UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Norman

Soggy start

Soggy start
Stren Central Division anglers line up for the day one launch.

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. - If anyone fishing the Stren Series Central Division tournament on Lake of the Ozarks woke up late and forgot his morning shower, don't worry - Mother Nature has you covered.

A peppy wind had the checkout boat's American flag standing stiff, and a light scattering of raindrops foretold the stormy conditions sweeping across the region. Light rain will likely fall through late morning with thunderstorms in the afternoon.

Despite Thursday's weather, anglers should find cooperative fish around the lake's numerous boat docks, as well as over offshore rocks and brush piles. Chevy pro Dion Hibdon, who won last year's Stren event on Lake of the Ozarks, said he's optimistic about the pattern he's on, as well as a banner dayMany anglers like Derek Brown of Osage Beach, Mo. donned face masks and helmets for long runs in the rain. turned in by BP pro Guido Hibdon.

"Two days ago, Dad stomped a mud hole in `em; I mean, he whacked the heck out of `em," Dion Hibdon said. "He had a 30-pound stringer with an 8-pounder, two 7s, a 6 and a 5. That's shaking some off, fishing with the hooks bent down and only catching about a third of what bit him. That hasn't happened in a long time, but I think we've figured out where those giants are at right now.

"A big, heavy wind might affect that a little, but we've caught them several different ways in different areas, so hopefully we can make it through today and still catch them."

During the 2008 event, Dion Hibdon caught most of his fish by swimming a jig around docks with current. He said he'll fish a jig in different scenarios this year and also work a Zara Spook. The day's cloud cover should make the latter an all-day possibility.

Chevy pro Dion Hibdon, who won the 2008 Stren event on Lake of the Ozarks will fish a Spook and a jig today."I'm going to fish a wide spectrum of water today," Hibdon said. "I'm going to go from about a foot and a half to 40 feet."

Hibdon said he's hopeful he can get on a good bite early, before the bad weather arrives: "I don't like fishing in that lightning - that doesn't excite me at all. I'd just as soon sit at the boat dock than fish in the lightning."

That being said, Hibdon sees an upside to the rough weather: "The best day that I had when I won the FLW Series here (2006), I was fishing really deep in the worst day of weather you could have ever dreamed of. It blew 30 mph, and that was my best day.

"I'm kind of excited about that, because it seems that when it blows, they eat really well. It's not going to be an easy day of fishing. It's going to be hard work, but sometimes they bite when those storms come in. These northern fish kind of like adverse weather, so they might really turn on today."

Mike "Cowboy" Foree of Osage Beach, Mo., will mostly fish deep with Texas-rigged 10-inch worms, shakyWorking football head jigs over deep rocks and brush piles will be one of the more productive tactics. heads and football-head jigs.

"A lot of people are fishing shallow and catching a lot of 2-pound bass, but I'm trying to drag around out there in 14 to 20 feet and get a bigger bite," Foree said. "I'm looking for five to six big bites a day."

He said he's less concerned about the weather affecting his fish as he is about stormy conditions limiting his ability to effectively target his intended structure. If unbearable conditions overtake his area, he said he'll reposition accordingly.

"You just have to find somewhere that you can get out of it. With these boats, you can't sit out there and fight it with your trolling motor - you'll have no battery in no time soon. You just find a bank where you can continue fishing and hope that the lightning doesn't get too close."

Docks should produce plenty of bites, as long as weather does not impede boat positioning. Several anglers, like North Carolina pro David Fritts, will throw ChatterBaits.

Logistics

Providing versatile presentations with noise and vibration, the chatterbait will account for several fish on Lake of the Ozsarks.Anglers will take off from Grand Glaize Recreation Area PB No. 2 boat launch, located at 711 Public Beach Road in Osage Beach, Mo., at 7 each morning. Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will be held at Grand Glaize Recreation Area beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday's weigh-in will be held at the Walmart store located at 4252 Highway 54 in Osage Beach beginning at 4 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

The Lake of the Ozarks Stren Series tournament is hosted by the Tri-County Lodging Association.

Pros will fish for a top award of $25,000 plus a 198VX Ranger powered by an Evinrude or Yamaha outboard and equipped with a Minn Kota trolling motor and Lowrance electronics if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. If the winner is not a Ranger Cup participant, Ranger will award $7,500 to the highest-finishing Ranger Cup participant in the contingency program.

Co-anglers will cast for a top award of a 177TR Ranger powered by an Evinrude or Yamaha outboardProviding versatile presentations with noise and vibration, the chatterbait will account for several fish on Lake of the Ozsarks. and trailer. If the co-angler meets the Ranger Cup guidelines, they will earn an additional $5,000. If the winner is not a Ranger Cup participant, Ranger will award $2,500 to the highest-finishing Ranger Cup participant in the contingency program.

Thursday's conditions

Sunrise: 7:06 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 59 degrees
Expected high temperature: 70 degrees
Water temperature: 67-68 degrees
Wind: SSE-SSW at 15 mph
Humidity: 73 percent
Day's outlook: rain and thunderstorms

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2009-10-01-lake-of-the-ozarks 

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