Bass - How to Catch 'Em in August and Early September with Mark Davis
Editor’s Note: Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Arkansas, has made over $200,000 in 2007 in tournament fishing. He’s won one FLW $100,000 tournament and currently, he’s in third place on the B.A.S.S. Southern Open circuit. Davis is a veteran. He won the Bassmaster’s Classic in 1995, and he’s one of the nation’s top pros. This week, he’ll tell us how to catch bass in a wide variety of lakes, when the weather’s hot, and when most fishermen are drinking iced tea and sitting by the air conditioner indoors.
Question: Mark, at this time of year, most hydroelectric plants are pulling current through a lake for 8 to 20 hours a day. How do you fish a lake like this, when the surface temperature is often well over 100 degrees?
Davis: A good example of lakes like this are the Coosa River lakes in Alabama and the Tennessee River lakes in Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky. All these lakes have hydroelectric-generating plants on them. There’s basically two ways to catch bass on these kinds of lakes – fish extremely shallow and extremely deep.
Question: What baits do you catch bass on in shallow water on these kinds of lakes when the surface temperature is often over 100 degrees?
Davis: You can catch bass on a variety of baits at this time of year on these power-plant lakes. You can catch them on top-water lures, buzzbaits, spinner baits or flipping.
Question: Mark, most people don’t believe you can catch bass in extremely-shallow water at this time of year, when the weather’s very dry. Why are the bass in shallow water, and how are you catching them?
Davis: The most-important question you asked was why the bass are in shallow water. The reason bass move in shallow in the summertime is to find oxygen. There’s more oxygen near the surface than there is in deep water in many areas at this time of year, especially during a sustained period of hot, dry weather on river-type lakes where you find power plants. There’s not much oxygen in deep water until the current comes in the lake. If you look over tournament results, you’ll see that there have been many tournaments won in August and September in water 3-feet deep or less. George Cochran won a Bassmaster Classic on Alabama’s Lay Lake in August in water less than 3-feet deep.
Question: So, how would you catch a shallow-water bass at this time of year?
Davis: You have to look at the cover available for you to fish. You could have wood and shallow vegetation, and sometimes even when there’s not any cover, you can catch bass shallow, if you locate the shad or the baitfish in shallow water, because the bass will be relating to shad rather than the cover. My favorite lure when I’m fishing either hot weather and shallow water is a shallow-running crankbait like the Strike King Series 1S in either a shad or a chartreuse color. I’ll fish that little shallow crankbait around logs, wood, stumps, shallow boat docks or any form of cover I can find. I’ll be fishing that crankbait on either 12- or 14-pound-test line. My favorite color in off-colored water will be chartreuse with a blue back. My favorite color in clear water will be pearl with a green back or Strike King’s watermelon shad.
Question: You said there were two ways to catch bass in a power-plant lake – shallow and deep. How do you catch bass deep in a lake like this?
Davis: The first thing you have to do, if you’re going to fish for deep fish, is call the lake authority and get a generation schedule that tells you what time the power plant should start and stop generating water. You also need to know how many units they’ll be running at different times of the day and when these units are coming on and going off. The next secret to catching these fish is to be at the spot you want to fish before the current comes on. You want to be set up and ready to start casting as soon as the water starts to move, because the bass will usually start biting the instant the current starts moving. Your fishing day won’t be controlled by when the sun rises or sets, but it will be controlled by when the current’s turned on and turned off. The kinds of places you want to fish when you’re fishing for these hot-weather, deep-water bass will be river ledges, main-river points and the mouth of a tributary that dumps into the river. Your best bet will be drop-offs with stumps or brush on them. If you’re fishing a lake like Guntersville in north Alabama that’s primarily a grass lake, you may be looking for deep underwater grass on the river channel.
Question: What baits will you be fishing?
Davis: My favorite will be a big, deep-diving crankbait like the Strike King Series 6 crankbaits in either a shad or a chartreuse color. In stained water, I want chartreuse blue. In clear water, I want a color like watermelon shad. I want to crank these baits down deep and bump them off the cover as the lures run with the current. I’ll probably be fishing these lures on 10-pound-test line to allow the lure to drop to its maximum depth.
Tomorrow: Grass Lakes