Shake and Bake in the Chop

This week I started my mornings offshore in search of a few things that needed to come together to make the topwater bite work for me. I would leave the creek about 8am and look for the areas of choppy water out on the vast main lake. Luckily, I was blessed with the ability to see well at a distance in my later years so I’ve been able to find the choppy areas for a great distance on the waters surface. It seemed like every morning there were these random areas of choppy water where there were areas of breezes across the lake. When these random breezes and patches of choppy water would collide with offshore humps or points with brush, that’s the areas I was targeting. If it was a hump or point and it had chop on it I would fish it because the chop seemed to distort the fishes view of the bait and they were more apt to commit to the bait rather than just swipe at it or ignore it. These patches of chop or random breezes would just drift around the lake in different areas in the mornings so I would just jump from one spot to the next following the breeze. The only 2 baits I threw this week was a custom painted pearl white Sebile and the Azuma Z Dog walking bait made by Profound Outdoors. It’s really all I needed to catch some nice beefy fish. I didn’t score big numbers but I did score some big fish. Here’s a picture of the 2 baits I used this week.

Once I found the areas I wanted to fish I generally approached the area from up wind and made my casts down wind while letting the boat drift as much as I could without using the trolling motor and without the noise of waves slapping the side of the boat. The trick to making the Z Dog work was to make a long cast down wind and immediately skip it across the water erratically for 5-10 feet and then a normal walk for a few feet and then skip and walk it erratically again and slow it back down. The splashing from working the bait erratically would get the fishes attention and they would react to it. If I just made a cast and walked the dog normally I would get far less bites. It seemed like the fish would react to the bait a lot better if I shook the bait and made it splash periodically. I named it my “Shake and Bake” pattern with the little Z Dog and I generally brought the bait back up wind kinda “against the grain” of the chop so to speak.

Another thing that was happening in these areas if I stayed around long enough was periodic schooling. That was a bonus and if I was in the right place at the right time I could score a nice fish with the right cast. If I saw fish schooling in the area I was fishing I would immediately jump on the trolling motor and get within casting distance as quick as possible. If I could get there within 5-10 seconds I could usually get the fish to come back up after the Z Dog if they had quit schooling. If I could get my bait into the area while they were actively schooling they would generally smash the Z Dog within seconds. I would say about 60-70% of my fish this week were from actively schooling fish and the other 30-40% was from calling the fish up over or around brush. The key was just about always the chop and the erratic behavior of the walking bait.

A lot of times the chop would kind of fizzle out while I was there and most of the time that’s when I would head out looking for other patches of chop. I would also take into account what bass boats were where and I didn’t really fish areas where boats had been recently. The whole thing was like an orchestrated dance that moved with the chop out on the main lake in the morning before I would head back to the creek to finish off my day fishing the Z dog over brush in the creek. I will say this, I caught some nice fish in the afternoons in the creek this week but I caught and lost some monsters offshore on the main lake.

The other bait I used this week was the pearl white Sebile. I sanded down a couple of 125 slow sinking Sebile’s I had lying around and repainted them my pearl white color pattern. This is a pattern I’ve used in the fall for a few years now and it has been money for me on overcast days and low light. This week I used it early in the morning out on the offshore stuff while the fish were actively schooling and I could make a cast to them. My Sebile was just about as deadly as the Z Dog with the fish chasing bluebacks on the surface. Here’s a picture and a video from Tuesday with a nice offshore bass on the custom painted Sebile. We had some good cloud cover Tuesday morning and it was a perfect time to use the custom Sebile. The bass in the first picture below spit up the blueback in the second picture and a video of catching the fish below.

It was pretty simple this week, find the chop on top of the brush on points and humps in the creek and offshore and use the shake and bake method over and around the brush for a few nice fish. When they were actively schooling on schools of bluebacks they were so lit up they would have probably hit a cat turd if you painted it white but out of convenience I used the Z Dog or white pearl Sebile this week. That’s all I’ve got from this week. Good luck!

The lake level is a foot above full pool and as I predicted the corps is moving a lot more water right now so the lake level is very slowly dropping. Surface temps are in the upper 70’s as I type this but that shouldn’t last much longer. Here’s a few pictures of some of my memorable fish this week.

2 thoughts on “Shake and Bake in the Chop

  1. Pingback: The Law of Averages – Cast Away's Blog

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