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Key on Sun, Wind  for Early Spring Lake of the Ozarks Bass


by John Neporadny  Jr.



Lots of sunshine  and a little dash of wind   awaken early spring

bass from their winter slumber at Lake of the Ozarks.


“They are both a big key to catching bass,” said Guido Hibdon, the

1988 BASS Masters Classic champion from Gravois Mills, Mo. “I’ve

heard people  talk about how bad an east or north wind hurts the fishing,

but I believe any wind makes all the difference in the world.  It

doesn’t make any difference what direction the  wind is coming from

just  make sure you fish the wind.”


Hibdon prefers a slight wind on a sunny day in early spring.  “I

hate to fish dead, slick water,” he said. “It  doesn’t matter how

cold it is, a little bit of breeze blowing straight in on a bank makes

the fishing better.”


The touring pro believes sunshine dictates when bass become active

in the early spring.   “I usually find the best fishing is from 10

a.m. to 3 p.m., ” he suggested. “I look for the north banks that get

the most exposure from the sun.   The water temperature along   those

banks  will warm up four to five degrees throughout the day,  depending

on how long the sunshine hits them and how calm the water is.”


Banks with larger rocks also  tend to warm up quicker. “The bigger

the rocks, the better the water will warm,” advised Hibdon.    “I

concentrate on any structure where the sun is beating down, such

as creek channel banks or channel swings. These areas can be especially

good if   they have  four  or five docks there with sunken brush piles

near  them.”


While bass seek shade during  warm weather,  the fish  prefer the

sunlight in early spring.  “Sometimes you will find bass  in the shady

areas, but most of the time  the fish  will be right in the sun,”

Hibdon advised.


Down-sizing his lures works best for Hibdon on a bright, early spring

day. “I use a smaller stickbait or spoonbill stickbait,”

said Hibdon. “I also fish a hair jig  tipped with a fly strip   or

split-tail  eel  any time the water’s cold.  Another good lure for

that time of year is a black/white 1/4- to 3/8-ounce spinnerbait with

a short-arm single blade.”  Hibdon retrieves all of these lures slowly

during early spring because the water temperature is still cold and

the fish are sluggish.


After a severe cold front, water clarity at Lake of the Ozarks dictates when early spring bass bounce back from

a cold spell. “On clear-water  sections,  you can catch  fish on a sunny

day right  after a cold front or even in the nasty weather when the

front hits   if you can tolerate it,” said Hibdon.   He believes bass

tend to shut down in the dirty water sections after  a cold front,

so it could take  at least a day of sunshine before the fish perk

up again.

For information on lodging and other facilities

at the Lake of the Ozarks or to receive a free vacation guide, call the

Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1-800-FUN-LAKE or visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention

and Visitors Bureau web site at

Copies of John Neporadny’s book, “THE Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Guide” are available by calling 573/365-4296 or visiting the web site


Reprinted with permission from B.A.S.S.



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