otherwise they'd have a hook on top of the lure. Jerk baits are almost solely a horizonal presentation, so you need to know exactly the depth you're trying to fish. The small treble hooks poise some serious limitations. Getting a fish hooked up solid with the small hooks can be an accomplishment all by itself, but trying to consistantly pull a fish out of heavy cover is an effort doomed from the start. This limits the situations for best jerk bait fishing to open water where there is little to get tangled up in once a fish is hooked. Now you can, and should, consider a jerk bait when fishing near heavy cover, just as long as you present the lure from an angle which will prevent the fish from heading straight back into the cover after the hook set. In other words, the fish must have an open water area to run to for the fight.

Smithwick, in particular, as spent considerable effort in adding rattles and bright colors to make jerk baits more effective in low visability water. Even at that, jerk baits continue to be primarily a clear water tactic. The quick, erratic motion of the baits is what makes them attractive, so they remain a sight bait for the most part. But clear water is a relative term. Even if you can't see more than a couple of feet below the surface, a bass may well be able to see several feet in the same water. In fact, slightly stained water can be the very best place for a jerk bait since the bass will strike at the motion rather than examining the lure too closely. Any water with over a foot or so visability is a candidate for a jerk bait.

Given reasonably clear open water, you now have to worry about depth and whether or not fish are there to start with. As it turns out, at this point there is a variety of choices depending largely on what depth you wish to fish. But all depths are not created equal and a jerk bait is limited by the mood of the fish combined with the depth. For the sake of discussion, let's break the discussion into four parts, each related to a depth: Top Water; 1 -3 Feet, 4 - 10 Feet, and Below 10 Feet. This refers to how deep the lure runs, not the depth of either the water or the fish. If fish are suspended in 10 feet over a 30 foot hole, a jerk bait running 3 feet deep is still effective. Keep in mind we are expecting the fish to attack from below the lure, so in all execpt the most negative moods, we'd like the lure to run above the depth the fish are using.

1 - 3 Feet

Prime Time for Jerk Baits. This is the pattern where jerk baits work the best. Reel the bait under the surface then, pointing your rod tip down, use a series of quick jerks with the rod to keep the bait submerged while taking up the line between jerks. While many like to keep a steady rhythm I prefer an erratic retrieve with fairly long pauses between two or three quick jerks. Some fish will absolutely blast the lure, but most of the bites will only be a tick as the lure floats up.

My preference for this depth is the Bomber Long A with a black back. I use gold sides and orange belly on cloudy days and silver sides the rest of the time. The reason I like this brand is the tremendous flash the lure gives off as you jerk it. You can easily see the sides flash when the lure is only half way back to the boat. With that kind of flash, you can draw a bite from a considerable distance. Even though the bait is running only 3 feet under the water, it is effect worked over depths up to 20 feet in clear water.

If the fish are in a chasing mood, this pattern will catch them. You can cover a huge area quickly and fish that ignore spinner baits or crankbaits will nail this baby. It's one of the best baits I know for searching out the fish or working a widely scattered pattern. It will work anytime the fish aren't hugging the bottom and is one of the best baits for those fish that suspend during a warming period between winter cold fronts. A smaller version of the jerk bait, the 4" size with only two hooks, is dynamite for schoolers. The pros will also tell you it's one of the best baits you can use over deep weed beds. The bait can be worked well in the wind up to about the point where you're in white caps, (in heavy winds I use the gold color.) All in all, this bait and pattern is second none when fish are feeding on shad in open water.

4 - 10 Feet

We are starting a specialty pattern here. If you know the fish are suspended and you just can't get them to come up to 3 feet for the bait, you can change baits and get a bit deeper with them. For this application, I prefer the Smithwick Rouge series. It's a bit bigger and heavier than the other baits and you can get it in a suspending model that's great for about the 7 foot range. Since you're fishing deeper, you're not going to get as much flash as with the shallow baits. The Rouges have two advantages to compensate for this; One, their side pattern that's broken and releived reflects disfused light well; and Two, they are available with rattles if you think the fish need some extra help finding the bait. I work the Rouges slower and more methodical than I do the shallow baits with long pauses particularly with the suspending series. This is because if I'm forced to go deeper, the fish are likely in a negative mode and I'm running the bait right around the thermocline, a tough bite under the best of conditions. Other than that, it's pretty much the same as the shallower running action.

Another option, at least with practice, is the Count Down Rapala. This bait actually sinks instead of floats. The idea is to let the bait sink to just past it's working depth by slowing counting down the sink rate. When you get a bite, just count to the same number and you should be close to the same depth. It's a good theory that doesn't always work since the sink rate can vary with wind direction, boat movement, and a half a dozen other things. But in a pinch, when you want a small slow bait for a suspended fish, it can be a winner. You will need to practice this one before you go. The lure will sink a different rate if you have a taunt or slack line, so be consistent. Even with the small lip, the lure will tend to rise as the line angle increases either by raising the rod tip or as the lure approaches the boat. To get a complete cast in at the same depth, count the lure down on a taunt line and start with you rod tip slightly above horizonal. As you work the lure closer to the boat, lower your rod tip to keep the lure working the same depth. Use consistent jerks, both in force and length or the lure will rise and fall accordingly. With a little practice, you really can hit just about any depth down to around 10 feet consistently. If you're marking a hard thermocline with your depth finder less than 10 feet deep, and you're having trouble getting bit with anything else, remember the Count Down Rapala. Another situation where they are great is over deep weed beds. Position the boat in shallow water and the count the bait down to just over the weed tops in the deep water. Now just work the bait as if it didn't rise at all! If you hit the correct pace, the lure will work itself shallower at the same rate as the rise of the weed bed, so you're right above the weeds at all times. Again, it takes a bit of practice, but it will be well worth it come weight in.

