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Fishing Reports

Fishing Report For October 2013

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

In October, the baitfish get thick and dock fishing plays a big role. On sunny days, fish the pads, concrete pillars, anywhere on the docks where there’s shade. Right now, the bass still aren’t extremely shallow, and seem to mostly be tucked down about 5-6’. Read More…

This report is from the Bassing Bob monthly meeting with Bassing Bob’s experts James Dill of Crock-O-Gator Bait Company, Wayne Fitzpatrick of Fitz Fishing Tackle & Supplies, and Jack Uxa of Jack’s Guide Service. We were also joined by Denise Dill, Bassing Bob’s professional women’s advisor.

This report can be viewed as an audio report on the Bassing Bob video page. There are 3 videos for this report. Look for October Expert Bass Fishing Recommendations at Lake of the Ozarks Part 1 of 3, 2 of 3 and 3 of 3.

The input and advice offered by these experts is based on many years of bass fishing experience at Lake of the Ozarks. In this report, they share their thoughts on what fishing has been like in the month of September, and what to expect in the month of October.

In the month of September, the experts saw the shad moving back into the creeks, big coves, river arms and other shallow parts of the lake. The bass weren’t easy to catch in September, but experts had the most success with jigs and worms fishing under docks. Pretty soon the bass will be a lot more interested in square bills, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and buzzbaits. Bad weather seems to make the fish bite. When a low pressure system moves in, they’ll feed more.

In October, the baitfish get thick and dock fishing plays a big role. On sunny days, fish the pads, concrete pillars, anywhere on the docks where there’s shade. Right now, the bass still aren’t extremely shallow, and seem to mostly be tucked down about 5-6’. The water hasn’t cooled down enough yet, but soon anglers should expect the fish to be coming up very shallow. Dill says right now the water is comfortable in the shallower water and a lot more gizzard shad will soon come up to feed in the shallows. Try throwing a Heddon One Knocker Spook or something that looks different than shad. Things like buzzbaits, rattletraps, and crankbaits, anything that look like a crippled baitfish, can trigger a strike because the bass think it’s an easy meal.

Uxa says the best places to cast in October will be the tough spots to reach, like way up behind the docks, under the cables and catwalks, and right where the ramp connects to the dock. In trying to cast to those places, anglers should expect to lose some tackle. Uxa says he’s catching a lot of fish underneath the swim docks, and as October progresses, the swim docks where the bass are holding will get increasingly shallow.

For anglers who may not be confident enough of their casting skills to cast into those tough spots, the experts suggest focusing on going in quiet, making good long casts and throwing a buzzbait, spook or crankbait along the side of a shallow dock and underneath the corners. Square bills in particular are a great bait for weekend fishermen to use.

Fitzpatrick suggests looking for shallow docks that are not in the back of the coves. If anglers can find places where there are several docks in water 4-5’ deep in the middle of docks in deeper water, those are excellent places to find big bass. Experts say this is probably because of the proximity of the shallow docks to deeper cover nearby.

Suggested colors for October are basic shad colors for crankbait, black/black or black/gold buzzbait, peanut butter and jelly jigs, Heddon Super Spooks in Lake Fork Shad or Bone colors.

When asked about what size jigs to use, experts suggested 3/8 or ½ oz jigs for the shallows; lighter jigs will come up too fast, anglers need enough weight to be able to control it. Specific suggestion: a ½ oz Crock-O-Gator jig in green, brown, black/blue, or peanut butter and jelly with a Crock-O-Gator Ring Craw or Swamp Bug, a NetBait Paca Chunk or a Zoom Fat Albert Grub trailer. It’s good to switch things up to give the bass something different. When swimming the jig, choose trailers with a little more movement. Uxa asked the other experts how they feel about using white jigs at this time of year. James Dill says he prefers to throw colors that don’t catch the fish’s attention until the bait is right up on the bass, and he thinks a white lure gets noticed too soon resulting in the fish deciding not to strike. Fitzpatrick says he’s had some success with white tubes up river when nothing else seemed to interest the fish.

Experts discussed the different between swimming a jig, which means working it so that it stays up high in the water column imitating shad, and flipping a jig to fish the bottom. This time of the year, the jig needs to be moving so now is the time to swim a jig.

