Anglers need to think like a bass to catch a
Outdoors By JOHN PHILLIPS
For more than 40 years, Jackie Thompson of Eufaula
has fished and guided on Lake Eufaula and generally spends 120 to
150 days on the water. On Tuesday, Thompson discussed how to top-water
fish in the early morning at Lake Eufaula at this time of the year
for bass success. Today he's talking about what to do when the top-water
After 1-1/2 to 2 hours of top-water fishing, Thompson says you
have to think like a bass to find and catch bass. When the sun comes
up and starts to heat up the grass, bass will move out of the grass
and move to the lip of the break closest to the grass. The bass
will hold on a deep-water drop-off until the temperature pushes
them off the edge of the break and into the deeper, cooler water.
Thompson likes to fish that first drop-off with a Texas-rigged plastic
worm with a 3-ounce sinker because he really wants to feel the drop-off.
"I'll use the Spike-It Blood Fusion Worm in the green-pumpkin
color," Thompson explains. "I'll pull the worm to the
edge of the drop-off and then feed the worm line to allow it to
free fall down the drop, if I'm fishing a steep drop-off."
Often the bass will take the worm on the fall. When Thompson sees
his line jump, he sets the hook. Thompson says generally you can
catch bass on the first breakline for about 30 minutes to an hour
before the bass will move out to deeper water. Next Thompson motors
out to the main creek channel or the main river ledges and fishes
drop-offs 15- to 20-feet deep for bass.
"I'll use my depth finder to look at the underwater ledge
to see where the bass are positioned," Thompson says. "I
fish some areas with standing timber, and I'll often locate those
bass suspended off the ledges in the tops of those underwater trees.
When I see the fish holding like this, I'll fish with a 1-1/2-ounce
Ledgebuster spinner bait on top of the drop-off before letting it
fall down into the edge of the timber.
"But, if the bass are holding on the edge of the break and
not in the top of the timber, I'll fish a Spike-It Blood Fusion
plastic lizard in green pumpkin or Junebug colors and Carolina rig
it on 20-pound-test Mossy Oak Fishing Line. If there's current,
I'll fish the downriver side of the drop-off. Many times, I'll fish
points with drop-offs behind them. If there's a strong current coming
through the lake, I'll position my boat on the downcurrent side
of the drop-off, cast to the top of the drop-off, pull my lizard
down the drop-off and allow it to fall off the ledge on the back
side of the point. I'm looking for a good current break when fishing
Thompson Carolina rigs by using 20-pound-test line for his main
line and putting a 3/4-ounce bullet sinker up the line, a barrel
swivel below the sinker and 18 inches of 10- or 14-pound-test line
from the barrel swivel to the hook and worm. Thompson likes fishing
the lighter leader because he doesn't think the bass can see the
smaller line in clear-water conditions like they can heavier line.
Thompson also mentions that he fishes this Carolina rig around
a number of stumps, treetops and bushes sunk in deep water.
"If I get hung, I want to be able to break off my leader but
save my sinker, barrel swivel and main line."
Try these tactics this weekend, particularly if you're fishing