I was supposed to head to Lake of the Ozarks this past weekend but a health emergency in the family changed our plans last minute. My wife and I wanted to stay close to home just in case anything changed with my Father-in-Law. Luckily, he is doing well!
Even though we both agreed staying home was the right thing to do, my wife knew I was a little bummed to not be headed to the lake as I haven't fished since early December. When HogWally (Aaron) and SmallieBigs (Scott) reached out to me on Friday to see if I could fish with them Saturday morning, my wife told me I'd be crazy not to go 😉!
We met at the ramp at 6:15 am on Saturday morning to the river being 5 feet high and off-color but not too bad. Visibility was about 1 foot. Aaron was a little worried as the river had risen about a foot overnight.... But if there is anyone who knows where the fish group up during these conditions it's Aaron! We took off in the fog and headed to the first spot. Water temps were 50 when we started and rose to 52 by mid-morning.
Pulled up to the first spot and we really never had to leave. We snagged a couple gar right off the bat and then the Smallies started biting! A couple 13-14” fish and then I caught a nice 17” on a crankbait... I hooked another 14” on the crankbait and while I was getting it unhooked, Aaron leaned into 19.5” giant on the Tackle HD Hi-Def Craw. A brute of a pre-spawn fish! Got a couple pics and watched her swim off hard! A couple more 13-14” fish. Then I lucked into another BIG one! I was dragging the Hi-Def Craw down a current seem and she ate it. Rod doubled over on the hookset. Lots of hugs and high fives! She measured 20” and 4.4 lbs! Only my second 20” Smallmouth ever and I can’t think of many things that feel greater than that. Got some awesome pics while keeping her well hydrated between each shot. She thanked me with a tail slap of water to the face as she swam off! What a fish!!!!
But we weren’t done yet. I quickly caught another 15” on the Craw. Then Aaron caught a thick 17.5” that we all thought was a hybrid. Mostly Smallmouth but seemed to have some Spotted Bass in her… I caught another 17.5” football. This thing looked like a northern Smallmouth. Tall and thick with a big ole tail! Bite slowed down on that spot so we headed to one more. Aaron caught another 17.5” and I had a 16” but that is all we could pull off that spot. We fished about another 30 minutes without a bite and had to call it quits so we could all get back to family duties. Off the water by 9:30 am. I love spending time in the boat with these two guys… The big Smallmouth were just icing on the cake!