Over 10 Feet

This is really a specialty! In 99% of the cases, I can find something better than a jerk bait below 10 feet, (that's why God invented spinnerbaits), but one particular situation is the exception. If you find fish that are suspended just off a deep ledge, between say 15 and 25 feet down, a deep diving jerk bait can get you some extra heavy weights.

For deep jerking, I like the deep diving Rouge series. The Spoonbill Rapala also works well and will float up quicker than the Rouges, which can be an advantage at times. In either case I prefer the silver/black model while many others like the gold/black. Use the one you have the most confidence in.

Position your boat over the deep water, several feet past where you think the fish are suspended and make long casts past the top of the ledge. Reel down several times to get the bait down to around 10 feet and reel down with a taunt line with you rod point straight out towards the bait. Then, with a long sweeping motion, lift the rod to vertical and quickly reel down to the level and taunt position again. Allow the bait to float up for a few seconds, taking up the slack with the reel but not really moving the bait. The bite will come as the bait is rising. What you are doing is forcing the bait to quickly dive down to around 15 feet in a steep arc and then float up vertically. The bait will appear to the fish as a big shad struggling to get to the bottom but not able to stay down, in other words, "free food." A local guy taught Roland Martin this pattern on Harris chain in during Megabucks. Roland was willing to listen to it since it was 2 hours to weight in and he didn't have a bite. Roland weighed in 89 lbs in 3 days, so he's a big fan if this pattern, (Son!) Obviously, this is not a year round pattern. It seems to work the best during the winter but can work in the dog days of summer. The key is to precisely locate the fish and to recognize the pattern. But it's a neat enough trick to keep a deep diver in your tackle box for those days they just won't touch a jigging spoon.

So just remember to keep some jerk baits handy next time you go fishing , and who knows you
might just tie into that lunker of a lifetime, and make sure to enjoy, "The Great Outdoors!"

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Family Camping Missouri Area Lakes

Information for family camping areas around some of our area lakes here in Missouri,are as follows. There are state parks, with electricity,water, public bath houses,laundry services, and even local tourist sites close by.

Here are just a few of them as listed;

Harry S Truman State Park>
telephone: 660-438-7711
Warsaw , Mo. Truman Lake

Pomme de terre State Park>
telephone: 417-852-4291
Pittsburg, Mo. Pomme de terre Lake

Lake of the Ozarks State Park>
telephone: 573-348-2694
Kaiser Mo Lake of the Ozarks

Those are the only ones I know of right off hand. You can find most state parks in Missouri like this That should get you information.

Any of the telephone #s for the other state parks can get you the details of the other state parks around the area!

If you notice while your visiting these sites on the web there us a locator map. click on the different parks and it will
take you to the appropriate places you want to go.

I hope this information is useful and gives you some sort of idea of how to make connections and make sure you reserve
your campsites ahead of time. You can check the availability of your site at each web site! You can also call the department of natural resources Missouri and find out what ever your looking for.

Jerk Baitin' For Bass

There are "Two" basic types or styles of Jerkbaits that are sold on the bassin’ market today, and they would fall in the categories of "Hard-Jerkbaits" and "Soft-Jerkbaits." The "Soft-Jerkbaits" type or style would cover the soft-plastic baits such as; Bass

Assassins, Squids, Slug-O’s, Dartin’ Shads, Skuirmin’ Jerks, Flukes, Flappin’ Shads, Etc...... And the "Hard-Jerkbaits" type or style would cover the hard plastic or even wood types such as; Rapala’s Husky Jerk, Jointed-Minnows, Floating Minnows, Smithwick’s Rogues, Bomber’s Long-A’s, Rebel’s Minnows, Bagley’s Ratlin’ Twitcher, etc...... and there many, many, more of these same type of baits made from different manufacturers that would fall under this category.

Jerkbaits, without question would definitely fall in the "Top-10" category of all artificial baits used by Tournament Anglers in today’s bass fishing mostly because these types of baits have proven themselves over and over to not only catch bass in numbers, but they catch quality bass as well. One of the primary reasons that these baits are used by so many anglers is because Jerkbaits are considered to be one of the more versatile types of baits on today's market and can literally be fished just about anywhere at any time. There are many different techniques and presentations you can use when fishing with a Jerkbait, I’ll explain a few of the more popular presentations in hopes to help you increase your success rate when it comes to catching bass.

First of all, I’ll cover some of the more popular techniques for "Top Water Fishing" while using these Jerkbaits. Let’s say that you pull up into a area where you would find thick floating vegetation in about 1 to 6’ depth of water, and this vegetation is covering the surface with very little exposed open water pockets, a "Soft-Jerkbait" would be the preferred Jerkbait to use in a situation like this simply because of the "Weedless Rigging" it allows you to use to keep from getting caught on the vegetation. In a area such as this, you would rig the "Soft-Jerkbait" without any added weight at all and rig it as a "Texas-Rig" using a wide gap hook. Now you’re ready for business!..... Cast the bait into the midst of the vegetation and make short twitches periodically letting the bait lay still on top of the vegetation, then keep repeating this technique all the way back to the boat. If you don’t have any vegetation on your body of water, then cast the bait over submerged structure areas.

