BassWestUSA - July/August, 2009, Page 72

guide perspective

WiTh roSS england


fishing in the heat of full- blown summer, it can be a nightmare on the reservoirs nestled on the Western slope of the Si- erra. Clear, hot water, small fish, and tons of boat traffic. Tradition suggests hit the water early, real early and late for some top water action in low light conditions and then go deep. After all, it is cooler in the morning any way as the temperature begins its daily climb to the high 90’s and low 100’s. Here on Clear Lake we are lucky in that we have an abundance of aquatic vegetation for bass to hang under, in, and around. Combine the weeds with a good supply of boat docks and viola, lots of places for shallow water bass ac- tion. Personally, I would rather catch one fish on a top water bait than three on a worm so my tackle choice is made.

it can also provide some hot action. This year we started hearing about and taking advantage of a frog bite around the end of April. Each year over the past several years there has been a surface bite of some kind by mid April. So overall, my thoughts on when to go on top is as soon as some fish have spawned on your favorite body of water, start look- ing to develop at least some type of top water bite.

The standard that I fished under for years was look- ing for 70 degree water temperature. As a general rule, it still holds true but… you could be miss- ing some early ac- tion on fish that have not been hammered by surface baits. It makes sense that if bass, especially largemouth, will still hit a surface bait in mid to high fifty de- gree water in the fall, there should be a top water bite in 60 degree water during the Spring. Some of the first surface action we see each year is right around the first wave of spawning that takes place on males pro- tecting either their beds or fry. It may be inconsistent but

When Can you go on Top?

As the summer bite really kicks into gear I spend more time with clients fishing surface baits than any other pre- sentation. One thing I firmly believe is that on most days, a slowly worked bait is more effective than one worked quickly. I especially believe that to be true with regard to larger fish. I realize there are exceptions, there always are.

hoW To Work SurFaCe BaiTS

What I am talking about though is over- all, day in and day out; a surface bait worked slowly will catch a bigger fish. I can recall numerous days with cli- ents that began slowly as they worked whatever the bait was at their own speed and preference and productiv- ity was down. A little coaching, a little demonstration, and the speed of the presentation slowing down and the bites begin…in some cases, big bites. One gentleman from Washing- ton brought his own gear and terminal tackle, including a spook that he used on his home water. One of his com- plaints was that he never caught a good fish on top at home, and he knew guys who did. We slowed him down, he caught a nine on his trip here and more importantly to me, when he got home he caught a 5+ on his home water with his slowed down technique.

WhaT Time oF The day?

As I said ear- lier, tradition dictates the best time of day is when the color change of the night sky to dawn or dusk. To be sure, these are good times and we have caught some impressive numbers in a short period of time. The tradition isn’t wrong, it just doesn’t tell the whole story. In my experi- ence, we have caught as many quality fish during the middle of the day as we have early and late. And, I truly believe you have an advantage by not putting down the surface baits after the sun begins to hit the water. Most an- glers follow the tradi- tion and after the first couple of hours of the morning bite, they put



July/August 2009