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Afield and Afloat: summer bass

Jack Randolph

Anglers, when discussing fishing for bass during the summer, are fond of talking about the &uot;summer pattern&uot;. This is simply using top water or surface lures early and late, before the sun gets on the water and fishing deeper during the hours when the waters are bathed in sunlight.

Top water lures are also effective on cloudy days when the sun is not shining on the water.

In recent years the most popular surface lure for bass in Virginia appears to be the Rebel Pop-R, followed closely by an assortment of buzz baits. When discussing top water lures I categorized them as &uot;walkers&uot; and &uot;workers&uot;.

Among the baits I call &uot;walkers&uot; are those lures than cover considerable water such as the famous &uot;Jitterbug&uot; or &uot;Crazy Crawler&uot;. Buzz baits also fall into this category.

These baits are especially good for fishing along the edges of weeds or for covering shallow water. The lures I call &uot;workers&uot; can be made attractive to bass without covering a lot of water. Among these baits are the Rebel Pop-R’s, Dying Quivers, Devil’s Horse and the wide variety of fly rod poppers. These lures are really good for fishing holes in the weeds and other tough spots.

It is my belief that bass are super sensitive to flying objects. Some of their most deadly enemies attack from the air and a fleeting shadow is a cause for alarm. I believe, that as a bait hits the water, the bass often runs away a short distance and then turns, instinctively asking the question, &uot;Is it going to eat me or am I going to eat it?&uot; By allowing the bait to sit idle for a half minute or more we give the bass a chance to get its wits about it. If there is a bass in the neighborhood the chances are good that it is studying the bait.

A slight twitch lets the bass know that he’s looking at something that appears to be alive. This is one reason I believe rubber or plastic skirts on top water baits are effective. The individual threads of rubber move seductively, adding to the impression that the bait is alive. If you have a worker type of lure it is smart to try various types of retrieves. Starting off slow and stopping after going only a foot or so can draw strikes. Fast, erratic retrieves with frequent stops also work. Actually the types of retrieves are limited only by your imagination and what works today may not work tomorrow, or, for that matter, ever again.

Let’s Fish

Cobia fishing remains very good. Anglers have been complaining about the small size of flounders, but at Queens Creek five flounders over seven pounds were weighed this past weekend.

Using Mr. Twister Curly grubs Greg Heath and Kenny Ames of Appomattox caught around 50 smallmouths to 2-1/2 pounds from the James River just above Lynchburg Sunday. They also had a pair or crappie topping a pound. Greg says big crappie are unusual in the river these days.

Little Creek Reservoir near Williamsburg was hot for stripers last weekend. Mike Fowler of Williamsburg landed 20 weighing up to 27-1/2 pounds. He also caught 10 largemouth bass weighing up to five pounds. He used live herring. The big striper is a new lake record. Using live herring, Linda Powers of Prince George landed three stripers to eight pounds.

Bubba Powers of Prince George had a pair of stripers weighing up to 23-1/4 pounds.

A night bass tournament at Lake Gaston produced a 16 fish, two-night total catch of nearly 60 pounds to take first place honors.