Editor’s note: Mark Rose of Marion, Arkansas, who has won more than $1.5 million, is a professional bass fisherman, a member of War Eagle Boats’ and Strike King’s Pro Staffs and the winner of six FLW tournaments.
When you’re fishing backwater slough areas and small feeder creeks, don’t overlook the mouths of those spots for catching bass. I’ll often fish the mouths of these skinny-water regions before I jump a beaver dam or run across a mud flat in my War Eagle boat to get to the backwaters. I’ll also fish the openings to these small creeks and streams when I’m coming out of these places, because bass often will hold on the points and the deep water drop-offs in the mouths of these feeder streams. Besides being areas where baitfish move in and out, these regions are often current breaks for moving water coming down the lake or river.
I usually start fishing the Strike King 1.0 Crankbait in the sexy shad or chartreuse/black-back colors. These current breaks are where shad from the main river often congregate and hold, so bass will hold just off these current breaks feeding on shad migrating up and down the river. I start off fishing the points and eddy areas of these creek mouths. I’m still trying to catch shallow-water bass, even though I’m fishing at the mouths of these creeks. The shad often will be shallow. If the bass are moving up into the shallow water before backing off into the deep water to hold after they’ve fed, I use the 3/4-ounce Strike King Football Head Jig with a Strike King Rage Baby Craw trailer. I use 15-pound-test fluorocarbon line on a 7-foot rod with a 6:1 or 7:1 gear ratio baitcasting reel. I cast the Football Head Jig to the shallow side of the drop, crawl it across the bottom like a crawfish, let it free-fall on a slack line over the drop and then crawl it about 6-8 feet past the drop-off.
If I can see the bass holding along that ledge or drop-off with my depth finder, and the bass aren’t biting this crawling technique, I’ll start hopping the Football Head Jig about 1/2-foot to 1-foot off the bottom on the deep side of the ledge, to try and get a reaction strike. The other tactic I’ll use at the mouths of these creeks and backwater areas is fishing the Strike King 6XD Crankbait either in sexy shad or chartreuse sexy shad colors. I believe the Strike King 6XD is the most bass-catching crankbait on the market today. This bait has the action, the sound and the color that will make those hot-weather bass bite in August and September, if they’re holding in deep water. Most of the time I’ll fish the 6XD with a steady retrieve right along the bottom. But if the bass are dormant and won’t take the bait on a steady retrieve, I’ll burn the bait (reel it really fast) to try and get a reaction strike. If that doesn’t work, once I get the bait down to the bottom, I’ll try a stop-and-start retrieve. Most of the time, one of those retrieves will fire up the fish and get them to bite. The mouths of these creek ledges, drop-offs and shell banks that may be underwater around these creeks generally will produce best when current’s running through them.
I want to leave you with this last thought. Not all the bass in any lake, river or stream will be holding in deep water. When the temperatures are so hot you can fry eggs on the sidewalk, bass also will be concentrating in shady and backwater areas where there’s shade and grass and along current breaks and drop-offs at the mouths of these creeks. To catch these bass, use your War Eagle boat to get to the fish. Then implement the lures and tactics I’ve recommended to catch the bass.
To learn more about how to fish for bass with Mark Rose, click the titles for these two new bass books by John E. Phillips, “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro” and “Catch the Most and Biggest Bass in Any Lake,” or go to http://www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks, and type in the names of the books to buy them. Too, you can download a Kindle app for free and buy the books from Amazon to read on your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.
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