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Slugfest Set for Central Division Finale

Slugfest Set for Central Division Finale
Lake of the Ozarks

Sprawling through central Missouri’s Ozark Mountains, Lake of the Ozarks has more than 1,000 miles of shoreline and a pile of bass to offer anglers in the final Costa FLW Series Central Division event of the year. With fall starting to roll into the region, the event, which is presented by Evinrude and hosted by the Tri-County Lodging Association, should be a perfect way to finish off the Costa FLW Series regular season.

 

Lake of the Ozarks

The layout

“It’s a neat place. It’s the playground for the Midwest,” says Marcus Sykora, the 2014 FLW Bass Fishing League All-American champion and one of the most successful Ozark anglers around. “From metro folks in Kansas City and St. Louis to the farmers in Illinois, they all come down here to Lake of the Ozarks.”

This week, the lake is being turned over to the anglers, and Sykora says it should be a ball.

“This place is going to showcase. It’s fishing that good now. It’s awesome,” says Sykora.  “All 90 some miles of this thing are firing right now. I think you’re going to have a lot of different things going on.”

According to Sykora, Lake of the Ozarks is a great place for a major tournament because of its endless miles of shoreline. Hundreds of boats can spread out, and crowding isn’t an issue. Of course, the vastness of Lake of the Ozarks will be of prime concern for many. The main channel of the Osage River is more than 90 miles long, and with river arms and creeks branching off of that, the sheer amount of fishable water can be daunting.

While there is for sure a lot of water, there are almost as many different cover and structure options. Excluding grass, Lake of the Ozarks has everything from deep timber and rock piles to docks at all depths, plus laydowns way up the lake.

Depending on where you fish in the lake, there’s a wide diversity of water conditions as well. Loved by pleasure boaters for the clear blue water in the main lake and down by the dam, that’s not all that’s on the table. As you run farther up the rivers, the water gets murkier by the mile. Way up away from the dam, someone comfortable fishing dirty water can find it almost as dirty as he could want.

Like most Southern lakes, the main forage is shad, and the annual shad migration back into the creeks off the main lake is likely about underway. As for bass, all three major species are present, but the real player is likely to be the largemouth. Sure, there are big smallmouths for an electric surprise, but the largemouths in Lake of the Ozarks are simply larger and more dependable most times.

 

Lake of the Ozarks

The fishing

After an extended period of Indian summer, the weather is only just now beginning to cool, and the lake hasn’t undergone a big turnover yet. With water temperatures in the low 70s, Lake of the Ozarks should be primed to produce.

“Shallow-water fishing is going to dominate,” says Sykora. “It’s the easiest and least overwhelming. I think a lot of out-of-town guys will hunker down and dial in on a pattern. Anywhere in the Ozarks, pattern fishing is key. That’s where the local guys who fish history could struggle.”

From shallow docks to laydowns and flats, Sykora figures a lot of the lake will play, and that the vast majority of the fish caught will come from less than 8 feet of water. Even with a lot of strong shallow bites playing, that might not be the only deal on the table.

“I will probably be fishing offshore,” says Sykora. “That’s the beautiful thing about Lake of the Ozarks; you can do whatever you want except fish grass. Out deep, if someone can figure them out, there will be less pressure on them, and it’ll be a lot more stable. They don’t have to worry about pressure from other boats or if the wind blows or if a front comes through.”

Per Sykora, there are fish to be caught from the bank to 30 feet deep, and that diversity should make for a lot of opportunity for everyone in the field. One factor he says is worth watching is the shad. If they begin to migrate into the creeks in earnest, the action could very quickly start to center around that movement.

Finally, even with a lot of options on the table, the fishing should be great. Sykora is as high as a kite on the fishing right now, and recent results back him up. The Ozark Division BFL Super Tournament held Sept. 24-25 featured a bevy of bags over 17 pounds, and Ed Young brought home the win with a 37-13 total over two days.

 

Watching the AOY race

Lake of the Ozarks is the culmination of the Central Division season, and indeed, the entire regular season of the Costa FLW Series. With the end of the season comes the Strike King Angler of the Year award. The reward from wining can be rich, as the $2,000 prize package includes deposits for the 2017 season of FLW Series competition, and the winning pro as well as the rest of the top 40 pros and co-anglers qualify for the Costa FLW Series Championship.

Currently, Daniel Kweekul is leading the pack with 494 points. He’s on fire this year, and hasn’t finished outside of the top 10 yet, banking a runner-up finish to start at Lake Dardanelle and a sixth-place finish on Kentucky Lake.

Behind Kweekul, Christopher Jones, Steve Floyd and Teddy Bogard each have 487 points and are in hot pursuit. Lurking farther back, in eighth and ninth place, respectively, renowned Ozark anglers Marcus Sykora and Mark Tucker have 454 and 452 points and are perhaps just within striking distance.

 

Tournament Details

Format: All boaters and co-anglers will compete for two days. The top 10 boaters and co-anglers based on cumulative weight after two days of competition will advance to the third and final round, with the winner determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.

Takeoff Time: 7:00 a.m. CT

Takeoff Location: Public Beach #2, 711 Public Beach Road, Osage Beach, Mo. 65065

Weigh-In Time: 3:00 p.m. CT days one and two, 4:00 p.m. CT on day three

Weigh-In Location: Public Beach #2 on days one and two, day three at Walmart, 4252 Highway 54, Osage Beach, Mo. 65065

Complete details

Tags: flw-series  lake-of-the-ozarks  jody-white  pre-tournament  2016-10-06-lake-of-the-ozarks 

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