Stopping, Locking and Hot Afternoon Plopping

If there was nothing more to learn from this week, it would be to find the wind and find the fish and if you mixed a little wind with some midday sunlight, the topwater bite was on and plopping.

This was definitely a hot week out on the lake but the fishing was good if you could stand the heat. For me the best bite didn’t get started till late morning and I left them biting every afternoon this week. I’ve been without electronics this week so I had to adjust my strategy just a little. A lot of my favorite main lake humps we’re out of the question this week so I mainly stuck to the points and familiar stuff that I have been fishing all summer on my milk run. The topwater bite is still my most viable option and this week I caught some good ones, especially after introducing a new bait to the rotation late this week.

The week started with temps in the upper 80’s to low 90’s and the wind was light and variable but you could find patches of little choppy water from small random breezes on the water and if one of those little choppy areas just happen to be over a point or hump it was game on for me. Basically, when I left the creek in the morning my eyes were on full scan across the lake looking for the choppy areas over the points or humps I could fish. If I saw a place that looked good I would set the boat just upwind of the point and I’d make casts down wind with the topwater bait. That was the primary objective but if I had to fish into the wind I was probably going to use the Grande Ima because that thing casts a mile like a bullet into the wind and works well bringing it back down wind. If I fished down wind the popper was my primary bait from Monday till Wednesday and then the popper bite just died. I used the Ima a good bit after the popper bite died on Wednesday but the problem with the Ima is that the fish are seeing it a lot now and they aren’t totally committed to the bait so I was getting a lot of short strikes and near misses. It was getting frustrating to make all those casts with a bunch of blow ups but no fish to show for it. On Thursday I decided to put my custom whopper plopper back into the mix to throw the fish a curve ball. They had been on a steady diet of walking baits and popping baits but I hadn’t hit them with the whopper plopper since April so I put it to work in the same areas I was using the other baits. To my surprise, on the first cast with the little custom 110, I caught a decent fish and followed it up with fish after fish. The bite only got better as the day progressed and on Thursday afternoon it was blazing hot but the fish were responding to the plopper very well. I didn’t need another bait and lost count of the fish I was catching. I started shaking as many smaller fish off as I could, only landing the bigger fish if possible. The big question on Thursday evening was whether or not it would work on Friday. That was answered in short order yesterday as I picked right back up where I left off with the whopper plopper, they killed it yesterday too.

Sometimes for me it’s just a matter of introducing something different to these fish and they will react. Finding the right setup like looking for the areas of a disturbed surface is crucial to success also. Keep in mind, when you have chop on the water it distorts the fishes view when he’s looking up for a food source. The fish is far more likely to make a mistake and attack something that’s moving over a distorted surface than a smooth one. Understanding that and eliminating slack water will also eliminate wasted topwater casts. Another key is to use the ghost patterns now. The fish can also get confused and make a mistake with a lure that he can’t really figure out and a lot of times they keep coming after a clearer bait over a solid color bait, especially this time of year when the water is gin clear. Here’s a picture of the custom whopper plopper that did the damage this week. I used a hint of pearl on the sides and a pearl black color for the back of the bait.

I had a few fish over 4lbs this week and some of the explosions were magnificent! These fish are pushing bluebacks around all afternoon on the big water and in the creek. If you find the areas where the bass are chasing bluebacks like points and humps, there are a few different ways to catch these fish but I’m just running and gunning in the hot sun, not spending more than 10-15 minutes in one place and then moving on. I’m covering my skin and keeping hydrated in the hot afternoon sun and moving around frequently usually cools me down if I start getting hot. I’m guessing water temps are in the upper 80’s and the lake is just below full pool and dropping. The corps is generating in the hottest part of the day and what little wind we had the week was out of the west. Here’s a few pictures of my memorable fish this week and I also included a link to my “On the Cast Away Deck” video with some cast to catch footage this week.

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