This past week we saw some wild weather on Norfork Lake. The winds blew all week, with Tuesday being the worst. You would think with the cold weather and windy conditions the stripers would quit biting. On the contrary! I mainly fished the Bennett’s area most of the week while my son fished the Big Creek area. In four days we boated over 50 stripers with our clients or with us pre-fishing; most of them were released.
Friday night a heavy rain came in and really shut down the fish. On Saturday we only caught 10 stripers and hybrids. The fish are holding in waters between 20 and 30 feet. We are using small gizzard shad. Most of the fish are being caught using down lines set at 16 feet. We have also caught a few on planner boards and balloons. Once the winds shift around to the south and we get some warmer nights, Norfork Lake will really turn on for all species.
Lots of largemouth bass are being caught on crankbaits and spinner baits, and the crappie are also biting. Everything will bite better with warmer weather. The best place to find fish is Bennett’s Bayou, which is south of Bakersfield and Gamaliel, Arkansas. There is a lot of shad in the area – much more than at Big Creek – and as we say, find the bait and you will find the fish.  
I received a call from Barry Stokes ,who has a sports show on Fox News Southwest about fishing on Norfork Lake for stripers. Barry was filming a show on Bull Shoals for walleye. The weather turned bad, so they did not catch any walleye but they did film a bass show. He came over on Friday and did some pre-fishing. Since they only use artificial lures he was having a hard time finding any active stripers. I told Barry where and how to fish for them, but he could only catch whites and largemouth.
I fished Bennett’s on Saturday, and he came by and again asked about where he could find some stripers. I told him where to go, and he found some but could not get them to bite. He got out his drum foot pedal and started banging his boat. I have seen this on TV but never in person. Barry had a swim bait ready as he banged the boat. He would see a fish come off the bottom; then he would drop his jig down, and bang! He caught a hybrid. He caught an 8- and 11-pound hybrid and a 12-pound striper using this method. He filmed his show catching those fish.
I would never have believed it if I had not witnessed it. It’s true that you can teach an old dog new tricks!

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
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