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Early-Season Bass Tactics on Okoboji 
By Eric Naig

Late June and early July are great times of the year to be chasing
largemouth and smallmouth bass on Lake Okoboji.  I travel all over the
country on the walleye tours and it becomes a real treat for me to take to
my home water and chase bass.

For largemouth bass I key on the docks, the bays, and the vegetation.  For
smallmouth bass I look for the rock to sand transition lines and the rock to
weed edges.  In the early and late hours when boat traffic has lightened up
you don¹t want to rule out the canals and the mouths of the canals for
either species.

I seldom use live bait for bass, although I¹m not against it.  It¹s just
that the bass in Okoboji will fall for a topwater or a suspending crankbait
or a plastic worm on a drop-shot rig so why mess with live bait when the
artificial lure works so well.

Thanks to my fishing buddy, Barry Day, I¹ve been using the drop-shot rig a
lot in Okoboji.  He taught me the fine art of drop-shotting and it works
great when the fish are a little deeper on a transition line or an edge.
To drop shot you tie the hook on the line about 18 inches from the end.  To
the end of the line you tie on a small bell sinker or pinch on a couple of
split shot.  The hook is actually above the weight when drop-shotting.

Thread a plastic worm or one of the plastic bodies that have been designed
just for drop-shotting onto the hook.  Find a weed edge or transition line
and drop the weight straight down to the bottom.  The sinker is on the
bottom, the bait is a foot-and-a-half above it, and you¹re twitching the
heck out of the rod tip.  It¹s too much for any bass in the vicinity to
resist, even when they¹re not hungry.

On the rock piles I use a heavy roller jig tipped with a seven-inch
auger-tailed plastic worm.  In the vegetation if a jig-worm is the ticket
I¹ll switch to a jig with a weed guard and pitch it into the pockets.

The reason bass fishing has been so good and getting better on Okoboji is
because those hardcore bass anglers you see on the water are releasing all
the fish they catch.  This is expanding the resource and creating a fishery
that is second to none in Iowa.

I always hope for calm water when I put the boat in because then I can have
some fun with the topwater lures.  If the bass aren¹t in the shallow
vegetation then I target the weedlines and use a drop-shot rig or a
jig-worm.  Find the rock piles and you find the smallmouth.  It¹s
bass-angler heaven on Okoboji right now

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