UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Lake Wylie

Bank Battle Set for Lake of the Ozarks

Bank Battle Set for Lake of the Ozarks
Duke Jenkel

When it comes to prespawn in the Ozarks, there may not be a better place to catch a giant bag of bass in the spring than on Lake of the Ozarks. And though the weather has been a little up and down over the last several weeks, things are setting up for a solid start to the Toyota Series Plains Division season March 26-28.

Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro and Lake of the Ozarks guide (and local) Casey Scanlon believes, despite tough fishing for the majority of the winter, this tournament should take around 20 pounds a day to win – and expects to see some mid-20-pound bags over the course of the tournament.

Here’s a look at what to expect from the massive Ozark fishery during a strong prespawn bite.

 

Tournament Details

Toyota Series Plains Division

Osage Beach, Mo.

March 26-28, 2020

Hosted by the Tri County Lodging Association

 

 

How the lake sets up

Spanning some 54,000 acres along the Osage River ­­– with Gravois Creek, Grandglaize Creek and the Niangua River tributaries – Lake of the Ozarks is sort of an oddball when talking about major Ozark Reservoirs. Unlike Beaver Lake, Table Rock or Bull Shoals, Lake of the Ozarks isn’t as clear, nor does it support the bass species diversity of the others and is more heavily populated, though that doesn’t mean the fishing isn’t up to par. Lake of the Ozarks is known for producing monster bags of laregmouths – especially in the spring.

Lake of the Ozarks is dominated by hard cover, and docks take the cake for the most abundant structure. Brush piles and laydowns are also commonplace throughout the lake, coupled with bluff banks and 45-degree shorelines, and they’ll all see action in this event.

 

Casey Scanlon

What to expect

Scanlon says that the winter has been colder and wetter than usual, and because of that, the fishing hasn’t been as good as it usually is in the winter months. By the end of March, though, both bass and anglers alike should be more than eager for some warmer weather.

“It’s been tough fishing here for a bit,” Scanlon says. “We had a team tournament here this past weekend (the weekend of March 7) and it only took 18 pounds to win. But I think the weights are going to soar in the next couple weeks. For this tournament, I think we’ll see some 23- and 24-pounds bags, and we could see that over consecutive days. Typically, 20 pounds a day is a good mark to hit for this time of year, but 20 pounds won’t win in a single-day event. I think it’ll take around 60 pounds to win.

“We’ve had terrible weather around here, and I think the fish are wanting to go to the bank. The fish have been out chasing shad, and there’s so much bait in the lake, I don’t think they’ve needed to be near the bank. But they’ve got to make a push here. The days are getting longer, and their internal clock is ticking. I think we’ll see a pretty dang good tournament.”

While Scanlon believes there could be some rogue fish on beds, or close to it, by this tournament, depending on how warm it gets, he’s excited to see what pans out.

“I think the lake will spread the field out and guys will catch them all over, from up the river to the dam,” he adds. “At the end of March, there is a lot going on. There’s been some fish up shallow, and if we get warm nights with 60s and 70s during the day, there should be fish thinking about spawning. They won’t be on beds, but they will be up there thinking about it.

“There will be a lot of patterns in play. The lake will fish big, and it should be a full-blown prespawn shootout.”

 

Baits and techniques

Spring on Lake of the Ozarks means there should be an excellent crankbait and jerkbait bite. A Megabass Vision 110 has made a pile of money on the lake during the month of March and there will be plenty of them tied on for this tournament. Also, baits like a Wiggle Wart or SPRO RkCrawler will also be hard to beat and are proven money-makers on the fishery.

Of course, pitching docks will play a role, and for that, a jig or Texas-rigged Zoom Brush Hog are Lake of the Ozark staples. And you can’t overlook a good ol’ spinnerbait to be tossed around wind-blown points or laydowns, along with an Alabama rig wound around docks, brush piles or any bank with some wind on it.

While there are tons of baits that will catch fish in this tournament, any way you slice it, late March on Lake of the Ozarks should be a power-fisherman’s dream.

Tags: kyle-wood  article  2020-03-26-lake-of-the-ozarks 

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