Fall turnover was the next topic of discussion. Areas of the lake that are turning over can often be identified because the water has a funny pea-soup or tea color, and things just look odd. Experts agreed that turnover will mess up some areas for awhile, but anglers should be able to either get ahead of the areas that have already turned over, or get behind those areas. The upper lake turns over first. Because the lake is so big, not all areas are turning over at the same time, so there are always places on the lake not affected by the turnover at the time you’re out fishing.

After turnover, anglers should fish the main lake points with wind using spinnerbaits. Football jigs come into play about the 3rd week in October through mid-November. The deepwater bite starts in mid-October and anglers should fish the bluffs and bluff ends. At the end of October, try throwing a heavy jig on ledges.

On days when the weather is bad, the fish will pull up shallow on bluffs, bluff ends, and rocky points, and anglers can catch some big bass fishing those areas. This seems to happen right around Halloween. In late October, the bass start to move out of the shallows, but not yet into the deeper waters that become their winter habitat. Fitzpatrick noted that sometimes at this time of the month he’ll find the bass lying in the ditches down the center of the coves, away from the docks as they transition towards winter. Uxa says this period of time can be tricky, and Fitzpatrick agreed, saying you basically have to hunt them down and find them all over again. Uxa suggests covering a lot of water with a buzzbait, as this can help you find them when this happens.

Experts discussed what to do when you come across a cove where it’s really thick with shad. How do you compete with all those baitfish for the bass’ attention? They all agreed that baits imitating injured shad work best, and go to buzzbaits and spooks, lures that look wounded and are different colors. They suggested rattletraps, Senko worms, and flukes, letting the bait settle down on the bottom for a couple seconds, and then twitching it, or working it fast for 10-15’, and then killing it. Throw it out in the middle of the shad, and let it fall through the school.

Fitzpatrick advised to look for the big gizzard shad, and not worry so much about the little ones. Fish the shallow docks on sunny days. Soon anglers will start seeing great big fish just lying up in those docks underneath the pads.

Bassing Bob Bueltmann asked the experts to share their favorite part of the lake to fish in October, their recommended bait, and what lures to leave at home this month.

Uxa – Fish anywhere from the 20 MM to the 40 MM. The water has a good stain, and has a good mixture of water depth, cover and structure. He likes to throw a black and blue jig or a buzzbait, but suggests leaving the Carolina rig and Texas rig at home.

Fitzpatrick – Fish the big water from the dam to the 20 MM; this area has lots of nice big coves. Go with a 1 oz jig in black and blue or peanut butter and jelly colors, buzzbaits, spooks, big jigs, and spinnerbaits. A Shakey Head also can be a really good choice, but leave the Carolina rig at home.

James Dill – In October, Dill likes to find places on the lake with big dark rocks and big shad from the dam to the Glaize Arm. He likes to throw big ¾ oz buzzbaits that imitate shad underneath a main lake point. Also likes to use spooks, and will still throw a jig, but not as much in October as other times of the year. He suggests covering a lot of water. Dill says the river can also be an excellent place to fish in October though he prefers the lower lake.

Denise Dill – Denise Dill likes to fish around the docks this time of the year with a heavier buzzbait, hitting it on the corners of docks or running it along side. She likes to run a ½ oz Zapper along the foam of the docks.

Final words of wisdom: James Dill says October is the beginning of some of the best fishing at Lake of the Ozarks. From October to April, he thinks this is the best fishing time of the year. In October the scenery, the departure of big boat traffic, and the peace and quiet that follows the tourist season make for very enjoyable days of fishing. Anglers can expect to catch a lot of fish in October and November because just about whatever you like to use, you can catch a fish on it. These are the months when the bass feed the most; they really pack it on so they can get fat and healthy for the winter.

Uxa says to remember that it takes a long time for this lake to cool down, and the water will be warm for a long time. This means the fish will be active for quite awhile before they go into their winter patterns.

Fitzpatrick says he’s caught his biggest fish of the year in January and February so encourages anglers to come out and fish as the days get colder.

All the experts advise anglers to be sure they keep their gear in order, boat motors cared for and trolling motors charged because of the windy days and bad weather that can come up very suddenly this time of year. Anglers need to be safe, and being prepared for wind and bad weather is important.

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