Brent Chapman’s Ozarks “Day Box” for the Fall: Covering Water is Key - Major League Fishing
Brent Chapman’s Ozarks “Day Box” for the Fall: Covering Water is Key
10m • Dave Landahl • Bass Pro Tour
GALLERY: Making Memories at Frontenac Park
19h • Rachel Dubrovin and Phoenix Moore • Bass Pro Tour
Dustin Connell Claims Another Bass Pro Tour Win on Cayuga
1d • Bass Pro Tour
GALLERY: Dustin Connell Wins Stage Six with Nearly 100 Pounds
2d • Garrick Dixon, Phoenix Moore • Bass Pro Tour
GALLERY: A Fight to the Finish on Cayuga Lake
2d • Phoenix Moore, Garrick Dixon • Bass Pro Tour
HIGHLIGHTS: Bass Pro Tour Stage 6 Championship Round
2d • Bass Pro Tour
Connell Conquers Cayuga Smallmouth to Win Second Event in 2022
2d • Mason Prince • Bass Pro Tour
Bass Pro Tour MLF NOW! Live Stream, Stage Six Day 6 (8/11/2022)
2d • Bass Pro Tour
GALLERY: Championship Round Quickly Becomes a Two-Horse Race Between Connell and Wheeler
2d • Phoenix Moore, Garrick Dixon, Mason Prince • Bass Pro Tour
GALLERY: Big Show Entertains on Cayuga During Stage Six Championship Round
2d • MLF • Bass Pro Tour
GALLERY: Top 10 Hit Cayuga Lake in Pursuit of Stage Six Trophy
2d • Phoenix Moore, Garrick Dixon • Bass Pro Tour
CHAMPIONSHIP NOTES: Connell’s Confidence, Wheeler’s AOY Run, Scroggins’ First Final Day
3d • Joel Shangle • Bass Pro Tour
Dakota Ebare Makes Another Top 10 Following a Stressful Knockout Round
3d • Bass Pro Tour
GALLERY: Neal Does Final Finger Lakes Prep for Championship Round
3d • Mason Prince • Bass Pro Tour
Bass Pro Tour MLF NOW! Live Stream, Stage Six Day 5 (8/10/2022)
3d • Bass Pro Tour

Brent Chapman’s Ozarks “Day Box” for the Fall: Covering Water is Key

Image for Brent Chapman’s Ozarks “Day Box” for the Fall: Covering Water is Key
Brent Chapman shares the baits he uses when fall fishing on the Lake of the Ozarks. Photo by Jacob Fine
October 9, 2021 • Dave Landahl • Bass Pro Tour

Plano pro Brent Chapman loves fishing Ozark Mountains lakes, no matter what time of the year. However, the fall is a special time for finding and catching bass on these massive reservoirs.

Baitfish move shallow, and so do many of the bass, making them very accessible to anglers. Fall also sees much lighter recreational boating traffic, allowing you to fish during the prime times without being jostled by boat wakes.

“On the Ozarks lakes, I look for gizzard shad in the fall,” Chapman said. “I search for coves or creeks where they’ve pulled into. As the water temperatures cool off, I believe the shad get more committed to moving shallow and feeding and the bass follow and eat. This happens on all of the Ozarks lakes, but especially on Lake of the Ozarks. It’s really an ideal place to fish shallow in the fall.”

What’s in the Box?

Chapman is known for packing a Plano 3700-size “day box” that he loads with the baits he expects to use the most throughout a day of fishing. He suggests a fairly simple collection of baits for the Ozarks fall-fishing day box that cover water efficiently and mimic baitfish.

“I prefer to fish with a 1/2- or 3/8-ounce bladed jig, I think they’re the hottest bait for the Ozarks in the fall,” Chapman said. “The bladed jig is so effective and great bait to mimic shad. You can cast it under walkways or skip it under docks.”

Chapman also includes spinnerbaits, swim jigs, buzzbaits, topwaters, and crankbaits, all of which allow him to cover water quickly.

“The 1.5 or 2.5 size crankbait can cover water almost as efficiently as the bladed jig, but I lean more toward using the bladed jig – it has a higher landing ratio since it only has the one hook,” Chapman said.

If you stray away from Lake of the Ozarks and hit other area fisheries like Table Rock, Beaver Lake or Bull Shoals, add some baits for fishing deeper water as well.

“Lakes like Table Rock, Beaver or Bull Shoals can have some terrific offshore fishing (in the fall),” Chapman said. “There’s always a portion of the shad population out in deeper water – they can be suspended over submerged trees in very deep water. A drop-shot, a football head jig, or a jigging spoon can produce excellent results there. This is where using a Garmin Panoptix to help locate the fish is really valuable.”

Fall Bite Timing

Chapman prefers a sunny fall day to fish in the Ozarks, and insists that you don’t have to be an early riser to catch the most bass.

“There’s the typical morning and evening activity for bass in the fall, but I love more of that midday fishing, especially when it’s sunny,” he said. “Bass set up tighter on cover in the middle of the day. They’re usually roaming more in low light. When the sun is out, it’s easy to know where they’ll be. They’ll be tight to a brushpile, under a dock or walkway, or suspended deep in the trees.

Chapman’s key time for bigger fish is around the lunch hour.

“In over 25 years of fishing tournaments, I’ve found that 11 in the morning until about 1 in the afternoon produces more big fish than any other time of the day,” he said. “Bass, like people, may skip breakfast, but not lunch.”

Chapman confesses that – although he enjoys all of the bass lakes in the Ozark Mountains – he prefers Lake of the Ozarks above all others this time of year.  

“Lake of the Ozarks this time of year suits my style,” Chapman admitted. “Table Rock is special to me – I won $100,000 there this time of the year – but I really like Lake of the Ozarks. Last fall (at the Toyota Series Plains Division tournament) was the first time I had fished Lake of the Ozarks in years. I love it, and can’t wait to fish it next year on the Bass Pro Tour.”