Hudson column: Go deep for summer bass
It’s time to start hitting the bottom when it comes to bass fishing in the summer on High Rock and Badin lakes.
Sure, you can still catch them shallow early in the morning and early in the evening, but chances are as soon as the sun gets high you are going to have to move away from the bank and start getting your lures down deep.
By all means, keep fishing shallow if it is cloudy, according to Mike Davis of New London, a Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League pro who has grown up fishing the Yadkin chain of lakes. “But when the fish are telling you they are not shallow, then you have to go out and fish deep.”
That usually means dragging a Carolina rig across the bottom. It is a good way to catch fish in the summertime when not much else is working. A Carolina rig is simply a worm hook with about two feet of leader, a swivel, a bead above the swivel to protect the knot, and a little bit of lead or tungsten weight to get the bait down.
Once you’re rigged up, get way back off the bank and start fishing the depths between 5 and 15 feet of water.
Cast shallow and drag it deep, keeping it in contact with the bottom. The hard part is feeling the bite. That is where Davis is really good.
“I like to hold my rod tip up high,” he said. “Palm the (baitcasting) reel with your left hand and keep the line between your fingers so you can feel the bite. Just move the bait with little twitches of the rod tip. Then, when the line gets heavy or when you feel something, simply wind down to the fish and then sweep the rod back to set that hook.”
You have stay in touch with your bait and crawl it across the bottom or use little hops. But you want to be feeling the bottom throughout the retrieve.
Using this method, Davis can catch bass that are still actively feeding but are hiding from the bright sunshine. Bass don’t have eyelids and they don’t like bright light. They also have a harder time ambushing bait in bright light situations.
Davis loves a Zoom brush hog on the business end of his hook. And he even applies a little bit of chartreuse die on the ends of the bait to give it a little more visibility.
Like most bass fishermen, Davis would rather fish a faster lure such as a crank bait, spinner bait or even a jig in water less than five feet deep. He stays shallow under certain conditions, such as in low-light conditions or when there is wind blowing.
“Wind is a great bite,” Davis said. “The fish feel like they are not as nervous. When the water is calm, the fish feel everything in the water, every movement, every sound. With some wind they get a little brave and you can catch them easier and you don’t have to be as quiet.”
Otherwise, fish slow and deep for more and bigger fish this summer.
Glenn Hudson is a freelance fishing writer based in Salisbury. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.