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Hot Off the Press

Anglers need to think like a bass to catch a bass


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 bite quits.

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 the lizard."

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 Lake Eufaula.

Aug. 25, 2005