Now, let’s say that you are into an area that has scattered vegetation with pockets of open water at the same depth, you can use either a Soft or a Hard Jerkbait!, but keep in mind that a "Hard-Jerkbait" has exposed hooks already fastened to the bait (which means it is easy for the bait to get caught-up on this vegetation). With either bait, cast it into these open pockets of water, make a couple of small sharp twitches, then let it lay still for a moment. Usually after the bait lays still, usually the first twitch after this still period is mostly the time when a bass will strike!, so be ready. Or in this same area (using a Soft-Jerkbait), add a little weight to the bait to where the bait will slowly drop to the bottom. Again, let it lay there for a moment, then make a couple of small sharp twitches lifting the bait back up to the surface and let it drop again. You will find that this technique can be very rewarding if you give it a try. This technique will work around structure, rip-rap, docks, fall-downs, bank edges, trees, stump areas, and just about any areas fishable.

Now, let’s move out into deeper water areas to where you may have 6 to 10’ depths. These same techniques already mentioned for surface and sub-surface patterns will work just as well in this deeper water (especially around and on top of submerged structure and vegetation), but now let’s fish a little deeper with these baits. In the case of the "Hard-Jerkbait", select one that suspends and or has a diving-bill on the front of it to get it down under the waters surface. Most of these "Hard-Jerkbaits" will be made for the depth of water you choose to fish (the bigger the front bill, the

Early Spring Crappie Fishing

Well folks now that the winter Is near over and the ice is off most of the lakes, ponds, rivers and streams all we need to do know is wait for the crappie spawn to catch some big slab spring crappie. Wrong! You are missing out on some of the most amazing spring crappie fishing. The fishing pressure will be light because of the still very cold weather. If you can tolerate some very inclement weather you will experience some of the most amazing spring crappie fishing.

After ice out it is time to go out and start your spring crappie fishing. The crappie are still in deep water but will start their move into holding areas close to their spawning beds. They will be hungry and will be feeding in Ernest. The water is extremely cold, so you will have to use a very slow bait presentation. The trick is being able to locate the fish, there are some fundamentals you need to be aware of to find the big slab pre-spawn spring crappie. Oh you won't have to be out on the lake at first light either. It has been my experience , afternoon is better this time of year because there is some sun warming and the crappie feed on the moving bait fish more in the afternoon.

A good place to start your spring crappie fishing is at the last places the ice fisherman were catching crappie. If you don't ice fish contact some ice fisherman and find out their last fishing locations. The fish will be holding at these locations right after ice out. If your lake is shallow, head to the deeper boat channels around your lake, the fish will be located there. In deeper lakes head to narrowing creeks and channels feeding off the lake the spring crappie will be located there. In rivers head for channels that feed off the main river.

When fishing In cold water I prefer ultra light equipment. When your fishing for spring crappie the bite will most likely be very light. You need to be able to feel the bite to catch fish Use 2lb test and an open face reel and a graphite rod, with a good tip. If you are breaking line and snagging a lot move to 4lb fluorocarbon.. I recommend you use 1/32oz or 1/16oz jig heads that have eyes painted on them. The color of the jig head can very, but my preference is chartreuse or pink. with split tail plastic tubes. with some glitter color. My preference is to use clear color tubes with some glitter color in them for clear water. In murky water use white or yellow. If the water is real muddy use chartreuse.

If you use these tips you will be successful. When you catch a giant slab crappie in early spring there is no better feeling. Well good luck with your spring crappie fishing. And make sure, you enjoy the "Great Outdoors!"

Cranking for Spring Bass

In the early spring, shallow crankbaits are an effective search tool. As an alternative to the spinnerbait, shallow-diving crankbaits can cover a lot of water and give the fish a look at something different. As the bottom temperature reaches 50 degrees Fahrenheit, new vegetation begins to grow. In the shallow areas of the lake, baitfish begin to roam and congregate in these areas. The baitfish are small minnows and panfish. Smaller (downsized) crankbaits such as lipless baits and those "crappie"-sized crankbaits match the hatch. Erratic retrieves work best to trigger strikes especially those when the bait deflects of the cover (wood, rocks, sandy bottom, and weed tops).

In very clear water, use the lightest line that you can get away with as the lighter line allows for better sensitivity of the bait and will make the bait run a bit deeper than the next heavier line. Some of the bites may be very light and the lighter line can help detect them. Look for areas at this time of year that would have the warmest water. These areas would be those shallow bays protected from the north winds with the presence of any cover such as wood, rocks, and/or weeds - preferably with all of these. Wood and rocks absorb the sun's rays and help warm the water in these little areas faster than the main lake. A temperature difference by as much as a couple of degrees could make all the difference between sluggish fish and active feeders. Good Luck on the Water! Make sure you enjoy the "Great Outdoors!"

Campfire Cooking Tips

Campfire cooking can be downright civilized.

No matter how spectacular the scenery, meals around the campfire are often the highlight of the camper's day.

Modern camp stoves and specialized cookware make the cook's job easier, but nothing beats the taste and appeal of a meal cooked over the campfire. Success at campfire cooking will encourage you to go camping more often.

Caution and Respect

In days gone by, cooking over an open fire could be taken for granted. Today, with concerns about air quality, restricted areas for camping and dwindling firewood stocks in many campgrounds, the freedom to cook over an open fire is a privilege which requires the utmost in caution and respect. Here are a few important considerations:

Wood - -Campfire cooking requires a clean-burning, hot fire. This is only achieved with dry, seasoned wood. Stripping trees of green wood is fruitless - your fire will be smoky, will burn poorly and create unnecessary pollution. If dry wood is not available, it will need to be packed in. Many public campgrounds supply firewood - call ahead to see what's available.

