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Jigs Mean Bigger Lake of the Ozarks Bass by John Neporadny Jr.

Category : BASS FISHING ARTICLES

Jigs Mean Bigger Lake of the Ozarks Bass

by John  Neporadny Jr.

Flashy new lures come and
go each year,  while an  old  reliable continues
to hold a special place in the tackleboxes
of both  tournament anglers and weekend fishermen at Lake of the Ozarks.
Some  lure innovations catch more fishermen than they
do fish, but veteran anglers know that the trusty jig-and-chunk combination
consistently catches bigger bass at the lake, especially during October and
November when bass are feeding heavily  in preparation for winter.

The jig and its chunk trailer have survived the test of time because
of its versatility and big-bass appeal.  You can bounce the lure along
the bottom, swim it at a certain depth for suspended bass or even
skip it across the surface as a topwater bait. One angler who competes in
tournaments at the Lake of the Ozarks and frequently catches heavyweight
bass on the jig-and-chunk combination is Marty McGuire, owner of Marty’s Marine in Osage Beach, MO.
“The jig and frog is probably the number
one bait as far as catching big fish and catching numbers of fish
year round,” McGuire says.

While many anglers  use a jig as a crawfish imitator, McGuire
selects the lure  for its impersonation of a baitfish.  Since he’s
keying on bass suspended under boat docks, McGuire wants a lure that
best simulates a  shad swimming just below the surface.  A topwater
plug or buzz bait  also works in this situation, but   the biggest
bass seem reluctant to come out from under the security of the dock
to hit something on the surface. “That jig is already right in front
of their faces,” McGuire says. “All they have to do is dart out  and
they have it.”

Most of the time, McGuire swims his jig and chunk along main
lake docks sitting over deep water.  “It really doesn’t seem to matter
how deep the water  is,” he says.   “I have caught fish   in 75 feet
of water out on the corner of a boat dock and that fish was lying
right underneath  the dock foam about 6 inches deep.”

Bigger docks that offer plenty of shade  attract the most bass. Normally
in the fall, the water is clear in the areas McGuire fishes, so he
tries to find docks that have the right combination of shade and wind.
“You have to do some running because these  docks aren’t all piled
up together,” McGuire says.  “A lot of times I will burn quite a bit
of fuel running up and down the lake looking for these docks because
the wind doesn’t blow in the same direction on every part of a lake.”
When fishing the largest  docks, McGuire pitches his jig in  the last
couple of wells on the windy or shady side of the boat house.

During this time of year bass usually suspend under the dock’s
foam and dart straight out to hit the jig and chunk. McGuire says he
has never  caught any bass coming up on his jig, so he tries to keep
the lure as close as possible to the dock’s foam. “Take the jig and
pitch it up in the wells on the shady or windy sides and let the jig
sink 2 or 3 inches,” McGuire advises.  “Then start  pumping  or reeling
it right back underneath  the foam. When it gets to the corner of
the dock,  let it fall and watch  the lure because on  90 percent
of your strikes you will see the fish come out  and hit it.”  Most
of the time McGuire just steadily cranks the jig and chunk along next
to the foam and  lets it drop  at the corner of the structure before
reeling it in for another pitch. This technique allows him to cover
a lot of water with a lure normally used for a slower presentation.

A 3/8- to 1/2-ounce flipping-style jig combined with a medium-size
chunk has the right buoyancy for McGuire’s  swimming technique.
He prefers the flipping-style jigs because they are equipped with
rattles and  larger  hooks.  A white jig with a white  chunk best
imitates a shad in  the fall. McGuire uses a black-and-blue color
combination for his jig and  chunk most of the time.

While new-fangled lures come and go, anglers keep finding creative
ways to use  the old reliable jig and its chunk trailer.  And even
though  big bass at Lake of the Ozarks have seen it countless times, the jig-and-chunk
continues to trick them over the years.

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.