When it comes to bass fishing their are two ways to go about catching them. You can either fish really slow or fish really fast. When you study the top pros in the country they usually like to fish one way or the other. There are hardly no in betweens when it comes to bass fishing. I like to power fish and one thing I’ve started to notice is that on the Ozarks not a whole lot of anglers like to apply power techniques. Most of the time when I see people fishing they are dragging some sort of plastic bait or a jig across the bottom. Well let me just say you don’t have to drag a shakeyhead or a jig to be successful. There are a couple of power techniques that I have seen catch fish like crazy on the Ozarks.
The Ozarks are known for being great cold water jerkbait lakes but on a lot of them the jerkbait will put fish in your boat year round. The key is speeding up the retrieve. I got on an awesome jerkbait bite last year on Lake Ouachita in a college tournament fishing really fast. I was keying in on post spawn fish and ripping the bait a couple of feet at a time with each snap of the rod. The water was crystal clear and all the flash that was being given off from my bait along with the zig zagging action triggered a lot of fish into striking. While a lot of my competitors were fishing really slow with shakeyheads and carolina rigs I was point hopping on the entire lake. Fishing fast allowed me to cover a lot more water and come into contact with a lot more fish. Capitalizing on what I call the rip technique resulted in me catching the two biggest bass of the tournament and winning 5,000 dollars! As we get closer to the heat of the summer another place to give the jerkbait a try is on the marina breaker walls. The waves pound the breakers and on a lot of these lakes big spotted bass will move up to feed even during the heat of the day. A well placed cast with a rip bait like the ima flit 120 down the side of one of these breakers can result in some great action.
Along with ripping jerkbaits another bait you have to try is the buzzbait. The bass of the Ozarks love to eat a buzzbait or any topwater for that matter. Buzzbaits really start to work when the water starts to bump the 60 degree mark in the spring time. A lot of people like to throw them during the early morning hours but most of the time it can be an all day bite. It’s funny when the sun comes up and anglers think that they have to put the buzzbait down. You would be surprised at the number of big fish I’ve been catching this year throwing it in the middle of the day. The key to fishing a topwater all day is learning how to extend the bite. You can extend the topwater bite by looking for shady banks or areas that don’t get direct sunlight. There are even times though like when fish hit the beds that the sun can be just beating down on a bank and they will still smash a buzzbait. One of my favorite things to do is take a buzzbait and throw it behind dock cables on Lake of the Ozarks. Most of your weekend anglers don’t try the technique because it takes a lot of concentration to get your bait up under the walkways. The water might be clear but the bass will sit shallow in the shade that a walkway provides. Buzzbaits are such a great bait for catching above average bass that you will not want to leave them at home.
When it comes to fishing mainlake points a lot of people go to the football jig, carolina rig, or a dropshot. While these presentations can be effective don’t count out a deep running crankbait. All too often the crankbait doesn’t get thrown enough because people feel like the water is too clear for it to be effective. Most people like to fish slow with jigs and plastics because that is what everyone has been told about fishing the Ozarks. A lot of bass rarely see a deep diving crankbait come burning through their underwater layer and there is nothing like a crankbait to trigger some big reaction strikes. The great thing about a crankbait is that you can catch the fish a whole lot faster and you can catch bigger fish. When it comes to cranking the clearer the water the faster the retrieve. We’ve all witnessed what Kevin VanDam can do with a crankbait and the same holds true for these clearOzark lakes. Why would anybody want to fish slow when you can fish fast?
One last power method that can put the smack down on clear water bass is stroking a jig. Stroking a jig is not a finesse technique. The technique calls for ripping a 3/4 oz to 1 oz football jig violently up off the bottom as much as 10 to 12 feet. When the jig falls it triggers reaction strikes. We are entering one of the best times of the year for this technique to pay off. When everyone else is crawling their jig at a snails pace you can get out on some mainlake points and gravel bars and put them in the boat. It’s awesome when you get on that school of post spawners and rope them in.The fishing is usually fast and furious.
These are some of the power techniques that I have found to work on these so called finesse waters. Just because you come to the Ozarks doesn’t mean you have to pick up some light line and your wimpy spinning rod. Bring the heavy tackle and try these techniques and you can beat the worm draggers!