Tag Archive for summer bass fishing

Summer Fishing on Table Rock Lake

By Marc Rogers


Fishing for bass on Table Rock Lake from early to late summer can be very frustrating for many anglers. This impoundment has very clear water and the bass seldom relate to the shallow water cover and structure this lake has. Even during the spawn bass often bed in water as deep as ten feet due the extremely clear water.  It is difficult for many anglers to locate bass in Table Rock Lake because most of the bass relate to cover and structure that is away from the banks.

After fishing with a Table Rock Lake angler I have learned some tips to share on catching suspended Spotted (Kentucky) Bass when many anglers fail to get a bite most days. Neil Huskey has been fishing Table Rock Lake for the past 30 years and has competed in many tournaments on the lake. He has agreed to share his knowledge on how to better the chances of productive fishing days on Table Rock.

I have had the pleasure of being employed by the same company with Neil for several years and worked right beside him for much of the time before he retired a few years ago. Also, I had the opportunity to fish from his boat on this lake and learned enough to not have to suffer through fishless days as I did before Neil shared his techniques with me of fishing Table Rock. He can, more often than not, catch many keeper sized spotted bass by using the techniques he has shared for this article.

Neil reports he targets the suspended fish after the spawn when they have moved to deeper water to recover form the rigors of the spring ritual. The first place to look for the bass is in 15 – 20 feet around submerged trees.  It is best to have a very sensitive graph to find this cover and possibly the fish around the cover. The sensitivity must be turned up high to see the detail and fish around the cover. At times the fish still will not appear on the graph display but they can still be caught by using a four inch worm or grub fished vertically around the trees. Neil says most of the time an angler will not feel the bite and recommends line watching for this technique because the only indication of a bite will be that the line stops before the lure has had time to reach the bottom.

As the summer progresses Neil suggests anglers should move out to the main lake points where submerged trees can be found at 80 – 100 feet deep with the top of the trees 20 – 40 feet below the water surface. These fish will also be hard to see with electronics because they blend in with the trees they are relating to. The most productive way to catch these bass is to make a vertical presentation with a four-inch worm just a couple feet above the top of the trees. With the sensitivity turned up the four-inch worm is visible on the graph as it falls.

Sharing the boat with Neil I have watched him just hold this worm and jig head combination still with only the movement of the boat causing any movement of the lure. When the fish are aggressive Neil says they will move towards the bait so fast it will created a line or streak on the graph display just before the bite occurs. However, many times the fish are not aggressive and will slowly move towards the bait and stay near it several minutes before finally biting.  Usually when they are not very aggressive the bite is very light.

The tackle of choice for Neil is a seven-foot medium-action spinning rod with a large spool reel. He uses 6 – 8 pound test line and this rod and reel combination allow for a solid and quick hook set.  He recommends the drag be set extremely tight so it doesn’t slip when setting the hook with 30 – 60 feet of line below the boat.

When fishing this way in deep water it is much better to back reel instead of relying on a drag system. Neil says “as soon as I hook a fish I bring it up about six feet and shift my anti-reverse to off in the process. When a fish makes a strong run I can back reel to keep from having the fish break off on the light line. When done properly a big fish can’t break you off in open water.”

During the middle of the summer when the water temperature on the surface is in the upper 80’s to low 90’s it is best to locate the shad that have began moving to the flats, bluff ends or channel swings. To locate productive water during these conditions Neil slowly runs his boat over these areas with the graph on looking for big schools of shad. The suspended bass will be either just under these shad or right among the school of shad feeding.  There are two productive techniques for catching these fish.  One is the vertical presentation with a four-inch worm or grub on a jig head and the other is using a heavy spoon. With the spoon it is best to move back from the shad and cast past them. The angler should count down the depth and use a lift and fall retrieve all the way through the area while keeping the lure at the depth the bass are holding. It is wise to use a medium heavy casting outfit with 14 – 20 pound test line when casting a spoon.

These techniques can be duplicated on most any deep – clear impoundment when the fish suspend. When beating the banks doesn’t work every angler should give this a try.

Early Summer Bass Fishing Techniques

By Marc Rogers

Early summer is a great time for bass fishing.  As a general rule bass are still located in shallow water.  Those that have started the summer migration towards deeper water are still staging on the first deep water drop offs near the spring spawning areas.  Since not all bass spawn at the same time there are aggressive fish still willing to entertain you.  Bass at this time are often scattered from shallow to semi-deep water.

Finding bass in the early summer is best accomplished by using lures that will cover a lot of water quickly.  Spinnerbaits and crankbaits are ideal for this task.  Spinnerbaits can be worked slow or fast and deep or shallow.  Crankbaits are effective due to the baitfish imitating characteristics.  Bass are actively eating baitfish during these conditions.  Choose crankbaits that will run six feet or deeper to take advantage of their diving abilities.  Your spinnerbait will cover any depths less than six feet.

When you are targeting shallow water bass they will likely be near submerged cover and holding tight to it.  This submerged cover provides ideal ambush points for feeding bass.  Spinnerbaits allow you to cover the shallow water quickly and come through it easily without hanging up.

Crankbaits are a better choice for covering the depth change areas close to the shallow water.  Choose a crankbait that will dig into the bottom composition for the best results.  This offers two advantages to anglers.  First, it allows you to feel the bottom with the lure and determine if rock, mud or submerged cover is present.  Second, a crankbait is very effective in luring a reaction strike when it deflects off the bottom or cover.

Once an area has been covered with fast moving lures, slowing down with bottom bouncing lures is effective in convincing the less active bass to bite.  Jigs and plastic worms are two great choices for less active bass.  A plastic worm rigged Texas style is an easy lure for many beginners and novice anglers to use.  A retrieve of slowly dragging it on the bottom or using a lift and drop presentation are the most popular and effective.  When using the lift and drop technique remember that slightly lifting your rod tip will cause the lure to move about six inches under water making less better than more when lifting your lure.

Jigs are one of the most effective lures for imitating crawfish.  A skirted jig paired with a plastic trailer can be used by dragging, lifting and dropping or swam back to the angler.  Jigs come in many head styles and can get confusing which ones are appropriate for different situations.  As a rule of thumb, a football head jig will be less likely to hang up if the bottom is comprised of mostly rocks.  Football heads have a wide footprint without any pointed features near the hook eye to get caught in and under rocks.  Also, the design keeps the hook positioned up and away from the bottom.

Football jigs are ideal for dragging slowly on gravel points void of much cover.  Dragging the jig kicks up debris on the bottom imitating a crawfish searching for food.  Generally a slow retrieve is the most productive but there are times when quickly lifting the jig from the bottom will generate a reaction strike from a bass.  The quick movement imitates a crawfish fleeing from a predator.

Brush jig are better for heavy cover presentation where the pointed and narrow head design provides for better penetration into the cover.  Their design makes them more likely to hang up in rocks due to the pointed head design.  When heavy grass, weeds and wood cover are present this style of jig head is the best choice.

Most time brush jigs are more effective when presented in a vertical manner.  Short casts, flipping or pitching jigs into heavy cover and slowly lifting and dropping the bait will often entice a reaction strike.  Moving the jig slowly is key to this technique.

Early summer bass fishing tend to scatter bass from shallow to deep water.  Mix up your lure choice and presentations until you find what works for the current conditions.  Once you establish what is effective you can try this in different areas of the lake or stream.