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Fishing Reports

Fishing Report For November 2013

Friday, November 1, 2013

This report is from the Bassing Bob monthly meeting with Bassing Bob’s experts James Dill of Crock-O-Gator Bait Company, and Wayne Fitzpatrick of Fitz Fishing Tackle & Supplies. Jack Uxa of Jack’s Guide Service wasn’t able to make it to the meeting this month. We were also joined by Denise Dill, Bassing Bob’s professional women’s advisor, and guests Greg Stoner, Missouri Department of Conservation Fisheries Biologist for Lake of the Ozarks, and Ben Verhoef, President of University of Missouri Fishing Club who also has significant credentials as a tournament angler at Lake of the Ozarks.


This report is from the Bassing Bob monthly meeting with Bassing Bob’s experts James Dill of Crock-O-Gator Bait Company, and Wayne Fitzpatrick of Fitz Fishing Tackle & Supplies. Jack Uxa of Jack’s Guide Service wasn’t able to make it to the meeting this month. We were also joined by Denise Dill, Bassing Bob’s professional women’s advisor, and guests Greg Stoner, Missouri Department of Conservation Fisheries Biologist for Lake of the Ozarks, and Ben Verhoef, President of University of Missouri Fishing Club who also has significant credentials as a tournament angler at LOZ.

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

The input and advice offered by these experts and guests 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 October, and what to expect in the month of November.

Bassing Bob asked Greg Stoner to summarize what’s going on with the lake as October ends and November begins. Stoner says that the water is cooling off now, and the stratification that happens to the lake during the summer is ending as the lake turns over and the layers mix. This affects the positioning of the fish, and catching bass will be challenging for awhile. When the lake was stratified, the movement of the fish was restricted to the oxygenated water, but once the layers mix, the fish really spread out because they can go anywhere in the water column. Shad feed on plankton and so they’re moving into the warmer waters at the backs of the coves where plankton production is good. The bass follow the shad into these areas.

Now that we’re getting into November, Ben Verhoef is tying on buzzbait, looking for big black chunk rock, getting shallow and getting behind the docks, flipping buzzbait over the cables. Verhoef says you can catch bass just about anywhere in November as long as there are shad around. Anglers can fish bass deep, off bluff ends, on brushpiles with a big jig, or using crankbaits. If you see big gizzard shad swimming around big chunk rocks, that’s a great place to find bass.

Denise Dill likes to throw a black buzzbait at this time of year but will still have a bigger jig tied on to fish deeper waters around the bluffs.

November is all about fishing with a buzzbait. Fitzpatrick says last few days have provided perfect fishing conditions. It’s been rainy and cloudy with a good breeze and a little chop on the water, which is better than dead still. Water clarity doesn’t seem to matter so much. When the shad are shallow like they are now, bass are relating to the sound of the buzzbait and zoning into sound on the surface. Right now need a big buzzbait, like Crock-o-Gator’s ¾ oz, which makes a lot of racket and throws a lot of water. You can actually reel the big one slower because the big blade keeps it up on top. Use this to fish the main lake this time of year, the bluff ends and big rocky points. Find places where the flat shelf rock falls off into deep water.

Experts advise looking for the seagulls. If you see a cove full of seagulls, you know there’s shad there.

James Dill suggests fishing underneath the catwalks and cables of the docks; if there are dark spots, get your bait through to the other side of the shade and pull your bait through the shade.

Fitzpatrick says the shad in back of coves will start leaving before too long. When this happens, you need to start concentrating on first third to first half of the cove. The bass might still be shallow but they’ll be near deep water. Find places with busted up chunk rock or rock slabs. A Headknocker buzzbait can be particularly effective in these circumstances. Experts believe it’s the flat head of the Headknocker that keeps it straight so it tracks true. A buzzbait that tracks true is important. If it turns on its side, bass won’t strike it because it doesn’t look right to them.

Verhoef says if you’re fishing sides of docks, go with spinnerbaits.

