Lake Harding

by Steve McCorkle “Colonel”

The first half of September has remained very hot and humid, but that should begin to slowly change especially since we are starting to see a lot of tropical storms in the Atlantic and the Gulf. Looks like it is going to be a very active hurricane season. As we move into October,the water temps will begin to drop into the 60’s and this should move most fish into shallow water and make them very active. Fishing should be very good.

Bass should be chasing shad in shallow water along the bank or on flats near deeper water. Many different types of baits will work well during this time.  Try using a lipless crankbait like a Rat-L-Trap or a swimbait. Topwater baits will also produce during this time. Trick worms and jerk baits can also produce. The key is to cover lots of water. Find the baitfish and the bass will not be far away. You can also catch bass on Texas rig worm, so have a rod with one tied on in case you find the bass are not as aggressive as they should be. Fish the same banks and structure that you fish the lipless crankbait. Nighttime fishing will still produce well during this time of year. At night, bass can also be caught fishing the lights on docks, especially the submerged lights. Best baits for nighttime are Texas-rig worms, trick worms, swimbaits and rubber shad baits.

Striped bass and hybrids should start to feed on shad and should be able to be caught in the same manner as largemouth bass using a lipless crankbait or swimbait. You will find stripes and hybrids either in the back of coves or along shallow points near deeper water. The key is to locate the shad, and wherever they are is where the fish will be. Stripers can also be caught using live minnows or shad.

The crappie bite should begin to improve as the weather cools. Crappie will still be able to be caught under the bridge or around deep docks with lots of deep cover using minnows. Crappie should start to move into shallow water following the shad and can be caught around brush piles and blowdowns in coves, creeks and up the river. Best baits are minnows and small curly tail jigs.

Bream, shellcracker and other sunfish should still be biting. Target the back of coves, around docks and in the backwaters upriver. Live bait works best with crickets and earthworms being the best all around baits. If you prefer to use artificial baits, use small spinners in either chartreuse or yellow or some green color.

Catfish will also be biting well on Lake Harding. Catfish can be caught during the day or at night around docks and other deep-water structure. Best baits are chicken livers, stink baits, and dough baits. Fish for catfish by using a bottom technique where you use a ¾ to 1-ounce weight to hold the bait near the bottom similar to a Carolina rig.