Lake of the Ozarks

Gigging night trip below Bagnell

Posted by Phil Lilley on December 28th, 2014
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by Seth Turner ~~ One of my best friends was going to be down visiting family for Christmas and wanted me to take him gigging. My gigging takes place on the Gasconade River most of the time. Recent rains had the water dirtied up, so we decide to go try the Osage River below Bagnell Dam since generation had been off for a couple of days.

This was going to be the maiden gigging voyage for my new boat since I just recently had the rail from my old boat modified to fit my new boat. I run a pair of 400w metal halide lights on my boat. Since the generator hadn’t been ran in a while, I fired it up and connected the lights and let everything run for 15 minutes the night before. It’s never fun to arrive at the river for a night of gigging and have to deal with malfunctioning equipment.

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Weather conditions weren’t very favorable for gigging. It was windy and spitting rain, but my buddy was determined to go so we headed for the river around 4pm. After a quick bite at Taco Bell in Osage Beach, we got to the ramp about 5:30pm. After getting the boat in the water, the first two jumped up and we eased our way down river. Things were slow for the first hour until we got to some shallower riffles where we usually have our best luck.

The water had about 6’ of visibility, but the wind chop made it tough to make out fish on the bottom once you got more than 3’ deep. Since there was five of us, I drove and gigged last. The first two groups killed several suckers and a few small buffalo. Each group gigged about an hour and then switched. Eventually I got my turn.

Once I got up there, we didn’t go very far before we came across a big school of buffalo. The first few I stabbed out were smaller and I missed. The third one I stuck at was a big one and I hit him right the head, which stunned him. It was too heavy to lift though and slid off the gig. It got it’s bearings and swam away so we had to chase him down and I was finally able to stick it again and get it in to the boat. It was easily the biggest fish I’d ever gigged. It weighed 20.32 pounds on my digital scale.

I was able to gig a little while longer, but the wind and rain picked up so we called it a night and headed back. Our final fish count was 18 suckers, six buffalo, a couple gar and one grass carp. We usually do a lot better there, but with the weather conditions that we had, I feel we did decent. I kept the buffalo since my dad loves them and four suckers for myself. The other guys kept the rest.

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Of course the worst part about gigging is that it makes for a late night. Once you get home and just want a shower and your bed, you still have to clean fish. This time wasn’t bad since I didn’t have many to clean. Being on the water always works up my appetite so I had to score up and fry a few fish for a late night snack. For anybody that hasn’t had a fresh sucker scored up and fried, you are missing out on one of the best tasting fried treats there is! They rank right up there at the top for good eating fish.

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