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
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,”
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
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 funlake.com.
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 www.jnoutdoors.com.
Reprinted with permission from B.A.S.S.