Fitzpatrick says he’ll always have a buzzbait with him until water gets down to about 48 degrees. He will still  burn a spinnerbait on bluff ends. If it gets too windy, a buzzbait won’t work as well because the wind messes up the tracking. Good spinnerbait colors for this time of year are white or white/chartreuse, willowleaf and Colorado blades combination, # 7, silver and gold, one of each. Or specifically a nickel willowleaf with a gold Colorado behind it.

If a buzzbait isn’t working, Denise Hill will throw a heavy (3/4 oz) reaction jig, working it off the bottom with a Ring Craw, until water temp gets cool. When water temps fall, she’ll throw a lighter jig.

Verhoef says as a secondary bait, he’ll throw a big 10XD crankbait. Right now he’s having luck with this catching bass on deep brushpiles at 25 feet plus on main lake and secondary points. To make this work, it’s got to be on the bottom, or he will crash into a deep brushpile and then just kill it.

Topwater baits and spooks will last into December. If you are getting too many short strikes, go back to a bone- or shad-colored spook and give that a try. You can work it and stop it, and let it sit there in the strike zone. Fitzpatrick likes a Heddon Super Spook in a Lake Fork Shad color.

The bluff bite is just starting up again. Shad will winter on bluff ends, and will soon start leaving the backs of coves. When that happens, start thinking about jig fishing, which will lead into the time to stickbait fish again.

Water clarity in November depends on the rainfall. Rain will put color in water. However, in general, as the water cools, the plankton/algae dies off and that increases the clarity of the water. Most of the time, 4-5 feet is about what you can expect of LOZ with clarity, but during winter, can get 14-15 feet of clarity in the area around the dam.

November is a good month for tournaments. The fish seem to bite well around the north shore in the deeper, clearer water. However, pretty much the whole lake is good at this time of year. Fitzpatrick likes stickbait fishing up river which doesn’t get the pressure other parts of the lake do. All the tournaments in the last couple of weeks have been won on a buzzbait.

Stoner was asked about the results of a recent crappie sampling done by the Missouri Department of Conservation. MDC does an annual crappie survey every fall on the Nianagua and Glaize arms. They found a healthy population of crappie; 44% of crappie sampled on the Niangua were legal and 38% were legal on Glaize arm. They didn’t see a lot of big fish. Most were 10-11.5”, not many over 12”. A 12” crappie is about 3 years old. In past 5 or 6 years, there have been a lot of questions about why there’s not a 10” length limit.  Stoner says if you set a length limit too high, you get an unacceptable number of fish dying before they’re available for harvest. Filets on a 10” crappie weigh about 44% more than a 9” crappie. Not much of a filet on a 9” crappie. About half of the fish kept are between 9-10”. If you change the regulations to protect them to 10”, anglers will eventually see bigger fish. Average size right now is about 8-8.5”. Discussion will probably continue about the practicality of changing the length limit.

Bassing Bob asked the experts and guests to choose which two baits they’d take with them this month if they could only take two, and what to leave at home.

Greg Stoner – buzzbait but he’s ready and waiting for the jerkbait bite to start

Ben Verhoef – Crock-o-Gator ¾ oz buzzbait and a little finesse jig (1/2 oz spider jig) to follow up that buzzbait. Not going to throw a jerkbait at this time of year.

Denise Dill – buzzbait and a ½ oz – ¾ oz jig. Leave lighter jigs at home.

Jim Dill– buzzbait and spook; leave Carolina rig at home

Wayne Fitzpatrick – buzzbait and ¾ oz spinnerbait with # 7 willowleaf/Colorado combination; not much of a crankbait fisherman at this time of year.

What size line to throw buzzbait on? Fitzpatrick suggests 65 lb braid, mossy green. Jim Dill suggests 17 lb fluorocarbon. Both say you can’t let a buzzbait sink, you have to get it moving right away. Dill likes to throw way past his target so can get buzzbait moving right before it gets to target.

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