Stop, Top and Drop 7-24 to 7-30 Report

IMAG1822The title just about sums it up for the week. For me it’s been nothing but running and gunning brushpiles, mostly offshore and a few long points and flats mixed in. Early in the week my choice of baits was pretty simple, throwing the spin baits over and around structure followed by the drop shot when marking groups of fish underneath the boat. Early in the week the weather was stagnant with very little wind, plenty of humidity and a blazing afternoon sun. The afternoon heat was stifling and I kept moving out of necessity to cool down after fishing the structure in dead calm waters. One bonus we had was that the Corps was generating in the afternoons which seemed to activate the fish and get them moving around and feeding. Early in the week I took a friend out that I had met on the BFL trail so we did a little spin baiting and drop shot for a great day for numbers but not much for size. We totaled between 35-40 fish but nothing bigger that that 2-3lb mark. One spark of life that really got me excited was the topwater bite out over flats while they were generating. My buddy had to do a job interview over the phone while we were fish so I drifted across a flat kinda out of the way of all the boat traffic and it just so happened that the flat we were drifting across came alive with fish feeding one bluebacks. It was very near deeper water and the current from the generation was pulling the bluebacks across the flat. The bass were schooling all around us and I was picking them off with a 2 punch combination of topwater and drop shot. This time of year the topwater can be slow and with no moving air to produce a chop on the water the fish aren’t fooled by the topwater baits as easily. When the fish get active during the generation periods they tend to push more bait to the surface and feed on it. I saw surface temps topping out at 89-90 degrees on Tuesday afternoon right before they started generating. My buddy was conducting his phone interview while drop shotting. At one point I had 2 fish at one time on my Emerald Popper but we couldn’t get them netted before one shook off. It was a great day for numbers.

On Wednesday I noticed they were generating in the early evening so I called a buddy, Mercer, to see if he wanted to make an evening run during the generation period. He was able to meet me at the ramp after work at 5:30pm so I picked him up and we made a bee line for the flat that was loaded with bass from a day earlier. I knew we didn’t have much time so we needed to make the best of it. Mercer likes to drop and the drop shot was a lock during generation. Anything that moved across the flat was going o get eaten by the feeding bass. We got to the flat and started drifting and it didn’t take long till we started marking fish and catching on the drop shot. Mercer busted a good one right away and then followed it up with a striper on the drop shot which is rare in my boat. We caught some good numbers on the flat and we were back at the dock before 8pm.

I didn’t fish Thursday because I needed to get caught up on work but I had signed up for a charity tournament on Saturday so my plan was to fish on Friday and figure out a pattern for Saturday. I launched at first light on Friday and started out throwing moving baits over brush and since there was a little breeze blowing from an approaching front I broke out the topwater popper. It was before dawn and I could clearly see the thermocline on my graph from about 22 feet down through 40-45. Surface temps hadn’t heated up and they were reading mid 80’s. Just as the sun broke the tree line on the lake I caught my first topwater fish. I was on a long point and there was the perfect chop blowing across the point. When it comes to chop and the popper it’s like Goldie Locks and the three bears. There is water that is too chopping and there is water that is not choppy enough but if you can find that right blend of chop blowing into or across a point your chances of catching a topwater bass goes way up. Friday was shaping up to be one of those days so I just started running and gunning offshore structure as well as long flats and points with the popper. It was almost like every stop over structure had a bull spot swimming around it and once you caught the bull spot the topwater would shut down. That’s when I’d break out the drop shot and come at them with that. At the end of the morning I had amassed several nice spots on the topwater popper and a few more good ones on the drop shot. I was fishing with Lanier Jim, aka the drop shot Jedi Master in the tournament the next day and I felt like that between the drop shot and the possibility of the topwater bite going strong we could do well in the tournament.

We got off on tournament morning without any problems and we were running south from Little Hall. When we past by Port Royale, across from Pelican Pete’s we saw a pleasure boat that had run up on the reef over night. It looked like they hit the reef pretty hard but the boat was sitting upright so maybe everyone was ok. LJ and I just spent the day dropping and popping away, hitting brush, flats and offshore structure. We caught a lot of fish during the day and had a blast. LJ was dropping his fruity worms and I was chunking the popper like a mad man. We both caught fish and managed to bring a 3 fish limit of 8.07 to the scales. The top 4 places had between 8-9.21lbs with us bring up 4th at 8.07. All in all it was a good week and I expect this kind of pattern to be the norm for a while. Stay tuned and hopefully I’ll find a few stripers willing to bite the artificals soon. I really haven’t paid much attention to the stripers lately but hopefully that will change soon. Here’s a few pics from the week.
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