It’s been a couple weeks since my last report and the topwater is still going strong. For the past 2 weeks there was a good mix of stripers and bass out on the creek points very early in the morning. If you got out in the creek at dawn, you could see the fish surfacing and fishing these areas with a variety of topwater baits has produced a lot of nice fish lately. Being in the right place at the right time helps tremendously when it comes to catching these fish. More times than not, if you get your bait in the area of surfacing fish too late, the fish will not come back up for it. The window of opportunity to catch these fish has been small and basically, if you don’t get to them while they are on the surface or seconds after they surface, there not coming back up. That tells us that the water at the surface is degrading in oxygen levels. If the levels were good, the fish would be more than happy to come back up after a bait. The good part was that 2 weeks ago there was still a good mix of stripers and bass together and we caught a lot of stripers and bass but that is changing fast in the creek. Most of my trips last week were runs out to the creek at dawn and back at the ramp by 9am. I did get a chance to take a couple of people out to enjoy the topwater bite. Here’s a few pics from a trip with my friend Mark who joined me for an early morning creek run last week and a couple videos of my wife Lisa walking the Sexy Dawg topwater bait last weekend as well as a video of some early summer hump fishing this week.
Just as in past years there comes a time when the stripers migrate from the reaches of the creek to the deep mouth or main lake and join forces in big schools to spend the hot summer feeding on bluebacks in the thermocline layer. That’s what is going on right now. I’m starting to see less and less stripers in the creek and more and more out on the main lake. Most of the stripers still coming to the surface are smaller fish and the bigger stripers are going deeper in the water column. This is the time of year I start changing my tactics to a summer pattern and looking for fish out on the main lake. Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of bass in the creek worth catching but I’d rather be out on the main lake humps where a lot of big bass are taking up their summer residence. The big bass and smaller stripers are coming up very early in the morning for a dawn feeding on the humps and then the stripers go deep but the topwater bass bite has been coming back around about mid day right now. It’s the down time between the dawn bite and the midday bite that been tough to figure out. I’ve been catching a few with different subsurface methods when the fish have been suspended around structure on the humps. Right now I’ve been biding my time with the dropshot, jigs and shakeyhead around the structure and bagging a few nice ones.
Another option for early to mid morning right now is a crankbait on the cool shady chunk rock areas near the mouths of the creeks and out on the islands. During the over night hours the big rocks tend to cool and by morning the big rocks provide a nice cool little haven for baitfish as well as crawfish. Throwing a medium to deep diving crankbait in a shad or summer crawfish pattern around the shady rocky shoreline in the mornings is a lock for a few nice bass foraging for a morning meal.
After the morning and midday bite is over, it’s back to the dropshot on deeper structure for the rest of the day for me. If you can stand the heat, the Corps has been generating in the afternoon and into the evening lately which usually gets the dropshot bite going around structure on the main lake humps near the river channel. If the water is moving during generation, the bass are usually looking for a meal around the structure. If you’re new to the dropshot or looking for these main lake humps to find where the summer bass hang out, just look for shallower areas that are near the river channel. These are not visible to the naked eye so you need a good contour map to actually see the humps. You need to look for the humps that come up to 25-40 feet in depth and seek out the structure in these areas. If there is brush or structure on the hump, there’s bound to be bass. Soon we’ll have a solid thermocline out on the main lake and it will be time for our summer striper spoon bite so stay tuned for that. Water temps are in the mid 80’s right now.
Yesterday I took my friend Clint out for a 1 hour run to the humps at dawn. There has been some good surface activity on the humps and Clint had an hour before he went to work to catch a nice bass on topwater. Clint was throwing a blueback colored Whopper Plopper and nailed his personal best magnum spot. Here’s a pic of Clint’s spot and some random pictures from the last week including a few pictures of my new “Hump Buster” topwater plug.