Fishing Deep Summer Points with Jigs
GONE FISHING! I've only known two guys in
my life who can fish all day as long and as hard I do. Vinny
Spucces is one of them. Vinny made the 10 hour drive to Lake
Powell from San Diego to fish with me last week. True to our
nature, we fished without question; every daybreak, mid-morning,
late afternoon and dusk last week.
Now, we're talking mid-August, and I'd like to
tell you what we found out on the water. Being that bass are
practically the same everywhere, there may be a tip or two for
you to get out of my retelling the tale of Vinny and my great
adventure last week.
NOT SHALLOW. We did not find bass shallow
last week although we tried plenty of shallow brush and rockpiles
in 6-18 feet of water. We did however, find bass off the deep
sides and tips of brush points and rockpiles where they extended
far out from the rest of the shoreline close to 20-30 feet of
water. We did not find any bass in the shallow bays. We had most
of our catching off outer points, not going into bays at all.
Many singular surface-rising bass were seen off
outer points before 7 a.m. but were hard to catch by casting at
their boils. Blind casting with poppers (Sugoi Splash, Chug Bug,
Yellow Magic) produced a few of the better fish each day this way
prior to 7 a.m.
From 7.a.m. to 11 a.m., all action
shifted to a minimum of 25 to 35 feet of water for the rest of
the day. The magic depth was 30 feet give or take a few. Wherever
there was 30 feet of water off obvious major land points (rocky,
gravel, clay, etc.) at creek mouths, at bends or otherwise
jutting out prominently from the shoreline, bass were there too,
especially if there were offshore humps sprawled around such
points. Vinny and I basically made a milk run of all obvious
major points, humps and the deeper shorelines leading up to them.
Pulling up to a point or hump, we located 30 foot of water on the
depth finder. We then began prospecting the bottom with single
tail grubs and hula grubs. First, we bounced bottom as a means to
detect where irregular bottom features would be telegraphed up
the line as a series of rumbles and bangs. Smooth bottoms did not
telegraph any feel and did not yield any fish. All fish came when
our jigs rumbled and banged through irregular bottom areas, and
we concentrated repeated casts into each such small irregular
area that we uncovered by feel.
For casting, we used open hook football jigs.
With open hooks on football heads, cast them up ahead of the
boat. Not too far out to the side, mostly up ahead. You must keep
the trolling motor constantly on slow. Let the football jig sink
to the bottom which can be detected when your line billows out
slack. Reel the jig in just fast enough to keep it from getting
snagged while occasionally tapping bottom to ensure your jig does
not rise up too high off bottom. With the trolling motor on, keep
retrieving until the boat pulls up perpendicular (at right
angles) to where your jig is on bottom. Your jig should be
practically under the boat or not too far off to the side when
you pull abreast of it. Then reel in and cast up ahead again. Be
alert for a fair number of hits within the first fifteen feet as
you reel the jig straight up off bottom through mid-water. Keep
your eye on the depthfinder for suspended fish. Ideally, reel
your jig up through them when you see them on the screen.
If you get snagged, you will usually be able to
unsnag your line easily as you pass by perpendicular to it with
the trolling motor. The bulbous football head does not get lodged
deeply in snags. You can usually jiggle it out as you troll over
it. You will have a bad snagging problem with a football head,
however, if you let the jig angle back behind the boat.
For dragging behind the boat, which was also very
effective to cover long distances, we used fiberguard Arkie style
heads. These are far more snagless for dragging behind a boat on
a slow troll or wind drift. Again, the dragged jigs would rumble
across irregular bottom which was easily detectable in the
bouncing rod tip. This was our clue to get ready for hits which
all came on the irregular areas.
Success was a factor of several ingredients:
the proper style and weight of jig head for the
the depthfinder to keep at the depth fish favored
the trolling motor to keep moving whether casting
or dragging baits
KEEP MOVING: We did not find large bait
concentrations. We covered many miles of different shorelines
each day. In our quest for fish, we systematically targeted
progressively more distant shorelines each day. We always kept
moving from one main point to another. We would take a bass or
two or three immediately upon the first few casts, drifts or
trolls at any good irregular spot we located on a point. Repeated
casting to the same spot rarely produced bass after the first few
casts. It seemed that these bass were "residents" that
had pitched tents on these irregular spots. There were a few
residents at every good spot. They seemed hungry enough to hit
within the first few casts. We caught some, we lost some. They
all went back in the water. We kept moving, covering lots of
water with the trolling motor, and running the big engine from
one prominent point to the next. We caught a fair number of
smallmouth, plus largemouth, stripers, walleye, catfish,
bluegills, crappie and warmouth. Our last day was our best. We
finally found shad schools and steady action with bass whose
bellies were swollen with food.
That last day made us wish for just one more, but
it was not to be. Vows were made to fish together again...to pick
up again where we left off that last good day. It was a week of
fishing hard and earning our catch through unquestionable
commitment - just the way Vinny and I like it.
It's a mid-August memory of hot mornings, hotter
afternoons, long trolls, increasingly more distant runs in
pursuit of bait, and all the while methodically raking big jigs
across slow miles of endless bottom. It's a story of a hundred
hot nameless points with Vinny and I glued to the trolling pedal
and dual depthfinders up above, fingers feeling line for the
desired tap-tap-tap of bottom features that would give up hits
from sparsely scattered skeleton crews of summer residents camped
on rubble and ridges somewhere down below.
I hope there's some info here from Vinny and I
that you can find to apply to your fishing during August. Keep
the faith. Bass on.