Fire location - .Pay close attention to the ground before preparing any fire. In circumstances where building your fire on a rock is not possible, one should ensure that the base of the fire is on bare mineral soil.

A fire that is burning all evening has lots of time to burn through the organic layer of the soil and will not be put out with a simple bucket of water. Use previously established fire pits if available, to avoid scarring the area with more fire pits.

Wind - .Any medium to strong wind is hazardous. The danger of sparks getting away can ignite a forest fire. Also, the coals will reduce more quickly and provide much less cooking time. If substantial wind shelter is unavailable, any outdoor fire is out of the question.

How to Build a Campfire for Cooking
The object is to have all the wood turn into coals at the same time. This gives an even fire with no flames reaching up to burn your food or blacken your cookware. It also yields the longest cooking time from the coals.

Prepare the site
- Select a fire site at least 8' from bushes or any combustibles. Be sure no tree branches overhang the site.
- Make a U-shaped perimeter using large rocks or green logs. If using logs, they'll need to be wet down from time to time. If breezy, have back of firepit face the wind.
- Put a large flat rock at the rear of the firepit to act as a chimney. The "chimney rock" will help direct the smoke up and away.

Lay the kindling
- Fill the fire area with crumpled paper or tinder.
- Lay kindling over paper in layers, alternating direction with each layer. Use thin splits of wood or small dead branches. Do not put kindling down "teepee style". The whole fire area should be covered with the kindling stack.
- Set a bucket of water near the fire area. Light the paper to start your fire.

Build the fire, grade the coals
- When kindling is ablaze, add firewood. The wood should be all the same size, as much as possible. Use hardwood or hardwood branches if available. Distribute wood evenly over fire bed.
- As soon as the last flames die down leaving mostly white coals, use a stick to push the coals into a higher level at the back end and lower level at the front. This will give you the equivalent of 'Hi', 'Med' and 'Lo' cook settings. Or, level the coals to your preference.

To cook, set the grill on rocks or wetted green logs. Put food directly on grill or in cookware and prepare your meal. If cooking directly on the grill, a small spray bottle or squirt gun is handy for shooting down any rogue flames, usually caused by food drippings.
As the fire diminishes, bank the coals to get the most heat from them.

After cooking, add wood for your evening campfire. Before retiring, extinguish thoroughly and soak with water. Turn rocks in on fire bed. It will be easy to reassemble the next day if required.

Camping Tips and Etiquette

Its that time of the year again,where people are going to spend some time in the Great Outdoors to go camping.

Here are some helpful tips and information so that you will be well prepared for your camping trip. Please print them out and keep them handy so that your next camping trip will be safe and a good time for all.

Plan your trip so that you arrive at your actual campsite with enough daylight left to check over the entire campsite and to set-up camp.

Be sure to check the site thoroughly for glass, sharp objects, branches that could fall or are hung low.

Check the contour of the land and look for potential trouble due to rain. Check for areas that could flood or become extremely muddy and cause problems.

Look for level with enough room to spread out all your camping gear.

Look for a site that has trees or shrubs on the side of the prevailing winds. This will help block the wind if it should gust or get quite strong.

Check for potential hazards at the campsite such as: poison ivy, bees, ants, sharp objects and other dangerous areas.

Fire is of prime concern at the campsite. Be sure you have an area for a fire that cannot spread laterally or vertically. When ever a fire is lit at the campsite be sure that someone is assigned to watch it at all times. Keep water nearby for emergencies. Be sure that when you put the fire out you use water and soil and be certain that the fire is completely out, cool to the touch. Embers buried within the pile of ashes have a tendency to reignite later.

Keep your campsite fires to an absolute minimum at all times.

Dispose of all trash properly in the proper recycling bins if available.

Return the campsite to its original condition for the next camper if you disturb it in any way.

Don't forget your good recycling habits on vacation. They are just as important camping as they are at home!

Safe Boating Is A Must Do For Everyone

from the National Safe Boating Council
Boat Responsibly and Wear It!
The National Safe Boating Council would like to remind you to “Boat Responsibly and Wear It!” “Boat
Responsibly” by being alert and careful when taking out your boat, making sure you are prepared and always
remember to “Wear It”! Wear your life jacket every time you are on the water. An accident can happen very
quickly and unexpectedly so you must be geared up in order to help yourself and your passengers on board.
According to the most recent U.S. Coast Guard statistics, over two-thirds of fatal accident victims drowned.
Out of those who drowned, approximately 90% were not wearing a life jacket. There are so many different types of life
jackets today that are smaller and more comfortable; it’s much easier to “Wear It!” at all times. Life jackets are part of the
gear stylish and knowledgeable boaters wear. Be a role model! Develop the Life Jacket habit!
Know the Navigation Rules (Nautical Rules of the Road)
Knowing the nautical rules of the road is important for all boaters. Knowing what to do when meeting, crossing or over taking
another boat can prevent costly damage to your boat, personal injury or even loss of life. Whenever you believe there is a
threat of collision you should slow down, stop or steer away from the situation in question. Maintaining a proper lookout and
a safe speed are all a part of the navigation rules and should be an important part of boat operation.
Stay Sober While Boating
It’s dangerous to operate a boat when drinking. Operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs is
illegal in all states and is a violation of Federal law. An operator with a blood alcohol content about .08
(equivalent to consuming five beers in one hour for the average 180-lb. male) – is ten times more likely to die
in a boating accident than an operator with zero blood alcohol level.
Be Aware of Carbon Monoxide
All boat engines produce Carbon Monoxide (CO)—an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas that can kill you in a
matter of minutes. Boaters are killed every year because of improper cabin ventilation, poorly maintained equipment,
and careless behavior. You do not have to be inside the boat to be at risk. Boaters have died from exposure on
the swim platforms of their boats and in other areas where CO exhaust may accumulate or be emitted. Be
aware of the early symptoms (irritated eyes, headache, nausea, weakness, and dizziness). Use CO detectors on
your boat and stay off the swim platform when the engine (or generators) are running.
Take a Safe Boating Course
Seventy percent of recreational boating accidents are caused by operator factors —such as failure to pay
attention, carelessness, recklessness, inexperience, excessive speed, and failure to watch for hazards.
Boating safety courses are available, inexpensive, and quick—a great way for you to learn safety and the
rules of the road.
Get Your Boat Checked
The Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadrons® offer a free Vessel Safety Check (VSC). Contact for information.
For more information on boating safety, please visit the National Safe Boating Council at The National Safe Boating Council wishes you safe and
enjoyable boating and reminds you to “Boat Responsibly and Wear It

