Think Quicker & Move Faster. Don’t Force It.
It was a smoking hot morning at the end of July and time for the last Anglers Choice Tournament at Buggs Island. During our pre-tournament prep, Josh and I had a few tactics that we were going to start our morning of fishing off with. Carolina Rig, crankbaits in 10-15 foot of water, Alabama Rig, and a drop shot rig. There were also talks of throwing an early morning Top-water Spook around the points. It sounded like a winning plan. At blast off we went straight to the bridge to flip a little. After about an hour we learned we would need to move on to our next tactic. We headed to the dam to look for schooling fish around the points. Wrong again. We spent some time looking for bait on our Lowrance HDS unit but found nothing. After fishing unproductive water you start to think to yourself “this just doesn’t seem right”, but you keep pushing forward. I just knew they had to be deep.
Four hours had passed we pulled into a hole with no sign of schooling fish. “IT’S NOT WORKING DEEP”, I thought to myself (It only took four hours to get that through my head). As we pulled up to the first boat-dock I told Josh we needed to keep them honest and keep flipping. At the first dock we immediately caught a non-keeper, followed by our first keeper of the day, at the second dock. “Look at all the Bait Fish!” We had messed up all morning. As the day went on from there on we only had two fish but saw 15-20 bass staged throughout the grass around shallow points. Had we thought quicker, moved faster, and hadn’t tried to force the deep bite we may have had time to find ways to catch the fish we were seeing.
I was frustrated with our performance and I kept asking myself why, until I finally got my answer.
Monday, as I went back to work from the long weekend of fishing, I came across an article by David Fritts regarding fishing during hot and dry weather, near the end of summer. As summer passes and we don’t have much rain fall, lake oxygen levels and current lack the stability to keep fish in deeper water. Bass can stand hot water however they cannot stand water without oxygen, causing them to move up, perfectly explaining our fishing over the weekend.
I hope this will help other anglers to understand that not all bass have to be deep and that just because it’s hot, fish will never be in shallow water. Had Josh and I made quicker, better decisions to stop forcing the deep bite, we may have been able to cover more water and the day could have been a success.