It’s been a rough 2 weeks with a bout of bronchitis and the lose of a dear family member and my shop mate for the last few years, our cat Blacky. It took him 16 years to used up those 9 lives but after a 2 year battle with diabetes, he passed yesterday. I decided I could be sick and depressed at home or out on the lake so I I’ve been hitting the lake. A few things are starting to change right now and all we need is a good cold front to come through and drop the temps and humidity. Right now the heat of summer is hanging in there like a hair in a biscuit and even though the days are getting shorter the surface temps are still in the upper 80’s with no relief in site. I’ve been spending most of the time messing with the bass but I’ve thrown in some striper fishing out over deep water. For the bass, not much has changed but I have started to mix in some cranking on the big natural chunk rock piles on points and I’ve found a few nice fish willing to hit a crankbait early in the morning. My philosophy is that the early morning rocks are providing the bait and fish a nice little cool haven to hang out in and some nice big bass are foraging the shallow rocks in search of crawfish, bream and shad. I would look for this bite to get stronger and stronger and it won’t be long till the fish start running the shad up into the shallows. When this happens there are 2 crankbaits I like to use, the first is the DT-10 in a shad pattern. It’s been a favorite of ours in the fall and the perfect bait for bass on the rocks when they are pushing shad into the shallows early in the morning. Here’s a picture of the crankbait, it’s definitely one you need for the collection in Sept. My second “go to” crankbait is my old favorite and one I make in the shop, the DT-10 knockoff Sand Key crank. Here’s a picture of that one.
Believe it or not, I’m still getting some bass on the topwater and just yesterday I nailed a good one on the surface throwing a popper. My buddy has be getting some good ones on the surface with a blueback pattern Whopper Plopper over brush but you have to make a lot of casts to call up the topwater fish right now. The surface bite is only going to get better and by late September we should see a lot more fish rising to feed on the shad pods and bluebacks swimming on or near the surface. The key to calling up topwater fish right now is a little bit of chop on the water. With a little chop to distort the surface in gin clear water you can fool the bass where as with no chop they can see the topwater bait better and usually just swirl on the bait without eating it. Most of the bass we’re catching on the surface are bigger fish in the 2-4lb range right now so it’s worth making a few casts on points and over brush.
If you’ve been out lately, you’ve probably seen more and more bass suspended above brush piles in 5-10 feet of water. These bass can be frustrating but a couple baits that have been working for us is a spy bait and a little 1.5 squarebill in a shad pattern. I’ve also had some success with a shallow suspending LC Pointer jerkbait in a blueback pattern and it makes a good follow up bait for surfacing fish that refuse to resurface for a topwater bait.
The drop shot bite is still going strong but frustration can set in with more window shoppers and chasers than eaters on the drop shot but we can still get good numbers with a bigger bass or two mixed in, mainly in the afternoons and evenings. The biggest mystery for the drop shot is the color selection. A month ago the fish were killing the Aarons Morning Dawn 4-5 inch worms and I wiped out Hammonds for every bag they had. Since then the bass have been eating the lighter colored baits and I’ve been catching a few on flukes as well as the worms.
For the stripers, I’ve been using a Ben Parker spoon and a 2-3 ounce bucktail with a 5-6 inch paddletail in a chartreuse over white pattern. For the spoon, it’s as simple as dropping it through the fish and bringing back up with a steady retrieve. With the bucktail/paddletail combo I’ve been having a blast enticing the fish to bite it by using a yoyo pattern while watching it on my graph. With this technique I’ve been dropping it down as deep as I can get it and getting the fish to chase it. The stripers are very curious of this bait and if I can get multiple fish to chase it, I just keep bring it up and down between 20 feet and 60-80 feet and just keep going up and down with it until a fish reacts. I’ve come to the conclusion that these stripers are very competitive and if I can get a few fish to chase it, one of the fish will inevitably get aggressive and take a whack at it. It’s a challenge but a lot fun to watch all this unfold in real time on the graph. Here’s a little video using the bait and a pic of a nice one I caught this week.
If trolling is your thing, there are plenty of stripers to be caught with leadcore right now and a variety of baits will work for that. I’ve got some older videos on my YouTube page that will explain and demonstrate how the leadcore works. Just go to YouTube and type in Jim Farmer or jfarm44 and look at some summers past for my trolling videos.
We’re right on the verge of weather changes and pattern changes and I’m more than ready for cooler weather. Stay cool out there