John's Journal...


Spinner Baiting High Water

EDITOR'S NOTE: This week we’ll look at fishing high water with all the floods in the Gulf Coast area due to Hurricane Katrina and the rain dumped along the Eastern Seaboard by Hurricane Ophelia. Cliff Craft of Sugar Hill, Georgia, has been one of the country's leading anglers for a number of years. A professional fishing guide on Georgia's Lake Lanier as well as a tackle Click to enlargerepresentative, Craft travels the country teaching fishing seminars and competing in bass fishing tournaments, and enjoys fishing high water.

When the water is coming up, bass are easy to find. The bass will rapidly move from the creek channels, ditches and structure to the shallow water to feed when the water begins to rise. I believe the fish are following the bait into these newly-inundated areas. I have found that as the bass move up they tend to be extremely aggressive and are much easier to catch. Because the bass are shallow and aggressive, we can take them in many ways. My favorite bait when the water Click to enlargecomes up is the spinner bait. The bass will look for cover that holds bait as the water comes up. This cover may be bushes, vegetation, logs or treetops. But the fish most often will be caught next to the structure, and one of the best baits to work through cover is the spinner bait. This lure can be retrieved over weeds, through brush, down logs or off trash. There are very few places you cannot work a spinner bait.

I like a 1/4-ounce spinner bait with a single blade for fishing rising water. This lure can come over a stump or a patch of weeds or be dropped and helicoptered down beside the cover. That falling action really seems to cause bass to strike. I don't really think the color is important as long as the bait is either Click to enlargewhite or yellow. I have caught very few bass on any other colors. I don't use a stinger hook or a trailer hook when fishing rising water. There usually is so much trash in the water that the trailer hook stays fouled more often than not. I like to retrieve the bait so I can just see the blades under the water. However, if I come by a likely target (an area where I feel a bass may be) I like to kill the bait and let it free-fall to the bottom to trigger the strike. Most of the time the bass will hit on the fall. But sometimes if the fish are extremely aggressive, they will leave the cover to come after the bait. The best regions to find spinner bait fish seem to be brushy points and the backs of coves.


Check back each day this week for more about "HOW TO FISH WHEN THE WATER IS UP WITH CLIFF CRAFT"

Day 1: Spinner Baiting High Water
Day 2: Worming The Timber
Day 3: Tantalizing The Bass On Top, And Fishing Slow-Rising Cold Water
Day 4: Angling Flooded Grass
Day 5: Bassing Steep Rocky Banks, And Finding Bass On Big Floods And In High Water



Entry 318, Day 1