While Missouri might not be noted for its trophy bass fishing, there are many of large bass around to keep an angler busy for a lifetime. To be able to catch them, you will probably have to make use of different techniques than you use to catch smaller bass. If you’re prepared to catch several less fish in search of that wall hanger, then this information is for you. First, I’ll share a number of my favorite big bass techniques. Then I’ll choose a some of the best lakes and rivers in their state to get the bass of a lifetime.
That is personally my favorite method to catch big largemouth bass. The setup is quite simple. I work with a 2/0 plastic worm hook, a split shot, and a big bobber. I hook the bait (I prefer a natural sunfish between two and five inches) in the trunk, just underneath the spine. The depth I fish is dependent upon where I am, but generally two to four feet is best. It is important to attend several seconds following the bass strikes to set the hook. Whenever you do set the hook, take action firmly, but not excessively. Besides green sunfish, live shad, shiners, suckers, and several other minnows work nicely, fished the same way.
That is one of the greatest methods for big springtime largemouth and smallmouth bass. Cast the jig into heavy cover, or near docks, allow jig sink, and jig it down and down slowly as you reel. Set the hook when you feel resistance. This is effective into the summertime as well, but it particularly shines between March and June. My personal favorite jig for the method is mini-Strike King Jigs, in green and brown colors.
Plastic worms are good big bass bait from April until early November. The general rule is the larger the bait, the larger the bass. I choose to Texas rig the bait, and reel in very slowly, but there are countless approaches to successfully fish plastic worms, such as the Carolina Rig, the Wacky Rig, and the weightless rig. My personal favorite big bass worm is a 7 inch Black Berkeley Power Worm. It is effective for largemouth bass between two and five pounds, especially at night.
Lakes and Rivers:
Table Rock Lake
Many people would consider Table Rock the most effective trophy bass lake in the state. This approximately 40,000 acre reservoir is exceptionally clear and deep. The deep water is home to numerous smallmouth and spotted bass, and the shallower water holds mostly largemouth. Probably the number one trophy bass technique here’s free lining three to five inch shiners https://pursuingoutdoors.com/. Other successful offerings are spinnerbaits, tube baits, crankbaits, and plastic worms. The key channel near the dam, the James River arm, and the Kings River arm are great spots to get trophies, but the whole lake holds bass.
Lake of the Ozarks
This 55,000 acre lake in Central Missouri is quite heavily fished, but somehow the trophy bass fishery remains one of the greatest in the state. Largemouth bass reign supreme here, although limited populations of smallmouth and spotted bass do exist in certain river arms. The best trophy baits are generally flipping jigs, spinnerbaits, and various plugs. The main element to success here’s to fish the many docks lining the lake, because the lake offers very little other cover. The Niangua Arm, Grand Glaize Arm, and the Osage River Channel are good places to get big largemouth.
The Gasconade River is a first class trophy bass river. From its humble beginnings near Springfield all the way through the city of Vienna, the river is nearly entirely dominated by smallmouth bass. Between Vienna and the mouth at the Missouri River, largemouth bass take there place alongside the smallmouth. Live minnows, crankbaits, tube baits, flipping jigs, and spinnerbaits work very well for both species of bass present in the river.
You might have noticed in the section of this information about Table Rock Lake, I mentioned the James River arm was a great place to catch big bass. The fishing doesn’t end upstream of the lake, however. Completely from upstream of Springfield downstream to where it becomes Table Rock Lake, the James River is an excellent float fishing river for huge smallmouth and spotted bass. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits, live minnows, and soft plastics are popular.
Hopefully this information can help you learn the techniques and places to catch trophy bass within Missouri. It might not be likely you will catch a global record bass in Missouri, but that will not imply that fishing for them isn’t a fantastic or heart throbbing experience.
Davidson Manning is a devoted outdoorsman spending over 100 days annually pursuing his passion for fishing, many in the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas. He details a lot of his favorite spots on his website Family-Outdoors where he writes articles not merely on fishing, but also camping and hunting. Trying to find recipes for wild fish and game? Visit his recipe section at Wild Game and Fish Recipes for recipes for venison, trout, in addition to other game and fish species.
His other pursuits include many days spent in the field camping and hunting. Davidson loves to share his familiarity with the outdoors in the hope of helping others to get their very own connection to the outdoors.