When conditions change, so must fishing tactics
Outdoors By JOHN PHILLIPS
Jackie Thompson of Eufaula has fished and guided on
Lake Eufaula on the Alabama/Georgia border for more than 40 years.
He spends 120 to 150 days on the water each year. This vast experience
has given him keen observation abilities and enabled him to pick
up quickly on changing conditions to adapt his fishing tactics to
Jackie Thompson says that at the end of August and the first of
September, two patterns will produce bass on Lake Eufaula. "Because
Lake Eufaula has a lot of grass in it, fishermen can get a really
great top-water bite going for the first couple of hours in the
morning and the last few hours in the afternoon. Then, after the
top-water bite dies, fishing ledges and drop-offs really will pay
Early in the morning, Thompson enjoys fishing grass mats and hydrilla
beds with a Spike-It Bog Frog on 20-pound-test Mossy Oak Classic
Thompson first looks for grass mats close to deep water to fish.
"The bass want easy access from the shade of the grass mats
to the deeper water as the temperature in the day starts to heat
up," Thompson explains. "If I can find a grass bed on
a flat with a 10-foot ditch running beside or close to the grass
bed or a creek channel only 6 to 10 feet from the grass bed, I know
I've got a great place to fish the frog."
Thompson doesn't start fishing the grass mat immediately. He stays
away from the mat by using his trolling motor for 10 to 15 minutes
and watches what's happening. He feels that often people who fish
grass mats start fishing before they know where to fish. Thompson
looks at the edge of the grass mat to see if he can spot shad flipping
on the edge of the mat or see movement under the mat where bass
may be chasing shad or other baitfish.
"If you watch a grass mat and don't see any movement under
or on the edge of the grass, more than likely, you won't catch any
bass there," Thompson says. "But, last week I pulled up
to a grass mat to watch it. I didn't see anything for the first
10 minutes. Just as I was about to crank my big engine, I spotted
one shad flipping on the surface on the edge of the grass. I picked
up my frog and started catching bass like they were a blue light
special at K-Mart."
When Thompson saw a shad skip on the outer edge of the grass, he
cast to the surface of the grass and worked the frog out to the
edge of the grass, which was when the bass blew up on the bait.
"I let the frog sit still for about a five-count," Thompson
explains. "Then I moved it quickly with a chugging action back
toward the boat. I like a black Bog Frog with a pearl belly right
at daylight, and then as the day lightens up, I like the Blood Fusion
Thompson set the hook hard and depended on the strength of his
line to hook the bass and get the fish out of the grass and into
the boat. The bass that Thompson and his clients caught last week
weighed 2- to 4-pounds each, and they took 14 bass from that one
spot in the grass.
On Thursday, we'll learn what to do when the top-water bite ends
at this time of the year.