Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Preparing for Early Summer Bass Fishing


The month of June is the official beginning of the summer season. As summer’s slowly rising air temperatures increase with each passing week, Alabama anglers can choose to fish either at night (when its cooler and less boaters are on the water), or they may continue to brave the elements (including hordes of summertime boaters and other recreational water activities) choosing to fish during the day.
On Alabama’s Tallapoosa River impoundment Lake Wedowee -- summer air temperatures will soar with each passing week -- planning your inevitably hot, summer day of fishing accordingly can produce some very, fish-catching results.

Looking at the elements, deciding on where to fish, when to be there, what lure choice you should make and how you are going to fish on each and every stop you make, all in a days (or nights) time, are all very important decisions.

That is…if you want to fool some nice bass into biting your tempting little offerings!


If you plan on fishing at the first light of a new summer’s day (dawn), then getting up very early should be included in your well laid plans. For the very beginning of your long day of fishing…can be the most important hour of your entire fishing day.

Why? You may ask.

First, you will be glad you did get there early. During the hot months of summer a lot of the lake’s biggest bass are feeding all throughout the night. At times a whole school of bass will invade the shallows and spread out as they corral baitfish and feed voraciously.

These bass will continue to feed for several hours just after the sun comes up. Often, they will continue to feed on into the late morning hours, especially under very cloudy or rainy conditions. Feeding can continue, and this feeding spree can last all day, if conditions are ideal. During the hot days of summer, clouds, any clouds, can be a very important feature of your day of fishing.

Actually, during the midday hours of summer (during bright, sunny high pressure conditions) is when these bass feed the least. Again, as waters cool during the late evening hours and the sun goes down, the feeding process starts all over, as these bass head for the shallows to feed throughout the nighttime hours, under the cover of darkness.

Being on your favorite fishing spot, making that first cast of the day at dawn, means allowing time to stop along the way to the lake. Like allowing time for gassing up the truck and boat, or time to stop for breakfast, or (more time) stocking up on food, ice, drinks and snacks.

Or you may need time to prepare the boat while loading everything, taking off the boat straps, motor support and making sure the boats drain plug is in! Then, when you do finally launch your boat, it should still be dark. Keep in mind as you catch that first bass of the day, most anglers are still en route to the lake or some are just getting out of bed.
You may want to include boat running time on the water as well (if you have a choice spot you plan to be fishing at dawn), possibly a spot that could only be a few nautical miles from the boat launch or it could be as far as 15-30 minutes away.

So, as you can see, from the minute your getting out of bed, to the time of your first cast of your day of summertime bass fishing, could take up as much time as preparing 1-2 hours before dawn. Get to bed early prior to any well planned fishing trip, that is if you want a really good chance at fooling a big bass into biting throughout this hot, summer season!


Even before launching the boat -- the day before your planned trip -- you should include going over items throughout the entire boat and inspecting the boat trailer. Checking things such as fluids in the boat and truck, checking and airing up all tires (including airing up the spare tires) and/or servicing your tow vehicle, if it needs it prior to your trip.
Always ask yourself several questions before every planned trip.
* Such as; Is there oil in the boat?

Some outboard motors require a certain brand of outboard motor oil, to avoid a voided motor warranty. You may not be able to find that certain brand of oil on the lake or at times, anywhere around the lake. So buy your outboard motor oil beforehand, just to be sure. Have a good visual look at your boat’s oil reservoir to be sure you have enough.
* Is all of my fishing tackle and equipment ready for a day (or night) of serious bass fishing?

Are all boat batteries fully charged?
Although you may think your fishing tackle and equipment are ready, you should always include a day of preparing your fishing lures and equipment. Just as important, is getting your fishing tackle organized. Included, should be making sure your reels have fresh new fishing line, all screws are tight and the reels have all been oiled.
* Sharp hooks? A “must have” on every fishing trip. Unless you just like losing bass!
Sharpen or replace all hooks on every lure you plan to use. Sharpen those single hooks featured on lures such as worms, lizards, creature-type lures, tube baits, crayfish imitations, jig combos, jig heads and lures such as spinnerbaits, swim baits and buzz baits.

Replacing hooks, such as on lures that feature those, “dangling treble hooks,” can be expensive. Treble hooks can be as much as 10 hooks for $5.00. That’s 50 cents a hook!
f a treble hook can be sharpened, then do it. If the treble hook features even one hook of the three trebles, that cannot be sharpened, then replace the hook. Its just not worth seeing a big bass escape, when attention to such a small, minuet detail can help avoid you losing a big, trophy bass.


* Flat Tires? Any angler that has changed a flat tire alongside a busy highway (or a dark country road), more than likely does not want to be put in that situation again. It can be avoided with just a little preparation. That is, if its just a flat tire. Blow-outs cannot be fixed. So always have a good aired up spare tire. But some flats can be temporarily fixed.
A small air compressor, one that hooks up to your truck or boat battery (making sure the wires are long enough to reach any tire), or one that is made to be plugged into your tow vehicle’s cigarette lighter, could quickly air up a flat or slow leaking tire. It may provide just enough time to get you to the lake or at least to an area off the road, where you can safely change the flat tire.

No air compressor? A can of fix-a-flat should always be in your road side emergency kit. Tire repair specialists hate the messy stuff when it comes to breaking down a tire, but at times it can save the day.