Great Spring Crappy Fishing Techniques

You may have heard that spring crappie fishing is one of the easiest types of fishing you can ever do. However, in reality it can be rather frustrating if you don't know a few good techniques that can help you continue catching crappie after the initial spawning days are over. The first thing that you need to do is understand that this is a busy time for crappie and so they are moving around a lot. Therefore, you have to be willing to move around as well.

The fish will be in the deeper water at the start of this season and they will slowly begin to work their way to the more shallow water as spring begins to set in and the water starts to warm up. They are in search of places to spawn. When summer starts they will be headed back out to the deeper water. Knowing this information will help you figure out where the best places to fish for crappie will be.

When the weather conditions are not very favorable for the crappie you need to make it easy for them to catch the bait you are presenting to them. An example of this time would be early spring when it has been warm for a few days and then a sudden cold front moves in. This will startle the fish and they will try to return to the deeper water for comfort. It will also make them slower to bite. Therefore, if you use a technique that makes it easy for them to catch the bait during this confusing time you will catch more crappie.

Fishing Techniques

One technique that seems to work really good during this time of year is called "bumping bottom" and you use a dropper rig to accomplish this technique. The way it works is by presenting the minnow to the crappie vertically with a dropper rig. Of course, to do this type of fishing you need to know where the fish are hiding out in the deep water. They will be found in ledges, rocks, stumps and similar areas.

You must present the bait by bumping it on the bottom in these locations or allowing it to hover around the openings. The best method to use is a 1/2 ounce bell sinker tied to the end of the swivel to prevent the line from twisting and a minnow will work great for the bait. It does require calm weather conditions to perform this technique or the line will be moving too fast for you to have any success.

Another technique that will require practice is leaning the difference between the fish biting and the bait brushing up against something. The reason this is so difficult is because the crappie has such a soft bite. You may get a little frustrated at first but remember with time and practice you will learn the difference.

Trolling is another crappie technique that you will find very useful for spring crappie fishing. With this technique you will align several rods in a row with the same type of line and bait on each one. Be consistent and patient and you can catch a lot of fish with this method. However, you do need to check the regulations for trolling for each lake before going out because the rules for each one may vary.

A technique that combines trolling and "bumping bottom" together is called "pushing" and it is good for catching spring crappie when they are located in the shallow water. It is a very simple technique that is accomplished by using live bait. All you need to get started are a few rods with lightweight reels positioned off the edge of the boat. Add a bell sinker and a couple hooks about a foot apart and you are ready to start fishing.

It is the best method found to get the bait in positions where the biggest fish can get to it. It allows you to put the bait right where you want it and keep it there until the crappie become interested. Remember, you must always move very slowly to use this technique correctly or you will not get the response you are hoping for.

Fishing Humor

One morning the husband returns after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap. Although not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat out. She motors out a short distance, anchors, and reads her book.

Along comes a Game Warden in his boat. He pulls up alongside the woman and says, "Good morning, Ma'am. What are you doing?"

"Reading a book," she replies. "Isn't that obvious?"

"You're in a Restricted Fishing Area," he informs her.

"I'm sorry, officer, but I'm not fishing. I'm reading."

"Yes, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment. I'll have to take you in and write you up."

"If you do that, I'll have to charge you with sexual assault," says the woman.

"But I haven't even touched you," says the game warden.

"That's true, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment."

"Have a nice day ma'am," and he left.

Spring Time Morsels, I mean Morels

May is morel madness month
This is the season when animals, crazed with mating fever, blunder onto highways, oblivious of oncoming traffic. Perhaps not coincidentally, this is also morel mushroom season, when otherwise rational individuals abandon their families or call in sick from work to pursue an illusive fungus that is a second cousin to athlete's foot. Some say morels are good to eat. Walnuts are also good to eat. But, in Missouri, most walnuts that are not run over by lawn mowers or raked into trashcans are left for the squirrels.The morel, like Beluga caviar, is considered an expensive delicacy for those with the refined taste to appreciate it. There might be annual Beluga festivals if the stuff could be harvested in your own back yard, without having to personally remove it from a large toothy fish. But it's not as if hunting mushrooms is not dangerous. The chance that you might get sick or die from eating the wrong kind of mushroom is part of the attraction. Lots of people have died from eating mushrooms, including the Roman emperor Claudius, who should have known better than to eat his wife's cooking in the first place. Mushrooms are like spiders. They evoke images of death and decay. They thrive in dark secretive rotting places that make the average person shudder.

