4 min to read

Flip Docks in May for Lake of the Ozarks Bass, by John Neporadny


JohnNHere at Felixfishing.com we are honored and privileged to have the great writer and outdoorsman John Neporadny joining us. Mr. Neporadny is a freelance writer and has been published in some of the largest fishing publications in the country. You can find many of his articles in Bassmaster Magazine, In-Fisherman, and Field and Stream, to name a few.

He has also written two books on fishing. “The Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Guide” and “101 Bass Fishing Tips” both can be purchase on his website at www.jnoutdoors.com.


Here is his first installment:


Flip Docks in May for Lake of the Ozarks Bass

by John Neporadny Jr.

Even though bass will be in different stages of  spawning  during
May on the Lake of the Ozarks, one pattern remains consistent throughout
the month.

Harold Stark, a tournament competitor from Eldon,
Mo., can catch bass in three stages of the spawn (pre-spawn, spawn
and post-spawn) all at one time by flipping jigs behind boat docks
on the lower end of the lake.  Since the water temperature runs from
59 degrees at the beginning of the month to 75 degrees by the end
of May, the flipping pattern produces best because the fish will stay
behind the docks the entire month.

Stark prefers fishing from the dam area to the  35-mile marker of
the Osage arm since this area contains more boat docks.  “There are
also so many bigger coves in that area and they all have more cuts
to fish.”   The ideal locations to try are behind docks in small indentations
or cuts in the banks of bigger coves.  The  cuts should have a bank
consisting of both pea gravel and chunk rock. “Cuts that sit in closer
to the main part of the cove (near deep water) are best,” says Stark.

This pattern produces best in stained water with the lake  level at
or above normal stage. The higher the lake level, the move cover available
for bass behind the docks, Stark says. He usually finds fish 2 to
5 feet deep near any available cover. The most appealing docks to
bass contain the most junk in the rear section of the floating structure.
“You’re fishing the ramps, the cables and any brush that might be
behind the dock then,”  Stark says. Even the cables dangling in the
water will hold fish during this time.

When Stark finds an ideal dock, he works it deliberately and thoroughly.
He skips past the front end and sides of the dock and concentrates
his efforts behind the cables. “If you think a fish is in a spot,
flip to it more than once,” Stark advises, “Generally though at that
time of year, when you flip in and that fish is there, it usually
bites right away.” When he finishes behind one side, he will  move
around the dock and work the other backside.

His favorite lure to flip is a 5/16- to 9/16-ounce  jig with
a plastic chunk. He prefers a brown jig with a black and red
chunk. He also always adds a fish attractant to his jig-and-chunk combo.
Stark uses 14- to 25-poundtest line, depending on the water clarity. In clear water,he selects lighter line and switches to the heavier monofilament in darker water.

paa_table13_w3_1252Flipping works better than pitching in this situation. “You want to get in there just as quiet as you can,” Stark says.  “You can pitch it, but if you pitch too far back and you hook one, then you have to get him out from behind those cables. If you’re too far away then
you’re not going to get him out.”

After flipping his lure to a target, Stark quickly retrieves the jig.

“Put it in there, jig it a couple of times, then move it on out.”
He says the fish are aggressive enough during that time of year that
they will usually hit the lure on the initial fall.

The flipping pattern produces best under bright skies when the fish
hold tighter to the cover behind the docks. During  cloud cover the
bass will  roam all over the back of the dock. Stark says the fish
will hit more aggressively but you just have to scatter your flips
to more areas behind the dock.

While flipping behind docks produces bigger fish,  keeper-size bass
will fall for tube baits thrown on a 1/16-ounce jighead with spinning
tackle. Another successful pattern for getting a limit in a hurry
is to throw a buzz bait. Stark suggests keeping your boat parallel
to the bank and the trolling motor constantly running while you work
the buzz bait along the whole bank of a cove. An effective pre- and
post-spawn pattern during this time is throwing a Carolina-rigged
plastic lizard along pea-gravel secondary points and channel banks
in coves.

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 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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