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Dustin Lester 

HINTS ON LOCATING BASS IN THE EVER CHANGING CONDITION OF OKLAHOMA WATERS

If there is anything that I have learned while fishing in Oklahoma there is only one constant; that is change. In this monthly article I will be discussing all the different types of changes that we all have to deal with on a daily basis and some hints or tactics that have helped me find and locate bass.  Whether it is the ever changing lake levels, changing of the water temps, fishing pressure from all of the tournaments, water clarity, or just the normal changing of the seasons I will explain what tips and tactics has helped me adjust and catch bass.   

 

 

CHOOSING THE RIGHT TOPWATER LURES

By:  Dustin Lester

VOL. 3

The dog days of summer are starting to wind down, but that does not mean that the top water action is going to slow.  In fact the fall months can be one of the most productive and exciting times of the year to catch bass on top.  Nothing tops the thrill of a big bass smashing a topwater lure!  Here’s how I choose and use surface baits for largemouth bass, and limits of keepers as well.

I begin casting surface baits in spring, once the water temperature tops 65 degrees.  This roughly coincides with the post-spawn period, the time when bass leave their beds and resume active feeding.  The topwater bite normally continues through summer and fall, then usually diminishes once the water cools below 60 degrees in late fall.  But there are exceptions, I remember a cold day spent on Grand lake this past winter, the date was January 1, 2003 my partner and I went to Grand to try and catch a bass on rogues, after about three hours without a bite we notice shad flipping around this stretch of docks.  Keep in mind it was 30 degrees and the snow was falling, the entire deck of the boat was white.  I tied on a black buzzbait and ran it down the edge of the first dock ,and when I got to the latter I hit the metal latter with the blade and a four pounder hit.   In the next hour and nine docks later we had boated eight bass all over two pounds.

Bass hanging around shallow wood, weeds and rocks in lakes will often smash a topwater lure, creating a ruckus on the surface, and can sometimes be provoked into striking by making repeated casts to that likely target.

In clear lakes, bass often suspend around points, grassbeds, underwater humps and drop-offs and will swim surprising distances to strike a surface bait. 

In the summer and fall, large numbers of bass often chase baitfish to the surface, where a feeding frenzy takes place.  Be alert for fish breaking water or birds circling and diving on injured baitfish.  In this scenario, a topwater presentation is virtually guaranteed to draw a strike.

Surface baits come in many varieties, each designed for specific fishing situations.  If you enjoy topwater action half as much as I do you need to have one of each in your tackle box.

·         FLOATING MINNOW- Try a floating  minnow around bedding areas in shallow coves.

·         POPPER/CHUGGER- Use poppers and chuggers when bass are holding in a confined area, such as in weedbeds growing just beneath the surface.

·         PROP BAIT- Use a prop bait in choppy water and when it is overcast or raining.

·         STICKBAIT- Walk the dog by snapping the line with sharp downward strokes of the rod tip while turning the reel handle with each stroke.

·         WOBBLER- Wobblers mimic live frogs.  Retrieve them parallel to grassy banks.

·         BUZZBAIT- Buzzbaits are big fish lures.  Use heavy tackle when fishing them.

Hopefully some of these tips and tactics that work for me will help you in your bass fishing adventures.  Remember that just because you should not be throwing a surface bait because of the time of year, it might just be the money winning pattern.

STRETCH A NECK.