Lake of the Ozarks: Beauty and Damnation


Michele Fanfani


For the fourth event in the MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitationals, Jacopo faced an immense, unfamilir lake for the umpteenth time this season.

Lake of the Ozarks is very beautiful from an aesthetic point of view. Its rocky shores are covered in plants and its rolling hills descend sweetly toward the water. But it is also a difficult lake to fish in a tournament. It has a population of Spotted Bass, many of which tend smaller sizes; it also has numerous Largemouth Bass, but they too are typically of a short to medium length. The obvious exception: large, spawning females. Yet again, they made the difference in this tournament. Let’s find out how….

 The tournament coincided with a full moon, a sure sign that the spawn would be in full swing. A cold front distracted the bass from their coupling rituals, so much so that during practice Jacopo found most males near beds. These males were of medium size, and numerous, especially in the backs of the tributaries. But he did not see any large females.

This situation inspired Jacopo to make a strategic choice. Instead of fishing beds, he would target active, pre-spawn fish. As a result, the three days of practice had Jacopo choose an approach that was more dynamic, focused on a swim-jig technique which had produced results around floating docks and other structures.


The weather and the forecast did not align. Anglers were not met with the predicted overcast skies and low temperatures (weather that would have favored Jacopo’s approach), but the sun instead greeted them, and with it rapidly warming temperatures.

Jacopo stuck with his plan and took off with the goal of fishing varied structures, having completely abandoned bed fishing. Faced with heavy pressure from numerous bass boats on the lake (all of whom apparently made a similar choice), Jacopo nonethless delivered a limit weight of twelve pounds to the scales at the end of day one.

After the weigh-in, Jacopo realized that it was obvious that the anglers who fished beds were landing better fish. This was because the warming weather had brought the larger females in for the spawn. As a result, Jacopo asked if he should change technique and adopt a sight fishing strategy. Since his limit on day one had not been a disaster (he was sitting in 51st place), perhaps it would be possible to repeat the day one pattern and maybe land a few more pounds above his day one limit.

Besides, Jacopo had found a very appealing spot, a spot that was well hidden and which had potential. If fished correctly and without error, it was a spot that might deliver him the weight he needed to make the cut line and advance to compete on day three.

Despite having a longer day to fish, the good bites of the previous day do not happen. Jacopo begins to doubt whther he should continue fishing with the swim jig or if he should switch to sight fishing….

Around 10 a.m., Jacopo has only four fish weighing less than ten pounds. The situation on the lake indicated that the spawn was in full effect and that more females were moving onto beds. The dip in temperatures, followed by a warming trend, hd stimulated a busy spawn. Jacopo could see clearly it was time to change approach and to sight fish, but because the tournament paid deep into the field he didn’t think the change worth the risk.

 Nonetheless, Jacopo tries to sight fish for one hour, searching for big females around beds. He gets discouraged however and returns to casting the swim jig. While the approach yields bites, it does not produce bites that increase the weight of his limit.

In the end, Jacopo finished in 87th place. In doing so might have missed his chance to qualify for the circuit’s final event.

Jacopo had many things to reflect upon after a disspointing reuslt in the tournament. Certainly, the pressure of competition, combined with the consequences of the result, had played tricks on his mind. The end result was that the pressure prevented him from fishing according to his instinct, a freedom that every successful angler should follow. On the other hand, even negative results can teach us something so long as we find the silver lining. It is something that Jacopo understands well.

Gallelli’s Gear

Swim Jig

13 FISHING ENVY casting rod, length 7’6” for 1- ¼ oz. Medium Heavy action, extra-fast.

CONCEPT C2 bit casting reel, gear ratio 7:5:1  loaded iwth Sufix Advance Flourocarbon (14 lb test).

Jig: Molix Kento Jig 3/8 oz. (minus skirt and guard)

Drop Shot for Sight Fishing

13 FISHING ENVY spinning rod, length 6’10”, 3/8oz. with extra-fast action.

Spinning reel loaded with Sufix X8 braided line (15 lb. test) with a

Fluorocarbon Sufix Advance leader (10 lb. test).

3/16 oz. tungsten weight.

BKK Siren 1 hook with a 4” Sligo Molix worm (green pumpkin).

(Traduzioni: Henry Veggian)

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Michele Fanfani
Michele, 60 years old, Florentine like Jacopo, followed him during all phases of his sporting career in Italy and accompanied him to America at the start of his professional career. He achived several successes fishing along with Jacopo but above all he conceived and created the Italian magazine “Bassfishing” and the publication “The Secrets of Bassfishing”. He currently follows Jacopo along his career and is the creator and administrator of the “Curva Gallelli” Fans Club.