Water levels continue to drop and water temps continue to rise, but the good thing is that a lot of our area lakes are clearing up some.

Pat Mayse has cleared up, and this is really a good thing because bass prefer to feed by sight. They can feed by sound, but sight feeding is their thing. With our clearing lakes and with the heat on the rise, this is going to be the time to put those finesse baits in the water. And it’s the perfect time to get those deeper crankbaits working on area lakes that have current or some water flowing.

Since Mayse has no current, the bass will be suspended, and that is when your medium running cranks will be working. Right now on Mayse, during sunny days, the ideal depth is from 10 to 12 feet. Early risers who get on the water before sunrise, will use topwaters as their first choice. As the sun gets up, cranks and finesse baits come into play on humps, brushpiles and along edges or creek bends.

On lakes like Fork, bass will be much deeper. There will be some shallow fish, but the bigger bass will be deeper in the 20- to 25-foot range, around some type of cover.

Using the deep diving big lipped cranks requires using the right rods, reels and line. I’ve been fishing deep cranks for more than 20 years, but back in the ’90s I learned from one of the best crankbait fishermen ever named Paul Elias. He showed me just how to fish these baits effectively. What he showed me was a longer rod in the 8 to 10 foot length with a very forgiving tip and a reel that has a larger line capacity filled with 10- to 15-pound test limp fluorocarbon line. I have experimented with a lot of lines and decided that I like Seaguar InvizX fluorocarbon and prefer 10- to 12-pound test.

With this rig it’s easy to make a mistake on your hook-set. You still have to set the hook, but not as hard as with a jig or worm — all you need is just to swipe the rod and with the fluorocarbon line there is no stretch, plus with the soft tip with some backbone, you will land that fish.

By using the longer rods, you will find you can put your baits in places that most other fishermen can’t, plus you’ll be able to keep your bait in the strike zone longer and your odds will be better. I think if you experiment with these things, you’ll see for yourself and your catches will be increased.

Fishing Reports

Bob Sandlin: Water stained; 85-90 degrees; 0.14 feet low. Black bass are good on flukes, shakyhead worms and black buzzbaits. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. White bass are good on slabs. Catfish are fair on trotlines and prepared bait.

Bonham: Water lightly stained; 85-89 degrees; 0.61 feet low. Black bass are slow on Texas rigged creature baits, swim jigs, and topwater poppers. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Catfish are fair on trotlines.

Cooper: Water stained; 88-97 degrees; 0.31 feet low. Black bass are slow on shallow crankbaits, Texas rigged craws and weightless Senkos. Crappie are slow on minnows and jigs. Hybrid striper and white bass are fair on slabs.

Fork: Water lightly stained; 85-90 degrees; 0.48 feet low. Black bass are slow on Texas rigged craws, green pumpkin football jigs and Carolina rigged flukes. White and yellow bass are slow on slabs. Crappie are fair on minnows. Catfish are good on trotlines and prepared bait.

Monticello: Water stained; 85-90 degrees; 2.76 feet low. Black bass are fair on hollow body frogs, buzzbaits and Texas rigged creature baits. Crappie are good on minnows. Catfish are fair on trotlines.

Tawakoni: Water stained; 86-90 degrees; 0.08 feet low. Black bass are slow on Texas rigged craws, buzz frogs and hollow body frogs. White bass are fair on slabs. Hybrid bass are good on slabs. Crappie are slow on minnows. Catfish are slow on trotlines.

Broken Bow: Elevation normal, water 85 degrees. Largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass good on flukes and plastics around brush structure, points, and standing timber. Crappie good on jigs and minnows around brush structure and standing timber.

Hugo: Elevation normal, water 85 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, and around the main lake, river channel, and shorelines. Crappie good on jigs and minnows below the dam, and around brush structure, channels, main lake, river channel, and standing timber.

Lower Mountain Fork: Elevation normal, water clear. Rainbow trout good on small lures and tube jigs below the dam and around the spillway.

McGee Creek: Elevation normal, water 83 degrees. Largemouth, spotted, and white bass good on Alabama rig, crankbaits, plastics, and top water around coves, points, and rocks. Crappie, spotted bass, and white bass fair on jigs and minnows around creek channels, river channel, and standing timber. Channel and flathead catfish fair on chicken liver, goldfish, and sunfish around creek channels, river channel, and trotlines.

Pine Creek: Elevation normal, water clear. Largemouth bass good on crankbaits and spinnerbaits around creek channels and points. Crappie slow on jigs around brush structure. Channel catfish fair on cut bait below the dam.

Texoma: Elevation normal, water 82 degrees and clear. Blue catfish good on cut bait and live shad below the dam and around the main lake. Black bass are good on Texas rigged creature baits, shakyhead worms and shallow crankbaits. Striped bass good on live shad, sassy shad, slabs, and topwater lures below the dam and around the main lake. Crappie fair on hair jigs, live bait, midges, and tube jigs around brush structure and docks. Denison Dam fishing has been good. Striped bass being caught on live bait, surface lures, and bucktail jigs while generation is going. Blue cats being caught on cut bait on downstream side of end parking lot. Lake Texoma- striped bass surface feeding in early mornings and late evenings. South end near dam and around the islands are key areas. While surface feeding is going most any lure that stays near the surface will produce fish. If surface feeding not present, dropping fresh live bait or slabs has been productive. Mid-day night has been extremely slow for striped bass. Blue cats are being caught on cut bait or live shad by drifting deep river channel in main lake.

Fish smart, be safe, and I’ll see you on the lake.

Jim Blassingame is a Paris resident and an avid angler.

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