If you have an older boat, always add a few shots of grease to the wheel bearings before each trip. Change the wheel bearings and seals at least once a year to avoid those side-of-the road break downs, you often see other boaters fall victim to during every summer season.

Its no fun being broke down alongside the road while everyone else is out on the lake fishing. It can be avoided with a little forethought.


Night Fishing? Although most anglers are always prepared for a long night of night fishing for Lake Wedowee’s largemouth bass and spotted bass, there is always some item they forgot to check off their list or something they forgot to bring.
Make a list and keep it handy a, “ night time fishing check off list ” this is a list of items you will need, for every nighttime fishing trip. Night fishing for Lake Wedowee’s bass always requires a little more thought and preparation.

Without going into detail (See: “ Night Fishing Then and Now ” article link on my website www.fishingalabama.com). Here are some “must haves” for night fishing this summer season on Lake Wedowee.

First, just like during the day, you must have a fishing license and your boat must be registered with current up-to-date boat registration stickers. Lights on fore and aft (that’s the front and back of the boat) and they must be on all night, whether your sitting still fishing or running the boat. It’s the law.

A good spot light (for running the lake at night) is another “must have” item. A fully charged fire extinguisher to. Included is a throw cushion and you must have life jackets for each boat occupant. All this takes care of the legal part of night fishing, that any water patrol can check you and your boat for.

Night fishing calls for each angler in the boat having a pair of needle nose pliers, two flashlights or head lamps (handy for hands-free tying of lures), mosquito repellant and a thermos full of coffee for each angler! If fishing all night long (especially during a muggy, sweaty night of fishing) a towel and a fresh change of clothes may be needed.


Always have an emergency kit on the boat for unforeseen mishaps. This includes having things you may need stored away like battery jumper cables or tow ropes for the boat, just in case of a break down.

Today’s lures are equipped with very sharp hooks. Crowded boats always mean taking extra precaution…on every cast you make. A sterile razor blade or sharp knife (or string), bandages, band aids and peroxide should always be in your emergency kit. Include a lighter and fire starting material as well.

A cell phone can save lives. Always include one on each fishing trip especially at night, when few people are on the water to come to your aid. Let loved ones at home know your cell phone number and you need to know theirs and the local water patrols phone number in case of an emergency.

Also let friends or relatives know what boat launch you are using, what your tow vehicle and boat looks like (including tag or registration numbers) and when to expect you to return home.

Watch out for other boaters, always have your boat running lights on at dawn, in the fog, late evenings or at night. Summer is when more on-the-water mishaps occur, most of which are due to “human error” that could have been avoided.


As your summer morning of fishing for Lake Wedowee’s bass progresses, its going to get hotter with each passing hour. This is when shade and bass holding cover becomes a big factor for both you and the bass your after.

So plan your day with comfort in mind, keeping you and your boat around a shady bank for as long as possible. There is always some shade to be fished, even during the hot, midday hours when the sun is straight up. The bass like it too!

You may have a spot you want to fish located on a western bank of the lake, a place that the sun will hit fast as it rises in the east. Fish it first. Then, start looking for those banks that are more shaded, such as those found on the eastern side of the lake, places such as small cuts, pockets and creeks, out of the direct sunlight.

* Piers, boat houses, bridges, culverts, and around any building or marina on or near the water, can provide shade all day. Often these shady spots hold baitfish and bass resting in the shade. In addition, these both “predator and prey” are secure and very comfortable with their surroundings, in water temperatures that may be as much as 5 degrees cooler than those places found directly in the hot, summer sun.


Whether you fish during the day or at night there is an array of today’s “bass catching lures” that these summertime bass can be caught on. If you have visited any tackle store lately you have seen the lure selection is endless. But there are still the old basic lures that are good choices for fooling these Lake Wedowee bass into biting.

TOPWATER LURES – It would not be a “summer of bass fishing” without including the use of some type of topwater lure. During the day or at night, these bass will hit topwater lures such as buzz baits, prop baits, popping-type topwater lures, walking type topwaters and even older-style topwater lures are good like jitterbugs or hula poppers.

SPINNERBAITS, CRANKBAITS, LIPLESS LURES, SWIM BAITS AND JERK BAITS – In the mid water column these are lures that run as they say, “right in their face” lures that can fool those often hard to catch “suspended bass” of summer. All of these types of mid water lures can be selected or manipulated to run in those 5-15 foot depths, places that so many largemouth bass and spotted bass inhibit during the summer months.
* The use of heavier line may be needed. There is a lot of standing timber, stumps, laying trees and logs, rocky points, islands and rock bluffs that can damage or fray lighter class fishing line. I suggest using at least 14 pound test monofilament or fluorocarbon line, up to 20 pound test line for those bigger, more gaudy-type lures.
From shallow water to deep water, there are a number of lures and lure presentations that will work on any fishing trip…all summer long! Experiment.

Having a safe, “fun-filled day of fishing” on Alabama’s youngest, man made reservoir (impounded in 1983) Lake Wedowee, whether its fishing all by yourself or a day spent out fishing with friends and relatives, is what summertime fishing is all about.
Being prepared for a day without problems and frustration can help make any fishing trip go a lot better. Breakdowns, emergency’s and even unforeseen mishaps can always occur. Even losing a big bass. But some can be avoided with a little preparation beforehand.

Thanks and Good Fishin’
Reed Montgomery


Hooked on
Lake Wedowee
by Reed Montgomery


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