On the Ozarks in Osage

On the Ozarks in Osage

Josie Koubek, Online Editor

Juniors Jalen Dickinson and Zane Leibhart competed in the Costa Bassmaster High School Midwestern Open at the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri April 2-4.  It was the first time both fishermen competed out of state.They placed 21st out of 71 teams.

Dickinson said the fishing wasn’t like anything he’s experienced locally and exposed him to new ways of fishing bass. “Everything around here is vegetation and shallow.  There it’s deeper water, like 40 feet, “ he said; “it’s all rock banks and docks.”

As a partnership, the two combine the weights of their fish.  Dickinson said they weighed in a 4.5-pound and a 3-pound bass in the tournament, helping them place 21st out of 71 teams.

Dickinson said they went two days early to pre-fish and find the best fishing spots.  Lake of the Ozarks are famous for their dock fishing.  “We mainly focused on the boat docks,” he said. “The water wasn’t warm enough, and the fish hadn’t moved into the docks yet.” Leibhart said fishing is a lot like a puzzle. “It’s about finding where the fish are, what they are feeding on and how to make them react to whatever lure you’re fishing with,” he said.

During the tournament they used crank baits.  “We found our fish on the main lake points and deeper water,” Dickinson said.

The top three teams in the Midwestern Open tournament received a $10,000 annual bass fishing scholarship to fish for McKendree University. “If I would have known that,” Dickinson said, “I would have fished so much harder!”

Leibhart and Dickinson will compete in another tournament at Truman Reservoir in May.

This last tournament has changed the way Dickinson sees local fishing. He said he will never again complain about hard fishing around North Platte.  “Even on one of the best bass fishing lakes in America, it’s still hard to catch fish.”