A great day of fishing

John Neporadny
Special to the Lake Sun, USA TODAY NETWORK
Fishing rod and baits.

A perfect fishing trip can be attained if you bring the essentials for your day on the water at Lake of the Ozarks.

Being prepared with the right equipment and other essentials is the key to having a successful day of fishing. Whether you are a novice angler or a seasoned pro, you increase your odds of catching fish by bringing the right stuff with you on the lake.

The right rod, reel and line for the species of fish you are pursuing are the most essential tackle you need to catch fish. If you prefer catching panfish such as bluegill and crappie, you should bring an ultralight, light or medium-light action rod and spincast or spinning reel spooled with 2-, 4- or 6-pound monofilament or fluorocarbon line for casting the lightweight baits you will be using. Bass fishing requires a 6- to 8-foot medium or heavy action casting rod and a baitcast reel filled with 10- to 25-pound monofilament, fluorocarbon or braid line for throwing heavy lures such as jigs, spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Bass anglers can also use smaller soft plastic baits with 6- to 7-foot medium or medium-heavy action spinning rods and spinning reels spooled with 6-, 8- or 10-pound monofilament or fluorocarbon line. If you want to catch heavyweight catfish, you better bring an 8- or 10-foot heavy action casting or spinning rod and a baitcast or spinning reel with a large capacity spool filled with 30- to 100-pound monofilament or braided line.

Novice anglers should bring along live bait to ensure having a good day on the water. Crickets, mealworms and earthworms are excellent choices for bluegill and other sunfish, while minnows are the best option for crappie. The best baits for bass are large minnows, crayfish and nightcrawlers. Catfish will bite a variety of baits including, nightcrawlers, cut shad or sunfish, minnows, crayfish, goldfish and prepared baits. A tackle box full of various size hooks, sinkers and bobbers is essential for fishing with live bait.

Advanced crappie and bass anglers or anyone who prefers catching and releasing fish usually rely on artificial lures to prevent from deep hooking their catch. Savvy crappie anglers stock their tackle boxes with a mixture of jigheads in sizes ranging from 1/32 to 1/8 ounce and soft plastic grubs, swimbaits and minnow-shaped imitators.

A mind-boggling assortment of artificial lures is available for catching bass at the lake. The best way to determine which lures to bring for bass is to read the Lake Sun Leader’s weekly fishing report or visit a local bait-and-tackle store to find out which lures produce best for the time of year you will be fishing the lake. For instance, the best summertime lures for Lake of the Ozarks bass are plastic worms, jigs, deep-diving crankbaits and swimbaits.

A good landing net is also essential because you never know when you will hook into that once-in-a-lifetime lunker. I lost the biggest crappie I have ever hooked at Lake of the Ozarks because I didn’t have my landing net handy. When I tried to haul the fish over the side of the boat, my jig popped out of the fish’s mouth and it flopped back into the lake. Losing a trophy fish can quickly turn your perfect day on the water into a heartbreaking experience you would rather forget.

Bringing the essentials for your next day on the water could result in a successful fishing trip you will never forget.

For copies of John Neporadny’s THE Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Guide call 573/365-4296 or visit www.jnoutdoors.com.