Maybe more people would eat spiders, if they weren't so common. Morels sell for about $20 a pound. If you leave them sitting on the kitchen counter for two days, they melt into a festering ooze you couldn't pay somebody $20 to scoop into the trash. The perishable nature of morels contributes to their reputation as a dainty treat for sophisticated palettes. The state of Michigan is mad about mushrooms, holding an annual National Mushroom Festival every May. In 1984, 17,000 people attended the festival and over a half million participated in the mushroom hunt that month. Paris has hundreds of miles of mushroom beds in caves beneath the city. Chester County, Pennsylvania produces half the US production of mushrooms. There, pickers wear miner's hats with lamps to harvest the precious crop.

A true mushroomer has a little larceny in his heart. He wants something rare and expensive - and he wants it for free. The best place to hunt morels is on someone else's property. If you're not trespassing, you don't get the genuine morel experience.

It takes a special kind of person to hunt morels. If you're wondering if you have what it takes, the following test might help you decide: You have been hunting unsuccessfully for morels for hours when suddenly, you trip over a wet log and break your leg and, simultaneously, discover a huge patch of yellow morels. When you hear a distant hiker walking by, you... (a) call for help (b) pick all the mushrooms in sight before calling for help or (c) pick all the mushrooms in sight. Then, drag yourself back to your car and set your broken leg yourself because the doctor might horn in on your morels while you're in traction.

If you did not answer (c), chances are, you probably also think $20 a pound is a lot to pay for mushrooms.

Missouri Spring Turkey Season 2008

Regular Spring Turkey Hunting Season Dates: April 21–May 11, 2008
Shooting Hours: 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1 p.m. Central Daylight-Saving Time
Valid Permits: Resident or Nonresident Spring Turkey Hunting Permit, Resident or Nonresident Landowner Spring Turkey Hunting Permit, Youth Deer & Turkey Hunting Permit
Permit Requirements: Hunters born on or after Jan. 1, 1967, must be hunter education certified to purchase a Resident
or Nonresident Spring Turkey Hunting
Season Limit: Two male turkeys or turkeys
with visible beard may be taken during
the season, with the following restrictions:
▶ You may only take one turkey during the first week from April 21–27.
▶ If you do not take one during the
first week, then you may take two during the second or third week from April 28–May 11, but you may not take them both on the same day.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Spring Big Bass Tips

I suppose the bass have finally figured out that spring is here and it is time to go shallow. It seems like we humans

have been experiencing spring-like conditions for several weeks, but the bass have been waiting, and now is the time to

get out there and catch 'em. The spawn is to bass fishermen/women what the rut is to deer hunters. It is the time of year

the big 'uns become more vulnerable than any other time of the year.

High quality sunglasses, like the Solar Bat's, are a must when bed fishing. They help you see through the water's glare

enabling you to spot bass on their spawning nest. I love to sight fish for bass more than any other type of fishing.

Just recently me and a friend went down to Truman lake (exactlocation not disclosed)and we notice in the shallows the big

female bass were on their nests.I love to find them when they are on the nest,because site fishing is fantastic and loads

of fun.

At this point, we pitched lizards and small worms onto the nest. Being careful not the spook the fish, we would actually

pitch past the nest and drag the Kalin's watermelon lizard or Western worm in green back onto the nest in front of the

fish. Once the bait was on the nest, we shook the line to make the bait move a little and aggravate the bass to the point

that they wanted it off of the nest. They would pick it up in their mouth to move it and BOOM, we'd set the hook and the

rest is in the pictures. We even caught the same bass, two different times. I caught it first and 20 minutes later my

fishing buddy,caught it off of the same nest. I like the Kalin's worms and lizards because they are packed with salt,

which the bass find irresistible. Once they bite, they hold on longer than with other plastic baits I've used.

Proper rod, reel and line selection is also important when bed fishing. The clarity of the water you are fishing will

greatly dictate the size line you need to use. Bedding fish are spooky and in clear water, the chances of hooking up with

these fish are less than when they are in murkier water. Proper gear selection is important.When bed fishing, it is

imperative that your casting be on target to increase your chances of hooking up with the bass.

A good medium-heavy to heavy action rod is a good choice.

If sight fishing is not for you, try chunking spinnerbaits along the bank. Cover lots of water, and you will probably

catch fish. I like bright colors in the spring. Look for 60-68 degree water and watch for movement along the shoreline or

for the bass themselves.

If you want to fish the spawn, but don't own a boat, don't know where to go or what to do, contact a guide. They are there

to help you catch fish and learn the sport. They can be a great benefit to you. I highly recommend a guide for a good day

on the water.

This is the time of year for you to do your thing, if your thing is catching bass Find or make time to get out on the

water and look for spawning bass. Until next time, enjoy the Great Outdoors!

If you only could use just one lure, what would it be?

What lure would you pick if you just had one to choose from.

With ever fisherman I know, going to your tackle store is like turning your wife loose in a shoe store with the credit card. Nothing against the Ladies. We look for that magic bait every time we watch a fishing show, read and article or visit the tackle store. With all the new technology in colors and finishes it is hard not to try any of the new lures.

First lets look at something. What is your favorite go to bait when all else has failed you. You have one lure in your box that you pull out when the times are the toughest. If this lure is so great why do we have all the others in our box. I will give you my answer and this may help you. JUST BECAUSE.

