If you love fishing for largemouth bass, Missouri is the place to go. The state tourism motto is "where the rivers run," but in fact, Missouri has the largest man-made, non-flood control lake in the United States
, Lake of the Ozarks, with more than 1,200 miles of shoreline. Besides Lake of the Ozarks, Truman Reservoir is a fairly new, flood-control lake that is known for great fishing. Table Rock, Bull Shoals and Taneycomo Lakes in southern Missouri have been longtime favorites for bass fishermen.
In the spring, all bass go into spawn, normally during the latter part of March through the month of April, depending on the weather. During this time, they travel up the river tributaries and into the shallows, primarily to shallow water with gravel bottoms. Their favorite bait is small shad, but bass will also take worms, insects and snakes. Fishing shallow water using lures that resemble shad or worms, spoons, rooster tails or anything with silver or white, works best. Rattle traps and buzz baits can work to trigger a defensive strike. Of course, plastic worms always work great after the spawn into the summer months.
During summer months, water temperatures can get to the 80s, so most largemouth bass go to deeper waters and stay close to drop-offs or channels to feed. You can fish with deep-diving lures in various colors and trigger hits. In the early mornings and in the evening before sunset, you will see the white bass and largemouth bass hitting schools of shad, so throwing a shallow water or rooster tail lure in the middle of a school will usually catch a largemouth bass when this is occurring.
In the fall, largemouth bass chase the shad into the backs of coves and start fattening up for winter. Again, shad movement usually will be a good indication of where you will find the bass in Missouri. Of course, all big largemouth bass like hiding under cover such as brush piles and docks, but when it's feeding time and the shad are "running," you usually will find white bass and largemouth bass in hot pursuit.
For winter bass fishing, presentation is everything and, of course, the bass are more sluggish. Anything that looks like their normal diet of shad, perch or worms will work best. Using larger, more colorful lures can generate some interest, and plastic worms can be fished deep: 30 feet in some waters and 60 feet or deeper in others. Of course, bass love live bait like large to medium shiners or minnows. Crawdads, goldfish and live worms will work well, too.
Michelle Nesbit started her writing career in 1999, when she wrote "The Title Searcher's Handbook." Nesbit has written for The Chattanoogan, Healthmad and several clients who secure her services as a ghostwriter. Nesbit's background includes licenses in Insurance, certification as a Rescue and Technical Scuba Diver, Underwater Photographer, and a clinical hypnotherapist. Nesbit is currently completing studies as a clinical nutritionist.