The summer heat is about to hit us hard, and of course, the fish know it too. We are going to be blasted with humidity along with some triple digit temps thrown in. Most anglers will be fishing early mornings or late evening hours, and a few will be fishing at night to avoid the heat better. So what baits do you want to have tied on your lines? If you are going after crappie, it’s pretty simple — jigs or minnows over brush piles in 18 to 20 feet of water or along wooded areas with creek channels.
Along these same areas, you can find bass. If you are after bass, you can fish fast or slow, covering a lot of water and crankbaits will do the job. After you catch a fish, follow up with a jig or soft plastic which requires a slow presentation. I like to cover as much water as I can in a day’s fishing, using the run-and-gun method, with a medium (15 foot range crank) and a 20-plus deep diving or big lip crank. With these baits I try to work every main lake point that I can. I like to hit these points along the sides and out on the points.
This method worked last weekend and made my day a success on a very crowded lake. I started early with topwaters, squarebills and bladed jigs, but with no luck. Then I went deeper with a 15-plus and 20-plus crank running and gunning every main lake point I could hit.
Sometimes you might catch two or three bass off a point and other times you have to hit three or four points before you get a hit or catch a fish. If you catch two or more bass and the bite quickens, then go to your Carolina Rig and give the fish a different look and sometimes this fires up the school. This method has worked for me more years than I want to count.
You’ll also find using the 20-plus crank, the fish will be better quality than other baits. Remember, if you locate fish in the 15- to 20-foot range, you want to fish your bait above the fish because they’ll be feeding up because they can see better up than they can see down. The location of the fish you see on your electronics will tell you if you need a 15- or a 20-plus crank. Also, you need to think about your rod because it’s so important to this method. If you are using 20-plus baits, a shorter handle rod will really take a toll on your wrist. A long handle on an 8-foot or longer rod placed along your side will give you relief and you will be able to fish all day. You can also cast farther and be able to keep your bait in the strike zone and that gives you a much better chance.
This is what works for me and if you give it a chance, I believe it will work for you too.
Don’t forget that sunscreen, plenty of water and cooler, light colored clothes. Be safe and I’ll be seeing you on the points.
Bob Sandlin: Water lightly stained; 85 degrees; 0.22 feet high. Black bass are good on jigs, senkos, crankbaits and plastic worms in 8 to 15 feet near brushy coves, rocky shorelines and docks. Plastic frogs and topwater plugs are still working early in 2 to 6 feet in or near grass lines and lily pads. Crappie are good on jigs and minnows in brush piles and standing timber. Catfish are excellent on earthworms, live bait and blood bait in 4 to 12 feet.
Caddo: Water lightly stained; 78-82 degrees,1.30 feet high. Largemouth bass are good in shallow water near trees and vegetation in 2 to 6 feet fishing plastic creatures and frogs, topwater and rattle baits. Crankbaits, bladed jigs, and Texas-rigged plastic worms in deeper water near structure are working as the day warms. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs near brush piles and timber in 15 to 25 feet. White bass are excellent on jigs and small crankbaits in the main lake. Chain Pickerel are fair. Catfish are excellent on prepared bait and live bait in 6 to 15 feet.
Cooper: Water lightly stained; 85 degrees; 0.15 feet high. Largemouth bass are fair on Texas rigged plastic craws, crankbaits, and jigs in 7 to 18 feet. The white bass are excellent in 12 to 30 feet with slabs, jigs and jigging spoons over humps and flats. Crappie are good with minnows in standing timber and brush piles. Catfish are good on live and cut bait in 4 to 16 feet.
Fork: Water lightly stained; 85 degrees; 0.07 feet high. Largemouth bass are good on plastic creatures, bladed jigs and crankbaits near drop-offs, brush, grass lines and points in 8 to 12 feet’. White and yellow bass are excellent in the deeper water of main lake points, flats and humps. Crappie are good on jigs and minnows in 12 to 20 feet in brush piles and standing timber. Catfish are good on cut bait and punch bait in 4 to 15 feet.
Sulphur Springs: Water lightly stained; 85 degrees; 0.12 feet’ high. Largemouth bass are fair on plastic worms and bladed jigs along grass lines, drop-offs, and creek banks. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs in 12 to 22 feet. Catfish are good on cut shad and live bait in 6 to 15 feet.
Tawakoni: Water lightly stained; 81 to 84 degrees; 0.59 feet high. Catfish are excellent on live bait, blood bait and cut bait 3 to 12 feet along brushy shorelines and rip-rap. Largemouth bass are good on spinnerbaits, plastic worms and crankbaits in 6 to 12 feet. White bass and hybrid stripers are excellent on swimbaits and slabs. Watch for diving birds to mark feeding schools or use sonar to locate fish feeding in schools of bait over deeper points, creek beds, and humps in the main lake. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs around brush piles, docks and marinas.
Broken Bow: Elevation normal, water 81 degrees. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass good on Alabama rigs, crankbaits and plastic baits around brush structure, points and standing timber. Crappie fair on jigs and minnows around brush structure and standing timber.
Hugo: Elevation above normal, water 69 degrees and murky. Blue, channel and flathead catfish good on chicken liver, cut bait, dough bait, live bait, punch bait, shad and sunfish below the dam, along channels, creek channels, main lake, river channel and shorelines. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs below the dam, around brush structure, channels, creek channels, main lake, river channel and standing timber.
Lower Mountain Fork: Elevation normal, water clear. Rainbow trout good on caddis flies, PowerBait, tube jigs and worms along channels, rocks and spillway.
McGee Creek: Elevation normal, water 78 degrees and murky. Largemouth and spotted bass fair on crankbaits, jerk baits, spinnerbaits and topwater lures along flats, main lake, points and in coves. Crappie fair on jigs and minnows around brush structure, creek channels and standing timber; best with use of a live scope to spot fish.
Pine Creek: Elevation above normal, water clear. Largemouth bass good on jigs, topwater lures and worms along brush structure, points and in coves. Crappie fair on jigs around brush structure. Channel catfish good on chicken liver along the spillway.
Texoma: Elevation normal, water 79 degrees. Striped bass excellent on Alabama rigs, live shad, sassy shad, slabs and topwater lures along flats, points and river channel. Striper fishing is on. Anglers should focus on the south end of Lake Texoma and near islands. Diving birds are marking feeding schools on the surface throughout the lake. Use sonar to mark schools along the river channel. White bass good on jigs, sassy shad and topwater lures along flats, main lake and points. White bass have been mixed in with striper during surface feeding. Largemouth bass are fair fishing plastic creatures, shaky worms, jigs, swimbaits, and crankbaits in 6 to 18 feet. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs by boathouses, marinas and brush piles 12 to 25 feet. Dropping live shad is the best method for catfishing lots of fish but during early mornings anglers can find smaller fish surface feeding on small bait fish. Blue catfish fair on cut bait and shad along flats and river channel. Blue cats are biting whole/cut shad on juglines as well as rod-and-reel.
Fish smart, be safe, and I’ll see you on the lake.
Jim Blassingame is a Paris resident and an avid angler.