Yes! There are times the fish are on the bottom feeding and you need a bottom bumping bait. Then there are times you need a swimming bait for the suspended fish, and the times the fish are feeding on top and a top water is great.

Now! Is your favorite lure able to cover all of the above situations? There are three lures I would have a hard time choosing from. The Plastic worm, Jig, and Spinner bait. All three of these baits can cover all the fishing problems.

The Plastic worm can be fished Texas rigged, Carolina rigged, Drop shot, wacky worm, and weightless. This bait now covers all the above situations.

The Jig may not cover all the above but almost. You can swim the bait as you would a spinner bait or hop it along the bottom.

The spinner bait can be slow rolled out in deep water or shallow. Reeled very fast and worked on top as a top water, and a medium retrieve to cover suspended fish. The biggest key is working the bait to match the conditions. Many years ago I took everything out of my boat but spinner baits. I had colored blades, silver, gold, and every style you could find. I fished this bait for a full year. I found that a three eights ounce spinner bait with a gold Colorado small blade and a larger silver willow leaf blade and a black and yellow skirt would catch fish on most of the lakes I fished year round. The presentation was the key. The black and blue jig in three eights ounce with the same color trailer has been fished all across the USA. Here on Lake of the Ozarks this color is widely used year round. When the grass was thick the jig was the bait to pitch or flip into the holes. The stumps and standing timber is another key places for this bait.

Of all the bait’s the plastic worm has had more articles written about it than any bait.

I am going to hedge a little. The Plastic worm is my choice over all the other baits.

I will tell you about it and then you choose. I have fished the Plastic worm since I was thirteen years old. This bait was in every tackle box in the country.

As this is my choice I will tell you why. The rig can consist of pegging the weight and pitching or flipping it around timber and grass. Carolina rigging which is a number one fish catching tactic. This is my go to style when all else fails. This is my rig in the spring with a three sixteenth ounce weight pegged about eight inches up the line with a lizard or French fry as bait. The wacky worm is also my spring bait when the fish are skittish from cold fronts or boat traffic. Weightless Texas style as a floating worm is another spring bait. But all of the worm styles will cover all of the seasons. The worm is probably the most versatile bait in all the baits I have mentioned. So! Which is your choice? While you decide I need to get to the tackle store they have a big “SALE “going on. See you all on the lake! Enjoy the Great Outdoors!

Spring Fishing Tips


Spring, the time of year that gets all anglers out of their cabin fever doldrums. Although I’ve been on the water for a few months already, the spring is a welcomed season that brings with it predictable changes in bass and the weather. In spring, water temperature is the key. Find the warmest water and you will find the most active bass. Make a few runs to specific areas on your lake to do some temperature readings. Start with a measurement at any inflow or feeder creek. These can bring in warm water during the spring and cool water when the lake water is warm. These creeks are really good places to check after a few days of warm spring rain. The temperatures here remain fairly constant. Since waters are usually at their highest levels in spring, check around newly flooded areas in extremely shallow water. If these areas are protected from the wind but offer some good sunlight, this is a surefire area. The spring can be broken down into several mini periods.

Pre spawn

Spring brings gradually warming water and air temperatures and longer periods of daylight. With this, bass begin to move up towards shallower areas. Bass use migration routes to slowly emerge from their cold water winter haunts. The 55 degree temperature is the magic temperature for me. This indicates that bass movement is now getting serious as fish are waiting for a combination of moon phase and warmer water to get them going. This doesn’t necessarily occur in one day though. Bass congregate on deeper points while making their way to the shallows. Here they bunch up. The bass may stage or hold on these points for a while before entering the shallows. They will eat and prepare for their spawning rituals while waiting for the temperatures to heat up the shallows. As the water gets warmer and bass get more daring, they spend more time running into and out of the shallows foraging. Targeting areas that have quick access to deep and shallow water are good points for you to start during this time frame. Look for areas that get the most sun as these will heat up faster and encourage accelerated spawning when other locations of the lake will be lagging behind. This also helps you extend your spring season by targeting populations of fish that are in different stages. If you are keying in on staging bass, take note that they are most often located in very close proximity to the shallow waters where they will spawn.

Locating staging bass can mean you will catch some of the biggest fish of the year. I use a slow to mid speed bait to get bites. I often start off split shotting a lizard across a staging point. I can alternate my retrieve and crawl it slowly if necessary. If I feel the fish want a dead slow presentation, I go to a jig n pig or a 4” tube. In the case that the bass want something a little faster, I break out a 4.5” hard jerk bait that I can suspend right on top of them. I am targeting fish in 8 to 12 feet of water here. These fish are just about ready to spawn, they are just waiting for the final sign. They will still eat at this time so you can bet they are a bit easier to catch once located. Keep these areas in mind and take note of their locations because these bass will use them in the post spawn too.

This is the time of year that I break out my thermometer and actively take readings. The change of only a few degrees can mean that you will find active fish or that the fish you caught yesterday moved. During this period most of the lake will be in the mid to high 50’s. A little scouting might find water in the low 60’s which will definitely produce active fish. Bass are creatures of habit and will use the same spawning and staging areas year after year.

I mentioned earlier that most bass are waiting to move up and spawn. These fish are waiting for something to trigger that phase. Usually the full moon is what gets bass spawning in full swing. I use the lunar tables to point out when the full moon will occur in the warm parts of spring. When I determine the moon is close to being full, I start fishing more methodical to catch these bigger pre spawn fish five days prior and right up until the full moon.

