Fishing on the river over the last part of the summer has been a struggle for many. It’s been hot, the bite has been slow and the flies swarming in the creeks looking for your blood have been terrible! Well relief is in sight because October will likely bring about many changes.
I’m very much looking forward to the top-water action that will come with the cooler days. On days with a breeze and clouds, it will last all day. I suggest having three primary lures: a Bagley Bag-O-Lure, a buzz-bait and a Spro Bronzeye Frog.
Keep color choices simple: a shad pattern for the Bag-O-Lure, white or black buzzbaits and a hollow body frog in leopard, brown or white.
Cast your Bang-O-Lure very tight to shoreline wood where there’s an eddy created in the current flow. Allow it to settle for a moment and retrieve with sharp jerks and pauses. Rig this lure on a short rod for casting accuracy and use 15 lb. test mono.
I prefer to cast buzzbaits with braid but mono will work and there are no secrets on how to work this lure…cast and retrieve it on the surface. The advantage of this lure is that you can drift down river with the current, quickly covering lots of water. Many strikes will come out near the end of tree tops in deep water. This has always amazed me about this river, but bass can suspend in extremely swift current by getting behind even small tree limbs. These fish are out there for one reason…to eat. They’re waiting for baitfish to wash by and the buzzbait is one of their preferred menu options.
You’ll also want to seek out willow tree covered banks to cast your hollow body frog to when you’re ready to catch a bigger fish. You won’t get near as many strikes with this technique, but I’ve found that this technique will get the big one to bite. A short medium-heavy action rod spooled with 50- to 65-lb. braid works best. Your goal is to pitch the frog to the farthest reaches of the willow trees and as close to the bank as you can reach. A walk-the-dog action of this lure will get explosive strikes.
Not all days will yield top-water action, so be ready to pitch and flip worms and creature baits when bass don’t want to come to the surface because this technique will get bites all year long.
Good fishing and God bless.
CAPT. RANDY “C-NOTE” CNOTA
Panama City, FL