Live now : TACKLE WAREHOUSE PRO CIRCUIT 2020 Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Waiting for Fall on Lake of the Ozarks

Waiting for Fall on Lake of the Ozarks
Greg Voss

In just a few weeks the Costa FLW Series Championship will take place on Kentucky Lake, but before that can happen there’s one more regular-season tournament to wrap up. This week, the Central Division finale at Lake of the Ozarks presented by Evinrude brings the 2017 season to a close, and there’s a lot on the line. Not only will someone walk away with a winning prize of close to $40,000, but an Angler of the Year will also be crowned and the field will be set for the main event on Kentucky Lake in November.

 

Dion Hibdon

Timing is almost right

Though technically the calendar says it’s fall, the weather around Missouri would have you thinking otherwise – until recently, anyway. For the past few weeks, high temperatures have been hovering around the upper 80s in the region, with very few nights dipping below the mid-50s. Because of lingering warm weather, the water temperature is still hanging around the mid- to upper 70s, and that has the fish somewhat scattered and lethargic.

More important than the weather is the current water level on Lake of the Ozarks.

“I’d say that the lake has been drained down about 2 feet in the last few weeks,” says Jeremy Lawyer, Missouri resident and FLW Tour pro. “I think the falling water has been more to blame for putting the fish in a funk than the weather. I think it dropped another couple of inches again just the other night.”

Ozark lakes are generally known for the phenomenal topwater bite that takes place once the water cools off, and luckily for the tournament competitors, a small front is currently settling in and will bring a few nights of mid-40-degree temperatures, with highs in the 60s before the tournament begins Thursday. Unfortunately, the forecast then calls for temps to rise back into the upper 70s during the tournament. Maybe the cool weather will be just the kick the bass need to get them moving into predictable fall patterns, if it doesn’t lead to other problems, too.

“It was 62 degrees when I got up for the first day of practice, and there was a good amount of fog around,” Lawyer says. “With the cooler temperatures overnight we could be looking at some serious fog delays by the start of the tournament. If that is the case, somebody better bring the doughnuts to takeoff.

“I’ve actually been trying to practice a little for the fog delay. It can really throw off a morning bite, so I’ve been trying to find something to get a lot of bites quickly. Trust me, that isn’t so easy.”

On top of the weather and water level woes, angling pressure from a recent big-bass tournament might also have a hand in creating lockjawed largemouths. 

“I think a lot of these bass have flak jackets and combat helmets on thanks to the Big Bass Bash out here the other week,” Lawyer jokes.

 

Dan Morehead

Offshore strong, topwater coming

Lake of the Ozarks is probably most famous for the number of docks that line the 93-mile-long lake. Docks generally play a role in any tournament on Lake of the Ozarks and no doubt will this week, but Lawyer believes the offshore bite will offer the best chance at a win.

“Last year during this tournament there was a lot of warm weather before the event, and we saw a good offshore bite,” Lawyer says. “I think that will be the case again this year. It could be some brush or a channel swing; either way, I think the deep bite is the way to win.

“I know of two brush piles, and I checked them both and got bit. The problem is those are the only two I know of. For the local guys like Marcus [Sykora] and Dennis [Berhorst], who have a ton of them, I bet they will be able to catch some good fish.”

Pros will probably drag jigs, Texas-rigged creature baits and Carolina rigs in the depths for offshore fish.

Lawyer says he’s also witnessed glimmers of hope that things are turning around in the form of some quality bass chasing his topwater offering, just not committing.

“I think we are right on the verge of a really good topwater bite,” says Lawyer. “I’ve seen enough fish follow to know they are thinking about it. And, honestly, that’d be one wild card to watch for this tournament. If someone puts a topwater in their hand all day long they could bust five of the right ones. There are a lot of shad scattered around in the middle of the coves, and you know the bass are out there under them. I just can’t figure out how to make them bite.

“There are too many good fish in this lake with too many good anglers to not see some really good bags of fish this week. I think it’ll take around 32 pounds to make the cut. If we get a fog delay, expect to see that drop a little.”

 

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 in each category 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.

Weigh-In Time: Days 1 and 2 at 3 p.m. CT; Day 3 at 4 p.m. CT

Weigh-In Location: Days 1 and 2 at Public Beach #2; Day 3 at Walmart 4252, Highway 54, Osage Beach, Mo.

Complete details 

Tags: kyle-wood  pre-tournament  2017-10-12-lake-of-the-ozarks 

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