Live now : PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE 2020 Indian Lake

Trying to get right

Trying to get right
Utah pro Roy Hawk fished reaction baits and sacked up the leading weight of 22-6 on day one.

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. - The bass in Lake of the Ozarks are just starting to think about heading shoreward to scout out their spawning sites, but a solid prespawn stage there is not. Nevertheless, good things are starting to happen for EverStart Series Central Division anglers competing on these heralded Missouri waters.

A cold spell and its related rains made for a tough practice period, as shivering anglers poked around a lake with many of its top areas made muddy. Also, with lake level currently at about a foot and a half off the full pool depth of 660, fish are scattered and many landmarks and key features are hidden.

Many anglers reported struggling, even some who placed high in the standings. The day's shiftingRoy Hawk checks in the soon-to-be leading sack of fish. weather rattled many a game plan, as the cloudy skies that met the morning takeoff suddenly yielded to bright, sunny conditions just after the noon hour. This abrupt change seemed to have rattled the fish, as several anglers reported their morning bites dissipating as the skies brightened with the post-frontal rise in pressure.

The general thought is that tomorrow's continued sunshine will warm the shallows and prompt some concerted prespawn movement. At the very least, bass should become a little more active as they start chasing bait more aggressively.

At any rate, day one saw a decent bite and those who chose their spots wisely fared well. The opening weigh-in was hardly a barn burner, but the pros sacked up 51 limits, with co-anglers adding another 10. Several nice fish in the 4- to 6-pound range crossed the stage.

Utah pro Roy Hawk leads the pro side with a limit weight of 22-6. He worked a small backwater area away from crowds and caught his fish on undisclosed reaction baits.

Missouri pro Matt Jones caught a 6-pound, 13-ounce largemouth to win the Snickers Big Bass award."I had a pretty good day and caught fish throughout the day," Hawk said. "There were a couple of lulls when the sun first came out, but it seemed that an hour or two later, the fish got used to that sunlight and I caught a couple of upgrades that made a difference."

Hawk credited his catch to a combination of his fishing style and a productive area. Withholding his specific location, he said he was fishing transitional banks where chunk rock met pea gravel, as well as bluff walls.

"It's kind of just mixing it up," Hawk said. "I think a lot of (anglers) would agree that these fish are kind of spread out, so we're just covering water and getting one here, one there, and that's about it. Every now and then, you'll come across a spot and get a couple of bites, but they're not grouped at all that I can find."

Hawk said that he caught some of his fish in areas with large bait schools, but other bites came when his sonar showed no bait.

Stamper sacks 20 for second

James Stamper of Montreal, Mo., started his day with a Megabass jerkbait, but once the sunnySecond place pro James Stamper caught his fish on jerkbaits and crankbaits. conditions settled over the lake, he switched to a Rapala crankbait. His strategy worked, and his limit catch of 20-9 yielded a second-place position at the end of day two.

"The fish moved deeper (later in the day)," Stamper said. "I think the sun stunned them. It was a little bit slower bite for me."

Fortunately for Stamper, he had an active morning and he had his weight by noon. He's hopeful that as the fish adjust to the sunshine on day two, they'll settle in and become more active.

Jig bite turns on for Brueggemann

While many of his competitors threw jerkbaits and cranks, third-place pro Dan Brueggeman did most of his work on a Chomper Standup jig with a cinnamon hula grub. He said he had been throwing a jerkbait in practice and other events, but he found some quality fish that were on a crawfish bite, so he took Third place pro Dan Brueggemann found his best action with jigs.advantage of the opportunity to do what few others were doing.

"I've been about 50-50 with jigs and jerkbaits in local tournaments, but I couldn't get bit on the jerkbait so I went to the jig early, and it worked out," he said.

The Illinois pro got into the fish early and had a limit by 8:30. He was targeting transitional banks and found the fish shallow. The fish, he said, showed clear signs of a crawfish preference.

"Their lips are really red; they look like they're wearing lipstick," Brueggemann said. "On some of the jerkbait fish (from practice), you had to have the bait on the bottom. That tells me they're feeding on crawdads."

Wenners winds up fourth, Eutsler fifth

Galena, Mo., pro Peter Wenners caught fish on a mix of baits and put together a limit that weighed 18-14 to take fourth place. Although his first flight shorted him on today's afternoon bite, he still managed toRapala and Megabass jerkbaits did the trick for fourth place pro Peter Wenners. find some promising action.

"I caught them early on a jerkbait and caught some early on a crankbait," Wenners said. "Then later in the day, I used a new prototype Pig Sticker jig. Once the sun came out, they started biting that jig pretty well and I got to cull out five fish.

"It seemed that the bite was really good early, and then you have about a three- or four-hour lull. I was fortunate enough to get the better bites in the afternoon."

Mike Eutsler of Springfield, Mo., placed fifth with 18-8.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top 10 pro leaders at the EverStart Series Lake of the Ozarks event:

6th: Randall Hutson of Washburn, Mo., 18-7
7th: Joe Bennett of Independence, Mo., 18-1
8th: David Ryan of Levasy, Mo., 17-14
9th: Greg West of Lake Ozark, Mo., 17-8
10th: Dennis Berhorst of Holts Summit, Mo., 16-15

Matthew Jones of Spokane, Mo., won the Big Bass award for his 6-13 worth $272.

Bohlke Jr. mixes it up for co-angler lead

Using a mix of jerkbaits and a jig led Marty Bohlke Jr to the top co-angler spot.Marty Bohlke Jr. of Nixa, Mo., bagged a limit weighing 15-10 and finished atop the Co-angler Division. He used a combination of jerkbaits and jigs. He threw a Smithwick Rattling Rogue in dirty water and a Megabass jerkbait in clean water. For his jigging action, he used a green-pumpkin Poor Boys custom jig with a green-pumpkin Hold On hand-poured craw trailer.

"I caught most of my fish in the afternoon," Bohlke said. "The sun came up and warmed the water a little bit, and the fish moved up shallow. A lot of guys ran around a lot, but (my pro and I) stayed put and fished hard all day."Co-angler John Kite caugth his division

Bohlke said he caught most of his fish in 15 to 20 feet of water near small bluffs.

Best of the rest

Rick Carden of Cuba, Mo., took second place with 14-8, while Michael Rowland of Bonner Springs, Kan., was third with 14-5. In fourth place, Jacques Fleischmann of Lampe, Mo., had 14-3. Kenny McGar of Crofton, Ky., was fifth at 13-13.

Rounding out the top 10 co-angler leaders at the EverStart Series Lake of the Ozarks event:

6th: Sheldon Gentry of Lohman, Mo., 13-5
7th: Brian Pierce of Peyton, Co., 12-12
8th: Ricky Watkins of Springdale, Ark., 12-11
9th: Chris Gable of Eddyville, Ky., 12-1
10th: Troy Anderson of Galesville, Wis., 11-12

John Kite of Festus, Mo., took the Big Bass award on the co-angler side with a 6-1 worth $181.

Day two of EverStart Series Central Division action on Lake of the Ozarks continues at Friday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7 a.m. Central time at the Grand Glaize Recreation Area - P.B. #2, located at 711 Public Beach Road in Osage Beach, Mo.

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

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