UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Lake Norman

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Hot choice for cold water

Cloudy, cold conditions greeted anglers for day one of the EverStart event on Lake of the Ozarks.

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. - It's day one of the EverStart Series Central Division tournament, and Lake of the Ozarks will see a lot of jerks; actually, jerkbaits - the perennial preference for early-spring bass.

Supremely suited for imitating the dying shad common to the season, jerkbaits can yield a variety of fall rates and actions depending on size and model - and how anglers tune their baits. Local pro Mike "Cowboy" Foree tunes his Megabass jerkbaits for a slow, tail-first sink by adding lead strips and upsizing the rear hooks.

With a cold spell moving across the region, day one began with chilly, cloudy conditions. WaterTom Murphy will put his faith in Megabass jerkbaits. He temperature is around 41-42 degrees, but many anglers reported catching good fish in practice. Sunshine is expected to make an afternoon appearance and bright skies with high pressure are forecast for day two. That means tough fishing tomorrow, so anglers realize the importance of a strong start.

Today's cloudy conditions will find many of the fish in shallow ranges. Water clarity will also factor here. Tuesday saw heavy rains drenching the area, so runoff has muddied some of the top areas. As Missouri pro Tom Murphy noted, the deeper water muddies first, so the shallows remain clear longer.

"I've been breaking a lot of my jerkbaits because I'm finding these fish right on the bank so I'm throwing right on the rocks, making one quick little jerk and letting it sit there," Murphy said. "I'm finding these fish in about a foot of water and they'll hit the bait in about three to five feet."

Although he expects to throw mostly a jerkbait, Earl Garrison will keep a 5/16-ounce jig handy in case he needs to finish out a limit.Earl Garrison, of Bull Shoals, Ark. will have five rods on his deck, four with Megabass Vision 110 jerkbaits and one with a 5/16-ounce jig. Garrison expects to catch most, if not all of his fish on jerkbaits, but he'll throw the jig if he needs a couple of late day fish to round out a limit.

Garrison will look for clear water in the lake's lower end, near the Bagnel Dam. "The fish have more time to see the bait (in clear water) and they can come from a greater distance to get it. Last year (at this event) the water was so dirty you had to get the bait right on top of them to get one to bite."

Foree said he's looking forward to the brighter conditions, as the sunshine will move the fish out of the more easily accessible shallows and onto deeper brush. In these deeper spots, local knowledge plays a key role in finding the more productive brush. Foree's color choices are white, Table Rock Shad and Wagasaki.

"Sunlight will benefit me because of my deeper fish and hopefully I can work them up and get a fewOne of the lake more bites than I can in these clouds," Foree said. "I've been catching them in the sunlight and without the sunlight, so hopefully that will work. When I'm in shallow water, I work the bait a little faster and as I get closer to the boat, I slow it down and let it sink."

Murphy said it's important to vary the jerkbait retrieve until you identify a cadence the fish like. Sometimes, it's a long drag with a couple of quick twitches, then a pause; other times, Murphy makes a series of three short jerks. In any case, he said, giving the fish time to commit is essential.

"On this lake, I've found that the longer you can let the bait sit there, the fish will come up right behind it," Murphy said. "They don't necessarily take it unless they're really active, but they'll sit there and watch it until you make your next jerk and as that line's sliding forward, they'll load up on the bait."

While many of his fellow competitors throw jerkbaits, Utah Pro Roy Hawk will rely on crankbaits.Bucking the jerkbait trend, Utah pro Roy Hawk will spend most of his time cranking in a small creek where he enjoyed the benefits of solitude during practice. Hawk will keep a selection of cranks handy, but his go-to deal is the Spro Little John MD. A customized chartreuse pattern has been most productive.

"I just have more confidence with a crankbait because the fish are shallow and I have better access to them," he said. "Also, the places I'm fishing aren't that crowded. I try to stay away from (other boats) so I have more room. I'm mainly a reaction bait guy and I like to cover a lot of water and in a big group of people, I just can't do that."

Logistics

Anglers will take off from the Grand Glaize Recreation Area - P.B. #2, located at 711 Public Beach Road in Osage Beach, Mo. at 7:00 each morning. On Thursday and Friday, weigh-ins will be held at the Grand Glaize Recreation Area - P.B. #2 beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at theKeeping a promise made to his grandson, Noah, Mark Schutz wore a Walt Disney World souvenir for the day one takeoff. Walmart, located at 4252 Highway 54 in Osage Beach, Mo. Saturday's weigh-in begins at 4 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

Pros will fish for a top award of $35,000 plus a 198VX Ranger boat with 200-horsepower outboard if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Co-anglers will cast for a top award consisting of a Ranger 177TR with 90-horsepower outboard and $5,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met.

The EverStart Series consists of five divisions - Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of four tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the Angler of the Year title along with $5,000 for the pro and $2,000 for the co-angler. The top 40 pros and co-anglers from each respective division will qualify for the EverStart Series Championship that will be held on Kentucky Lake in Buchanan, Tenn., Oct. 27-30.

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

Anglers like Jay Lamb donned the protective headgear before facing the chilly ride across Lake of the Ozarks.Thursday's conditions:

Sunrise: 6:30 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 34 degrees
Expected high temperature: 48 degrees
Wind: NW at 10-15 mph
Humidity: 80 percent
Day's outlook: partly cloudy and windy

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2011-03-10-lake-of-the-ozarks 

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