Missouri TBF Kicks-off Season at Lake of the Ozarks – Akers and Lewis top finishers.

The 2024 Bass Federation of Missouri kicked off the season at one of Missouri’s premier bass fishing lakes at Lake of the Ozarks.  Going into the event there was lots of excitement with reported tournament weights being above average the weeks leading up to the event.  Oh how fast things can change.  Starting the Monday night leading up to the tournament,  a front moved through the state that brought anywhere from 1.5 to 4.5 inches of rain throughout the lakes watershed.  The rain finally dispersed late Friday afternoon on the last day of practice, but mother nature was about to throw anglers another curve ball.  During the practice session competitors reported water temperatures starting to push into the low 50’s and the bass were on the move as well. 

As competitors gathered in the early hours on Saturday morning at Shawnee Bend Public Access they were met with the other curve mother nature had thrown, below freezing temperatures and sunny bluebird skies. Those temps sent anglers scrambling, and hoping that what they had found in practice would hold. Unfortunately, for all competitors this made the fishing very tough on day 1.  Many anglers that were fishing the river arms reported at weigh-in that the baitfish that they found moving into the back of the creeks had completely disappeared or that the areas were blown out due to muddy water flowing in from the rain earlier in the week.  Anglers that stayed in the clearer waters of the lake reported they could find the baitfish and the bass on their forward facing sonar, but the bite was just very slow. 

After day one’s weigh-in concluded, Tom Shewey found himself atop the leaderboard with four fish at 12.05 pounds, followed by Ken Whitfield and Grant Hinton rounding out the top three.  On the Co-angler side it was Gary Martin with three fish for 7.77 pounds, Clayton Sansoucie in 2nd and Billy Ray rounding out the top three.  Big bass leaders on day one were boater Grant Hinton with a largemouth tipping the scale at 5.73, and co- angler Clayton Sansoucie with a 5.88 largemouth.

On day two the conditions had not improved for anglers.  They were actually met with colder temperatures at the 7 am take off with the same post front sunny bluebird sky and now little to no wind.  Both boaters and co-anglers found the bite to be just as tough as day one.  Many anglers resorted to going back to fishing past history and fishing a lot of areas in order to get bites.  As anglers started their way back to check in by the 3 pm cut off they were met by nervous anticipation waiting to see if anyone had cracked the code of Lake of the Ozarks. 

Grant Akers, First Place Boater

As day two’s weigh-in went on it was very evident that anglers still struggled and the lake was not going to give up many limits of fish this weekend.  After all fish were weighed and tabulated it was two new TBF anglers at the top of the leader boards.  On the boaters side, in his first ever Missouri TBF event Grant Akers took the win with a two-day total of 20.94 pounds with 7 keepers on the weekend.  Grant noted that he purely junked fished, and burned a full tank of gas both days in order to catch his fish.   Another new member found himself punching a ticket to the 2024 nation semi-final was Tom Shewey, with a total of 18.67 pounds.  Taking the last automatic qualifying spot was Missouri TBF veteran Brad Tyer with 18.06 pounds.

Kevin Lewis, First Place Co-angler

Much like the boater side it was TBF newcomer Kevin Lewis winning the co-anglers side  with a two-day total of  12.84. Kevin said all his fish came on a jerkbait.  In second place Mick Maples with 12.12 pounds and taking the final automatic qualifying spot for the co-anglers was long time TBF member and a threat at each event Gary Martin with a two day bag weighing 10.26 pounds. 

The second and last Missouri TBF qualifying event will take competitors to the southwest region of the state at Pomme de Terre Lake held April 20th and 21st. The event will launch out of the Hermitage Public Access. For more information on the event and joining The Bass Federation of Missouri go to www.themissouritbf.com or The Bass Federation of Missouri-TBF MO Facebook Group page. 

Author:  Matt Hyde, 2024