The Spawn

When the temperature reaches about 62 degrees, the big female bass move in and set their sights on bedding. I target areas that have hard bottom and good sunlight penetration. If the area offers protection from gusty winds, it is even better. These spots will warm up faster and hold fish longer during the spawn. Not all bass move up at the same time. Bass spawn in waves that likely are dictated by moon phase. This ensures that a cold front will not take out a whole year class of fish. It is nature’s way of guaranteeing spawning success.

Bass on the beds are notorious for nipping short on many baits. I do not think eating is very important to them during this time. Defending their nest is the big priority in the spring. Rarely will they just take a bait in. They may simply pick up a worm by the tip of the tail and drag it off of the bed out of harms way. During this time bass have to be annoyed into striking baits. Repeated casts to the bed eventually take their toll and the fish will lash out in anger and blast a bait. Remember, the bass can suck in and spit out in lightning quickness. You must be sharp and in tune with your bait.

Forget what you’ve been told about salamanders and bass eggs. I don’t think that salamanders are natural enemies to bass. The real fact is that the salamanders are very plentiful in the shallows due to spawning of their own and the increase of contact between the two species leads to a foraging opportunity that bass do not have at any other time of the year.

I’m not much of a bed fisherman. I don’t like to bother these creatures when they are doing their most important function in life. If you choose to molest them when they are bedding, do so with minimal handling and absolutely release any fish you may catch. Give these guys a little respect and let them do their thing. It will only reward you with good fishing for years to come.

If I am looking to catch a spawning fish, I opt for only a couple of baits. The number one bait for me is a small 1/16oz hair jig. I like either a float and fly jig or a rabbit hair jig. This bait is so small that when a bass sucks it in, it usually gets all of the bait in its mouth. I use only jigs with needle sharp points so a quick pop of the wrist is all it takes to set. White is my favorite color at this time. This is because I can see it. When I can’t see it, it is because a bass has it in its mouth. If I sense that a bass wants nothing to do with my jig, I’ll drop the jig on the fish, forcing it to move. I’ll do this a few times until it gets really irritated. This will cause the fish to bite. Take note, I am not attempting to foul hook the fish, I just want to annoy it. I will also use small tubes, a small jig n pig and the SS worm by Green Eyes Worm Works.

Sight Fishing

Perhaps I get no greater challenge than the one presented to me as I stalk fish I can see. It can be rewarding and frustrating at the same time. Here I must do everything right, not only spot the bass, but make sure I use a stealthy approach so that fish does not see me and spook. Next I must present the bait in a flawless manner to a fish I’m not even sure wants to eat. There are so many variables to sight fishing.

Sight fishing generally applies to clear water but as long as I can see a fish, the water color isn’t important to me. I grew up fishing gin clear waters for smallmouth bass and crystal clear ponds for largemouth bass. Both offered me excellent sight fishing opportunities. I learned at a very early age that I must dress and move with stealth in mind. I concentrated on this so much that it has become natural to me. It is a habit now.

This type of fishing is by no means bed fishing. Spring is a good time to sight fish because fish are found throughout the shallows but I do not purposely target bedding fish. There are plenty of other fish to attempt to catch at this time.

A good pair of polarized sun glasses is important to success. You can get some very good polarized glasses from Hobie or Solar Bat. These will help you see fish by reducing the glare as you looking into the water. They block UV rays and protect your eyes. If nothing else, glasses are good eye protection. Sight fishing is a light tackle tactic. You really must consider your gear so you do not give your position away or spook fish. Thinner line and smaller baits are mandatory. Slowly scan the area for any strange shadows or movements.

Shallow Water Sight Fishing Baits

1/16oz Micro Munch Jig 2/0 Mustad Black Nickel needlepoint hook
Salty Stinker SS worm Hand poured salted scented stick bait
2 ?” Wicked Tube Mini 1/16oz Gamakatsu tube head, small fat tube
1/16oz Craft hair or rabbit hair jig Gamakatsu hook-White
Post Spawn

Here is a time of spring where many anglers become frustrated and confused. After experiencing some of the best angling of the year, all of a sudden the bass seem to shut totally down. One of the signs I look for is the disappearance of the big female bass from the shallows. Instead, you will see tons of fry skittering on the surface and usually a smaller male bass left to guard them. This male bass is extremely aggressive and will hit virtually any lure that threatens his brood. The post spawn occurs when the water temperature rises about 70 degrees. There will be a few stragglers but for the most part, most of the bass have done what nature intended them to and have left the area.

The larger females move back out to the sanctuary of their staging areas to recuperate from the rigors of the spawn. They may head for deeper water and hold there for a week or more. One thing I should mention is that these fish seem to be scattered and not as concentrated as in pre spawn. The action is definitely slower during this period. I feel that if you can target the weed lines around those staging areas, you have a good shot at catching post spawn bass.

Spring Bass Movements

Below 45 degrees Bass are in their winter holding locations. Generally in 20 to 25 feet on northern lakes.

45 to 55 degrees Bass leave their winter holding areas and move up migration routes. They will stop and hold on points and other areas that feature access to both deep and shallow water. 55 to 60 degrees During this period, the initial phase of bass moved in to spawn. Not all of the fish move in though. Many fish are staging on points.

60 to 70 degrees This period sees the most activity as far as bass movement is concerned. Large numbers of fish are moving to or leaving the area.

Over 70 degrees The female bass are done spawning now and move back out to the staging areas to recuperate.