There are times of the year that everyone is a hero on the water, that time on our mountain lakes is now. Almost any lake, almost any bank, will hold fish; some days, there may be more on clay banks, sometimes gravel, and again on boulder banks. I think it’s whether they are primarily feeding or just looking for that perfect spawning area. Seems like, regardless of the reason to be there, they are hungry when they arrive. I love to throw two main baits, Rapala jerkbaits seem to work when I’m around points and on straighter banks, I give the nod to jigs. The jigs I use are typically 1/8th ounce with either Zoom or Kietech swimbodies. If I am on a lake with stripers, then I am throwing the Rapala regardless of the bank.
Some of our lakes still have seagulls; never ignore even one or two birds. There are times when stripers are in the middle of large coves, they may show themselves breaking on surface bait but other times I’ve seen them cruising just below the surface. A lone gull will follow these cruising fish and it’s even better if there are more of their flock. Of course, there’s no missing that jolt of adrenaline when you come around the corner and the water is boiling, birds are diving and squawking, rods are tangling, and baits are snapped off because you forgot to open the bail. All hell breaking loose is one of the most addictive things you can run into on the water.
Waters like Fontana have mainly spotted bass and they can tear up the water on their own. Typically, they will break but in smaller groups. When fish are breaking, the most fun bait to throw is a top water for spots or stripers and there’s nothing like a bone-colored spook. I’ve seen them get knocked four feet in the air and then swallowed whole when hitting the surface. So, this is one of the best times of the year to be on the water. Don’t forget to take kids of all ages, nothing like nonstop action to get them started on a lifelong love of fishing. Thank the Lord for our beautiful waters and stay safe. Later, Capt. James
Capt. James McManus owns 153 Charters. Give him a call for a great day on the water at (828) 421-8125